Apple will pay you if you were caught up in its alleged attempts at fixing e-book prices to compete with Amazon more effectively. The attorney who led the lawsuit against the Cupertino-based smartphone making giant and the publishers said consumers will receive credits and checks in the amount of twice their losses.
Consumers to get twice their losses
On Monday, law firm Hagens Berman, which led the class-action lawsuit, announced that millions who purchased e-books from the five biggest publishing companies between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012, will get credits for each purchase starting Tuesday.
Consumers will receive a $6.93 credit for each purchase of every New York Times bestselling e-book purchased from Barnes & Noble, Apple and Amazon, among other retailers, whereas consumers who purchased other e-books will receive a $1.57 credit for each purchase.
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What’s the case about?
This cash-back award comes after a protracted battle between the tech giant and the U.S. government and consumers. The battle was over whether the iPhone maker illegally colluded with HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and other major publishers over the price of electronic books sold through its iBookstore. The class-action suit included people across the United States, the U.S. Justice Department and attorneys general in 33 states across the country.
The court ruled that the class demonstrated that the publishers and the iPhone maker worked together to intentionally increase e-book prices by as much as 50%. Amazon, which sold e-books in 2010 for low prices through its Kindle store, was the center of the case. Publishers were not pleased that they were not allowed to set the prices of the books. Thus, Apple – sensing an opportunity — was accused of working with the publishers to let them set their own price for e-books. This forced the online retailing giant to either face the possibility of losing access to content or increase its prices.
Apple e-book case finally ends
In a statement on Monday, Hagens Berman said, “According to attorneys, the anti-competitive price-fixing collusion between Apple and the publishers caused the price of e-books to increase 30 to 50 percent to $12.99 or $14.99 from Amazon’s $9.99 price.”
The case was filed against Apple and the publishers in 2012, accusing them of hurting Amazon and violating antitrust laws. Previously, the online retail giant filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Publishers settled with the court eventually, but the tech giant tried to fight rulings, and after several losses in lower courts, it appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court refused to hear the case. The publishers who were named in the case started issuing credits to affected customers in 2014, and starting on Tuesday, Apple started paying some customers, marking the end of its price-fixing lawsuit.