DENVER – Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman announced that Colorado residents who purchased electronic books (e-books) should begin receiving account credits or checks on Tuesday, June 21 as a result of the successful prosecution of a price-fixing case against Apple, Inc. Apple paid $400 million in nationwide consumer compensation after the United States Supreme Court denied Apple’s request to review the decision of a lower court finding Apple had violated the antitrust laws.
“We’re happy that this money is finally going back to consumers, where it belongs,” said Attorney General Coffman. “The courts have resoundingly agreed with us that Apple engaged in collusive, anti-competitive behavior to overcharge its e-book customers.”
Colorado and 32 other states investigated and prosecuted Apple for its participation in the conspiracy to artificially inflate e-book prices. In June 2013, the states and the United States Department of Justice went to trial against Apple. In July 2013, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Apple conspired with five major U.S. publishers – Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (now Penguin Random House); Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan; Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; and Simon & Schuster Inc. – to raise the retail prices of e-books. In June 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed that ruling. In March 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Apple’s request to review the Second Circuit’s decision. The Supreme Court’s decision triggered Apple’s obligation to pay consumer compensation of $400 million. Approximately $7 million of that amount will be paid to e-book purchasers in Colorado.
All five of the conspiring publishers settled prior to trial, paying a total of approximately $166 million in nationwide consumer compensation. Most of that money was distributed to consumers in March 2014.
Distribution process for Colorado e-book purchasers
Distribution of the consumer payments should begin on June 21. Customers who purchased e-books through Sony or Google will receive checks in the mail. Customers who purchased e-books through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo will automatically receive credits in their accounts (unless they previously requested to receive checks). Customers receiving account credits should expect to receive an email between June 21 and June 24, indicating that the credits are available in their accounts. Credits can be used to purchase anything sold by these retailers.
The Settlement Administrator has set up a website and toll-free phone number for consumers with questions about this distribution. Please visit www.ebooklawsuits.com or call (866) 686-9333 for more information.