POLITICS

Canadians can claim refund for overpriced electronics after class action suit

03/01/2015 07:43 EST | Updated 05/01/2015 05:59 EDT
Canadian consumers who bought electronics between April 1,1999 and June 30, 2002 are eligible to get at least $20 back following several class action lawsuits against the manufacturers of dynamic random access memory (DRAM).

Following an $80 million settlement with firms including Samsung, Hynix and Micron, the four law firms involved in the class action have started an “unprecedented” awareness campaign to hand out refunds.

The suits successfully argued that the manufacturers conspired to fix the price of the memory, thereby inflating prices on many consumer electronics.

The memory is used in most computers, printers, personal digital assistants, graphics cards, mp3 players, video game consoles and more.

All Canadians who were at least 18 and bought electronics during the time period covered by the suit are able to fill out a simple online form at themoneyismine.ca to claim $20 from the manufacturers.

No receipt is needed for the base amount, but those who can prove multiple purchases can claim more money.

The message has been spread by social media as well as a website and media campaign.

Jonathan Foreman, a lawyer with Harrison Pensa, one of the four firms involved in the claim, said that the case set important precedents in Canadian law. He said it was among the first price-fixing class actions to be certified at the Supreme Court level, and opens the door for future price-fixing lawsuits against other electronics manufacturers.

The case has been ongoing since 2004 and largely settled in 2013. Since then, the funds have been held in trust until a distribution system could be worked out.

Foreman said that the companies that stand to gain the most from the settlement are the so-called “white box” manufacturers who build computers from component parts, and may have purchased a large number of DRAM chips during the time period.

Canadians have until June 23, 2015, to complete a claim.

With files from Pierre Saint-Arnaud