Apple iBooks Price Fixing Credits Arrive Today Doling Out Up To $7 Per E-Book
U.S. District Judge Denise Cole found Apple guilty of conspiring to fix e-book pricing back in July 2013 following an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. In 2014, Apple settled the suit with the Justice Department along with over 30 states that got involved with the legal proceedings. As part of the $450 million settlement, Apple agreed to pay back $400 million consumers, along with $20 million to the states and $30 million in legal fees, pending an appeal.
In March 2016, Apple ran out of legal avenues to pursue when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Apple's appeal. The refusal set in motion the $450 million settlement agreement, payments for which have started going out to consumers today. The total amount Apple must pay is more that twice the amount of losses suffered by the class of e-book purchases and represents one of the most successful recovery of damages in any antitrust lawsuit in the country.
"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," said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman. "This is the second round of distribution in the case, and we believe the only case in the country to have so much money returned directly to consumers."
The class action lawsuit alleged that Apple colluded with five publishing companies to artificially inflate e-book pricing, lower competition, and ultimately charge consumers higher prices. Attorneys claimed that the price fixing shenanigans led to a rise in e-book pricing of 30 to 50 percent over what Amazon was charging.