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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 04, 2014
Washington Attorney General announces antitrust settlement against manufacturers of DRAM computer chips

Consumers encouraged to file claims to receive share of $310M settlement

Estimated $500,000 returned to Washington state agencies

SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today that consumers may now file claims to recover money from the manufacturers of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) computer chips. These consumer payments will settle multi-state antitrust allegations that the manufacturers conspired to fix prices.

DRAM is a widely used form of computer memory that can be found in everything from personal computers to servers to MP3 players. Regardless of the brand name, most of these types of products produced between 1998 and 2002 contained DRAM chips.

“This price-fixing wrongly forced consumers and state agencies to pay more for computers and other high-tech products containing DRAM chips,” said Ferguson. “This settlement will provide some monetary relief for affected consumers.” 

The total multi-state settlement is $310 million. The amount of money returned to Washington state consumers depends on how many claims are filed and the types of products they purchased. For this reason, the total amount returned per consumer is unknown at this time.

The Attorney General also filed a lawsuit on behalf of Washington state agencies that purchased computers and other products containing DRAM chips. An estimated $500,000 will be returned to state agencies when the settlement is finalized.

Consumers must file a claim by August 1, 2014

To receive money from the settlement, consumers need to submit a claim form by August 1, 2014.

Any consumer who purchased one or more of the following items between1998 and 2002 is eligible to make a claim:
 
• Desktop computers
• Laptop computers
• Computer servers
• Computer graphics cards
• Printers
• Video game consoles
• MP3 players
• PDAs
• DVD players
• Digital video recorders

If you purchased other technology devices containing DRAM memory, you also may be eligible to make a claim.

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

DRAM lawsuit background

After completing an investigation in 2006, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office joined a multi-state antitrust lawsuit in federal court alleging that consumers who purchased electronic devices containing DRAM between 1998 and 2002 overpaid for these purchases due to a price-fixing conspiracy among DRAM producers.  

The states’ complaint lays out details of the conspiracy, including an agreement by industry leaders to trim production in order to artificially raise prices.

The resulting settlements: 

• Require monetary compensation to consumers;
• Require DRAM manufacturers to implement antitrust compliance programs; and
• Prevent manufacturers from price-fixing DRAM chips.

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