March 26, 2014
Attorney General Mark R. Herring announces Virginia e-book consumers will begin receiving approximately $4.3 million in restitution stemming from the partial settlement of a lawsuit brought in 2012 by Virginia's Office of Attorney General and 32 other attorneys general across the country.
The suit alleged that Apple Inc. and five of the six largest e-book publishers in the country conspired to fix the price of e-books.
"As attorney general, I will not tolerate anti-competitive practices that drive up prices and violate the rights of consumers," said Atty. Gen. Herring. "Consumers should be able to trust that they are participating in a market that is free from manipulation.”
Consumers who are eligible for restitution should have received e-mail communications from their e-book retailer or the settlement administrator with relevant details. The amount of each consumer's refund will be based on the number of eligible e-books purchased by the consumer between April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012. Procedural details for claiming restitution vary depending on the retailer used to purchase e-books. Further information about the settlements may be found at www.ebookagsettlements.com.
The publishers accused of price fixing- Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; Simon & Schuster Inc.; Holtzbrinck Publihsers, LLC, d/b/a Macmillan; and Penguin Group (USA) Inc. - settled the claims against them for a total nationwide payment of $166 million.
Apple declined to settle the claims against it, but was found by a U.S. District Court to have violated federal and state antitrust laws by conspiring to eliminate retail price competition in the market for e-books.
A trial to determine the damages caused by Apple's violation has been tentatively scheduled for this summer, and may result in further compensation for consumers.