Hagens Berman, a consumer-rights class-action law firm that litigated the case alongside Attorneys General from 33 U.S. states and territories and the United States Department of Justice, announced that the settlement amounting to $400 million will be delivered to affected parties starting June 21.
The settlement ruling follows after the court found Apple guilty of colluding with five major publishers, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan (Holtzbrinck Publishers), HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster, to allegedly "manipulate the e-book market by artificially raising the price of e-books, lowering competition and charging consumers higher prices."
"The anticompetitive 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," says the release.
After a series of court proceedings in a span of more than three years, the court's approved $450 million settlement stands unchallenged despite Apple's succeeding appeals to have the settlement overruled.
Two scenarios based on the agreements found in the settlement would have occurred in case Apple was successful in its attempts to repeal the ruling.
In one scenario, Apple is not obligated to shell out as much as a single cent to compensate affected e-book consumers, while in the second one, if the Supreme Court returned the case back for retrial, the company would still have to pay, though, the amount is cut down to $50 million for consumers and $20 million to the lawyers.
As it currently stands, the $450 million settlement ruling will push through, in which $400 million will be awarded to the consumers, $20 million to the state and $30 million for legal fees.
"To make this settlement effective and accessible for consumers, our team faced a sizable undertaking that entailed almost constant contact with the retailers to make sure the credits will be applied to consumer accounts across the country," says Steve Berman, managing partner at Hagens Berman. He adds that the settlement is the "only case in the country to have so much money returned directly to consumers."
E-book consumers who purchased a copy from any of the involved publishers between April 1, 2010 to May 21, 2012 will receive the credits through their accounts in major book retailing online shops, which include Barnes & Noble Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Kobo Inc. and, of course, Apple.
These companies will simultaneously issue emails to notify users about the changes as well as add the calculated amount to their accounts: New York Times bestselling titles will be compensated with $6.93 while other titles will be awarded $1.57.
Consumers who opted for the check option instead will receive their check as requested in the following days.
Photo: Maurizio Pesce | Flickr