Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) started paying a settlement worth $450 million this week due to being accused of conspiring with other major publishers to raise the price of e-books in 2012. According to a release by law firm Hagens Berman, the payouts became effective on June 21st.
Apple was accused of conspiring in a price fixing scheme with five major publishers: Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan (Holtzbrinck Publishers), Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster in 2012. The plaintiffs’ attorney alleged that Apple and the publishers pushed the cost on some e-books to $12.99 or $14.99 from $9.99 charged by Amazon in pricing fixing scheme, and according to Hagens Berman, the specific numbers are examples to help understand the influence of the conspiracy, which prevented other book sellers to compete on the price, raising the e-book prices consumers have to pay.
About two years ago, Apple agreed to pay the settlement for $450 million, including $400 million for consumers and $50 million for legal and state fees ($20 million to the states and $30 million in legal fees). Super Court declined to hear Apple’s appeal on March this year, forcing it to settle with the plaintiffs for $450 million.
Hagens Berman claims e-book consumers will get either digital credits or checks mailed to them for twice their losses. E-books have been purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 and from the five major publishers above would be compensated. For each e-book that was a New York Times bestsellers, consumers will get $6.93 for every book; for every other book, consumers will receive $1.57.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has uploaded a dedicated page on its website about this settlement. The company also said that the amount has already added into the digital account of eligible consumers, and the credits, which will expire in June 24 next year, would appear as a gift card upon checkout.