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Image of the Virginia State Seal

Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219



For media inquiries only, contact:  
Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
Phone: (804)786-5874 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

HERRING ANNOUNCES REFUNDS FOR VIRGINIA E-BOOK PURCHASERS IN $400 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH APPLE

~ Virginia consumers expected to receive $11-15 million following multistate prosecution against Apple for price-fixing~

 

RICHMOND (June 20, 2016) - Virginians 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. As part of a multistate $400 million payment ordered after a 2013 finding that Apple and other publishers had engaged in price fixing, Virginia consumers are expected to receive approximately $11 million to $15 million in compensation, in addition to more than $4 million that has already been paid to Virginia E-book purchasers.

"Virginia consumers will finally be compensated for these anti-competitive, anti-consumer business practices," said Attorney General Mark R. Herring. "This has been a long process, but we will always fight for Virginia consumers and for a fair, level playing field of competition in the market."

Virginia, along with a group of 32 other states, investigated and prosecuted Apple for its participation in the conspiracy to artificially inflate E-book prices. In June 2013, the states, along with the United States Department of Justice, tried the case 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. And in March 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Apple's request to review the Second Circuit's decision. Under a contingent settlement agreement between the states and Apple, the Supreme Court's decision triggered Apple's obligation to pay the maximum consumer compensation amount of $400 million.

 

The amounts received by E-book purchasers will be based on the number of E-books purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. For each E-book that was a New York Times bestseller, consumers will receive $6.93. For all other E-books, the payment will be $1.57.


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. The distribution that will begin June 21 consists of the $400 million Apple payment and additional funds remaining from the publisher settlements. The $566 million total nationwide compensation to consumers is more than twice the estimated amount of actual damages. Virginia consumers are expected to receive approximately $11 million to $15 million from this distribution, in addition to the more than $4 million already paid to Virginians.

 

Distribution process for Virginia 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. Due to the large number of consumers affected, it will take a few days to fully load account credits, and some consumers may not see credits in their accounts until Friday, June 24. Credits can be used to purchase anything sold by these retailers, not only E-books. 

 

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. 

 

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