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Consumers to be reimbursed for overpriced electronics


If you bought an electronic device between 1999 and 2002, then you almost certainly paid too much for it. Now Canadians can get their money back simply by filling in a form on themoneyismine.ca. No receipt or proof of purchase is required to claim the minimum $20 compensation.

Consumers, businesses and other entities are finally getting a fair deal following a multimillion-dollar settlement of many class action lawsuits against several manufacturers who were allegedly fixing the price of dynamic random access memory used in nearly all electronics, including computers, printers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), MP3 players and video game consoles.

The Canadian lawsuits alleged that the defendants were fixing the price of DRAM between April 1, 1999 and June 30, 2002, thereby inflating the cost of DRAM and most electronic devices. The class action lawsuits were settled out of court: nearly $80 million in settlement funds were obtained for the benefit of all Canadians who bought electronics during this period. To make sure Canadians know about the money they are owed and how easy it is to collect, the four law firms leading these class actions are launching themoneyismine.ca campaign. Its objective is to ensure as many Canadians as possible claim what they are owed.

“It’s a great outcome for Canadian consumers,” says J.J. Camp, Q.C., partner at Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman. “We’ve made it easy for them to get their money back. I also think it’s an opportunity for all Canadians to show that they want healthy competition between consumer product companies.”

This is the first competition class action awareness campaign of this magnitude in Canada. Who is eligible for compensation?

* Canadians and Canadian entities who purchased DRAM or electronic devices with DRAM between April 1, 1999 and June 30, 2002 are eligible. Canadians 18 and older can fill in the form to request money. Households must file as a unit.

Which products qualify?

Most electronic devices use DRAM, including:

* Computers and servers

* Printers

* Personal digital assistants

* Graphics cards

* Video recorders and digital decoders

* Video game consoles

* MP3 players

* Computer based point-of-sale systems

Compensation will also be paid respecting purchases of DRAM chips or modules for personal use, for manufacturing purposes or for resale.

How do I request money?

* All households, businesses and other entities who bought DRAM or electronics with DRAM during the time period in question are entitled to $20 without receipts. Just sign up at themoneyismine.ca.

* If you bought several electronic devices, you might be entitled to recover more money. Some documents might be required depending on the size of your claim. Just sign up at themoneyismine.ca and identify the products you purchased. Any documents that show your purchases or that we can use to calculate your purchases are enough. Some examples are copies of accounting records, credit card statements, or computer purchase budgets. A calculator is available on the website to help you work out the value of your claim.

How much can I get back?

* The minimum amount you can get back is $20. If you bought several electronic devices containing DRAM, you could get more back.

* For example: a small business with 25 employees could have a claim worth several hundred dollars.