If you owned a computer a decade ago that was equipped with a DVD drive, you might be in line to become $10 richer.
In December, Sony, NEC, Panasonic and Hitachi-LG settled a class-action lawsuit that accused the firms of colluding to inflate the prices of optical drives sold to big computer companies and retailers.
When HP and Dell placed orders for lots of optical discs, the lawsuit alleged, competing drive makers would share their bids with each other to keep prices high. When the US Department of Justice investigated the issue, at least one Hitachi-LG executive was sentenced to serve six months in prison after pleading guilty to the conspiracy.
Stake Your Claim to Some DVD Drive Money
So what does this mean to you? If you bought a computer equipped with a DVD drive, or purchased an aftermarket internal or external DVD drive for use with a computer, between April 1, 2003 and December 31, 2008, you’re eligible to receive $10 for each drive you purchased as a result of the settlement. You must submit your claim here or by mail before July 1, 2017.
There are some gotchas in the rules of the reimbursement. While Panasonic DVD drives are covered, you can’t stake a claim if you purchased a Panasonic computer. Also, you’ll need to be a resident of Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wisconsin.
It’s Easy to Make a Claim
I owned a number of computers equipped with DVD drives, both original and aftermarket, during the above time frame, so I submitted a claim for those PCs and drives. All you need to enter is your name, email address and the number of drives you owned.
Please note, while you currently don’t need to provide any proof of purchase when you make a claim, the terms and conditions page of the settlement site includes this disclaimer:
“The Settlement Administrator has the right to request verification or more information regarding the claimed purchase(s) of Optical Disk Drive products for purposes of preventing fraud.”
It will likely be tough for any buyer of a computer or DVD drive from 10 years ago to find the receipt for the purchase, so hopefully this won’t be required. Just don’t get crazy and claim you purchased 27 DVD drives during the covered period of time.
Sony, Hitachi-LG, NEC and Panasonic have contributed $124.5 million to the settlement and you can expect lawyers to take around 25% of that for their services. Because Yachts and Bentleys.
Also, don’t expect a check in the near future as:
“Because other defendants remain in this litigation, the plaintiffs are proposing that distribution of the settlement funds not occur at this time,” reads the settlement website.
For more information, and to submit a claim, visit the Optical Disk Drive Antitrust website.