Bought a computer lately, you may be in for a DRAM rebate

If you bought anything high-tech in the last — yeh … just check out this story, you may be getting some money from a lawsuit settled by the Attorney General’s office.Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 9.37.59 AM

People that bought computers and other electronic devices at prices artificially inflated by allegations of price-fixing among the major manufacturers of Dynamic Random Access Memory “DRAM” computer chips, in Idaho and other states can now file for part of a $310 million settlement. According to a release, the settlement with the makers of DRAM chips, clears the way for people to begin filing claims. Eligible buyers include those who paid for the DRAM or for the various electronic devices built with the memory chips, such as desktop and laptop computers, printers and video game consoles.

“Idaho’s governments, businesses and consumers spent significant amounts of money on products that contain DRAM,” says Lawrence Wasden, Attorney General. “When those costs are inflated by unlawful anti-competitive practices, as we have alleged in this case, we have a duty to help consumers recover their money.”

After completing an investigation in 2006, Idaho joined 30 other states in a federal antitrust lawsuit against DRAM makers. Wasden alleged Idaho consumers overpaid for electronics built with DRAM, a common form of memory chip used in high technology devices.

The settlement is designed to help people who bought DRAM or devices containing the memory chips in the United States between 1998 and 2002 from someone other than a DRAM manufacturer, such as retailers like Best Buy or Staples.

Under terms of the settlement, DRAM manufacturers must also set up antitrust compliance programs and are prohibited from future conduct related to the sale of DRAM that could conflict with antitrust laws.

To receive money from the settlement, eligible consumers must send a claim form by August 1, 2014, with the settlement administrator. The amount received depends on the type and number of electronic devices purchased and number of claims submitted. The minimum payment back to consumers is estimated at $10, though some could receive more.

To file a claim, visit or call 1-800-589-1425.

Claims can be submitted if consumers bought one or more of the following items between 1998 and 2002:

  • Desktop computers
  • Laptop computers
  • Computer servers
  • Computer graphics cards
  • Printers
  • Video game consoles
  • MP3 players
  • PDAs
  • DVD players
  • Digital video recorders

Consumers who bought other devices with DRAM memory may also be eligible to file a claim.

Idaho also pursued monetary relief for purchases made by the state’s local governments, universities and colleges during the four-year period. These agencies and institutions should anticipate receiving compensation from a separate portion of the settlement.


1 Comment

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One response to “Bought a computer lately, you may be in for a DRAM rebate

  1. Mark Burrows

    This sound fine and dandy, but realistically, most computers purchased between 1998 and 2002 have long ago been retired and stripped down to bits and pieces. Having documentation that you made the purchase may not be enough. If you no longer are in possession of the product in working order, you might be denied.
    I also doubt very much that the settlement is set in a way that is going to reward anyone large amounts of money. You may require legal representation, the process could take months exceeding calendar years, and in the end it cost you more effort and money than the payed out reward.
    Nothing is simply. You have to jump through hoops to obtain anything and there are no such things as shortcuts. If there were, then it would be easy for people to identify themselves as you and claim the rewards in your name.
    I am not particularly excited about this lawsuit claim, and believe me, I probably purchased more equipment during that four years or five years if 98 and 02 are inclusive, than the norm but I rarely kept records beyond warranty, I never purchased extended warranty because physical modifications are much too fun. So, technically and such modification could cause undue stress to the DRAM, which often it did, as I was often replacing it anyway because I knew I over tweaked. I was never fond of the words limited or maximum when it came to computers, but the manufactures had to put them there to meet specification standards. Yet, I could purchase DRAM dirt cheap online from several places because back then there were no internet restrictions getting parts directly from the manufacturing factory. That was until distributors got wind of it and were aware that profit was slipping through their fingers. Then that line of getting parts was shut down and the prices multiplied sometimes twenty fold.
    Yes, companies do get caught for profiteering which is the legal word for privateering which of course led to pirating because the distinction between the two are quite grey.

    Mark Burrows

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