$310 million DRAM price fixing settlement could get you $10 - or much, much more

If you bought a computer or other device that uses DRAM around the turn of the century, you could be eligible for a payout as part of a price fixing settlement.

The settlement is the result of class action and attorneys general lawsuits against a dozen DRAM manufacturers, including Samsung, Toshiba, Hynix and Hitachi. In total, the manufacturers have agreed to pay out $310 million in a nationwide settlement, and roughly $200 million of that money will go to consumers and businesses who were affected.

Consumers can make a claim for any purchases made between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2002 for devices that contain dynamic random access memory, a common component in consumer electronics. The settlement covers computers, game consoles, MP3 players, printers, PDAs, graphics cards, DVRs, DVD players and servers, but does not include direct purchases of DRAM from the manufacturer.

Proof of purchase isn't necessary to make a claim, but the claim form says the court may request proof later of the verifications process. An FAQ recommends keeping any “any documentation/proof you may still have.”

The amount that claimants stand to make isn't set in stone. According to the official claims website, claimants can get a minimum of $10, while larger purchasers could get upwards of $1,000. But depending on how many people file claims, smaller purchasers could get more money or nothing at all.

If fewer than 2.5 million people file small claims, the payouts will increase at a pro-rated rate, up to the amount of actual damages incurred and capped at $25 million in small claims payouts. If more than 5 million people file small claims, they won't get any money at all, and instead $40 million will be paid out to court-approved non-profit organizations.

The deadline to submit a claim is August 1, 2014.

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