Panasonic 21" television set

OLYMPIA — An Attorney General's settlement with seven makers of cathode-ray tube TVs and monitors could yield a payout for basically every electronics consumer in Washington.

Not much of a payout, mind you ... just $6 to $20 for every purchase of a CRT computer monitor or television you bought while living in the state between  March 1, 1995 and November 25, 2007. But it settles a $40 million price-fixing lawsuit brought by Attorney General Bob Ferguson against seven major electronics manufacturers.

Ferguson's suit alleged Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Hitachi, Chunghwa, Toshiba and Philips engaged in a price-fixing scheme to drive up the cost of CRTs from 1995 to 2007. For those 12 years, the alleged conspiracy led to overcharges for Washington consumers buying CRT televisions and computer monitors. 

CRT monitors have since been phased out in favor of more vivid LCD flatscreens. The suit claimed the companies held secret meetings and shared information to keep CRT prices high. The firms have not been found liable or acknowledged any wrongdoing, but agreed to pay a total of $39.65 million — from $29 million from Samsung down to Chunghwa's $125,000 — to settle the claim.

For Washington consumers, that means a potential remuneration of $6 for every CRT computer monitor purchased during the settlement period, and $20 for each TV. Anyone making a claim on the settlement is not required to submit documentation, but may be asked to verify their purchase, especially for claims involving a significant number of monitors or television sets.

A full factsheet on the settlement can be found at this link. To file a claim, visit crtsettlement.atg.wa.gov to fill out an online form, or call 800-332-9084. All claims must be submitted on or before May 16.

Jefferson Robbins: 679-7013

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