Did you buy electronics between 1998-2002?

If so, you could get some cash from settlement with chip makers

By Valerie Smith / The Bulletin

Published Jul 11, 2014 at 12:01AM

DRAM settlement

To learn more about the DRAM settlement or file a claim, visit http://dramclaims.com.

For consumers and businesses who bought electronic devices between 1998 and 2002, time is running out to get cash from a price-fixing settlement between computer-memory manufacturers and 34 states.

Approximately $200 million remains to be distributed nationwide to consumers and businesses who file claims for electronic devices they purchased that contained dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, chips.

The DRAM was used in numerous electronic devices, including laptops, desktops, printers, PDAs, graphics cards, MP3 players and video game consoles.

Oregon and 33 other states filed a lawsuit against 12 manufacturers, including Toshiba and Samsung, in July 2006.

Attorneys general from the states accused the companies of conspiring to fix and inflate prices of DRAM chips. The 12 manufacturers sold $20 billion in DRAM chips within the U.S., according to the Oregon Department of Justice.

The settlement, originally totaling $310 million, was announced in March.

Kristina Edmunson, communications director for Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, wanted to remind consumers and businesses that claims must be filed by Aug. 1.

Those seeking a claim do not need to submit proof of purchases, according to the settlement website. However, those making large claims, which were not defined, will probably be required to supply documentation.

“You really don’t need anything for this,” Edmunson said. “Some people emailed me (and asked) if they needed a proof of purchase, or bank statement from back in 2000. I was able to tell them no. They are able to receive payment for up to one device, and after that you may need some sort of a proof of purchase.”

Consumers and businesses can receive a minimum of $10 and potentially more than $1,000 depending on the number of devices they purchased.

The devices must have been purchased indirectly — for example, from retailers such as Best Buy or Staples or a computer maker such as Apple or Dell — not from one of the DRAM manufacturers.

Along with paying claims, the manufacturers, who deny the allegations, have agreed not to violate antitrust laws and to provide antitrust education and compliance programs for their employees responsible for selling DRAM, according to the Oregon Department of Justice.

— Reporter: 541-383-0325

vsmith@bendbulletin.com