Consumers to Receive $2M in Compensation for Past E-Books Purchases
BOISE, Idaho (News Release) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says hundreds of Idaho consumers who purchased e-books should begin receiving credits this week.
The credits are the result of a price-fixing lawsuit Idaho and 32 other states filed against Apple Inc. for conspiring to artificially inflate e-book prices with five major publishers.
Apple’s share of the credits – estimated at $400 million nationwide and about $2 million for Idaho consumers – comes after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a review of a lower court decision finding Apple in violation of antitrust laws, Wasden said.
The five publishers also agreed to provide credits to consumers. In 2014, the publishers distributed approximately $166 million in compensation nationwide, including about $800,000 to Idaho e-book buyers.
“It’s great news that Idaho consumers are finally getting some compensation from this case,” Attorney General Wasden said. “Idaho consumers spend significant amounts of money on e-books, and when those costs are inflated by anti-competitive practices, it’s my duty to protect consumers and make sure they are compensated for this unlawful activity.”
Idaho and other states investigated and then sued Apple and the publishers alleging antitrust violations. In July 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Apple had conspired to raise the retail prices of e-books in violation of state and federal competition laws.
Last June, the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Apple’s request for review, triggering the company’s obligation to pay the maximum consumer compensation.
Idaho consumers account for about 0.5 percent of e-book purchases and should expect to receive $2.1 million from Apple. The amount of credit received is based on the number of e-books purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012, Wasden said.
For each New York Times bestseller, consumers will receive $6.93. For all other e-books, the payment will be $1.57 per title.
Distribution of payments is expected to begin June 21. Consumers who bought e-books through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble or Kobo will automatically receive credits in their accounts, unless they previously opted to receive checks. Consumers who purchased e-books through Sony or Google will receive checks in the mail.
The Settlement Administrator has set up a website and toll-free phone number (866-686-9333) for consumers with questions.
Consumers may also reach out to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at (208) 334-2424. Due to the large number of consumers affected, it will take a few days to fully load account credits, and some consumers may not see credits in their accounts until Friday, June 24.