class action lawsuit

Laptop users could be owed cash as part of a huge class action lawsuit in Ontario

Did you, like pretty much everyone in Canada, purchase either a laptop computer, a mobile phone, a tablet, an e-reader, a digital camera or literally any other device with a rechargeable lithium ion battery sometime between the years 2000 and 2012?

There's a $20 bill (or, more likely, a direct bank deposit) with your name on it thanks to the outcome of multiple class action lawsuits against a whole host of electronic manufacturers who allegedly "conspired to fix prices" for lithium ion batteries (LIBS) and products containing them.

The best part? You don't even need a receipt to claim the money.

Better still for those who do have receipts is the prospect of getting a lot more than $20 out of the multi-million settlement fund, depending on which types of products they bought and from whom.

It all stems back to what has been described as an "antitrust-violating price-fixing cartel among nine corporate families" between 2000 and 2011. During this time, companies including Samsung, Sony, LG, Toshiba, Hitachi, Panasonic and NEC were found to be purposely restricting the output of batteries and artificially inflating prices.

The rigging scheme effectively led to higher prices for LIBs and LIB products sold in Canada for more than a decade.

Settlements were eventually reached with each of the companies, all paying out different amounts based on their roles in the cartel and how much they actually admitted to doing.

A payout totalling about $21.3 million Canadian has now been approved by courts in Ontario, B.C. and Quebec, according to a website set up by the law firms of Siskinds and Sotos, which represent settlement class members here in Ontario.

"The settlements are a compromise of disputed claims and are not admissions of liability. The settlements resolve the litigation in full," reads the website. "The settlement funds (plus interest, less approved fees and expenses) are available for distribution to eligible claimants."

As for how to access the funds, you can file a claim right here by December 17, 2021 — and as for whether you're eligible, Siskinds and Sotos define class members as "all persons in Canada who purchased LIBs or LIB Products between January 1, 2000 and January 1, 2012, except the Defendants and certain parties related to the Defendants."

LIB products are further defined as "laptop computers, notebook computers, tablet computers, e-book readers, MP3 players, personal digital assistants, handheld GPS, handheld video players, cellphones, smartphones (excluding cellphones and smartphones sold as part of a service contract) or replacement batteries for any of these products."

Notebook computers, laptop computers and replacement batteries for both are weighted the highest in terms of settlement distribution, and direct purchaser end users are prioritized the highest for payouts.

In other words, regular people who actually purchased phones or computers from stores for their own personal use are eligible to receive more money per product than wholesalers who ordered in numerous units to resell to customers. Which makes sense.

Lead photo by

Brooke Cagle

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