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Idaho settles with manufacturers in DRAM chip case

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By Paul Johnson

Boise, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced Tuesday a victory for consumers who purchased computers and other electronic devices at prices artificially inflated by allegations of price fixing among the major manufacturers of Dynamic Random Access Memory “DRAM” computer chips.

Idaho and other states have obtained initial court approval of a $310 million settlement with the makers of DRAM chips, clearing the way for consumers to begin filing claims. Eligible consumers include those who paid for the DRAM or for the various electronic devices built with the memory chips, such as desktop and laptop computers, printers and video game consoles.

“I am pleased the manufacturers worked with the states to reach an agreement that appropriately addresses our concerns and resolves this matter on behalf of Idaho consumers,” Wasden said. “Idaho’s governments, businesses and consumers spent significant amounts of money on products that contain DRAM. When those costs are inflated by unlawful anti-competitive practices, as we have alleged in this case, we have a duty to help consumers recover their money.”

After completing an investigation in 2006, Idaho joined more than 30 other states in a federal antitrust lawsuit against DRAM makers. Wasden alleged Idaho consumers overpaid for electronics built with DRAM, a common form of memory chip used in high technology devices.

The settlement is designed to help individuals and businesses that purchased DRAM or devices containing the memory chips in the United States between 1998 and 2002 from someone other than a DRAM manufacturer, such as retailers like Best Buy or Staples.

Under terms of the settlement, DRAM manufacturers must also establish antitrust compliance programs and are prohibited from future conduct related to the sale of DRAM that could conflict with antitrust laws.

To receive money from the settlement, eligible consumers must submit a claim form by August 1, 2014, with the settlement administrator. The amount received depends on the type and quantity of electronic devices purchased and number of claims submitted. The minimum payment back to consumers is estimated at $10, though some could receive more.

To file a claim, visit www.DRAMclaims.com or call 1-800-589-1425.

Claims can be submitted if consumers bought one or more of the following items between 1998 and 2002:

• Desktop computers
• Laptop computers
• Computer servers
• Computer graphics cards
• Printers
• Video game consoles
• MP3 players
• PDAs
• DVD players
• Digital video recorders
Consumers who bought other devices with DRAM memory may also be eligible to file a claim.

Idaho also pursued monetary relief for purchases made by the state’s local governments, universities and colleges during the four-year period. These agencies and institutions should anticipate receiving compensation from a separate portion of the settlement, with details to be announced after final court approval of the settlements.

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