Amazon notifying Kindle book purchasers of upcoming refunds from class action suit

The news of a class-action ebook settlement due to price-fixing kicked up a notch as publishers Macmillan and Penguin joined the publishers whose settlement had already been approved by the court.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor
Image credit: Amazon

Several major publishers were sued in a class action by the Attorneys General of a number of states due to collusion resulting in price fixing. The court has approved a settlement granting refunds to buyers of ebooks from those publishers. Amazon is sending notifications to purchasers of qualifying ebooks that two other publishers have now joined the settlement, which should result in bigger refunds for its customers.

According to the Amazon notification, customers don't need to do anything to qualify for or receive the refund. The court will conduct a hearing on December 6 of this year to approve or reject the two new pubishers joining the settlement. If approved, Amazon customers should expect an estimated $0.73 to $3.06 for every qualifying ebook purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. The refund can be used to purchase ebooks or print books. In lieu of a credit to the Amazon account a paper check can be requested as detailed in the Amazon notification.

The publishers joining in the settlement are Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Macmillan. The refunds are being paid out of a $162.25 million pool the publishers have established for the refunds.

The entire notification is included below to detail the refund process.

Dear Kindle Customer,

Last fall we notified you that you are entitled to a credit for some of your past Kindle book purchases as a result of legal settlements between several major book publishers and the Attorneys General of most U.S. states and territories. We wanted to let you know that two more publishers have since settled with some State Attorneys General and Class Plaintiffs and these new settlements may increase the amount of the credit you will receive. A formal notification from the Court about these settlements is included below.

You do not need to do anything to receive this credit. If the Court approves the settlements in December 2013 and there is no appeal, a credit will appear automatically in your Amazon.com account that can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books. We will contact you when the credit is applied to your account. While we will not know the amount of your credit until the Court approves the settlements, it is estimated that it will range from $0.73 to $3.06 for every eligible Kindle book that you purchased. To be eligible, you must have a U.S. billing address and must have purchased a Kindle book published by Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin or Macmillan between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. These publishers will provide the funds for the settlements. If you have already requested a check instead of a credit in response to the notice you received last fall, that request will cover these additional settlements and you do not need to do anything else. If you would like to request a check, you may do so by following the instructions included in the formal notice of the settlements, set forth below. You can learn more about the settlements at www.amazon.com/help/agencyebooksettlements

In addition to the account credit, the settlements impose limitations on the publishers’ ability to control eBook prices. We think these settlements are a big win for readers.

Thank you for being a Kindle customer.

The Amazon Kindle Team

Settlement ID Number: AMAm7PTOU8z0eig3v8
Benefits from E-books Settlement Fund
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Records indicate that you are eligible for a payment from Settlements reached by State Attorneys General and Class Plaintiffs with E-book publishers Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, (known as Macmillan) (“Macmillan”) and Penguin Group (USA) Inc.(“Penguin”). The Settlements resolve Plaintiffs’ claims against Macmillan and Penguin in antitrust lawsuits about the price of electronic books (“E-books”). Amazon has not been sued in these cases. It is providing this notice as a service to its customers.
What the Settlements Provide
The Macmillan and Penguin Settlements, together with settlements previously approved by the Court, create a $162.25 million fund for payments to consumers who purchased qualifying E-books from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012. If the Court approves the Macmillan and Penguin Settlements, eligible consumers like you will receive automatic credits to your E-reader accounts. The credit can be used on any purchases of E-books or print books. The amount of your payment has been determined based on the qualifying E-book purchases identified by Amazon in your E-reader account.
How to Receive your Benefit
Because you are pre-qualified, you do not need to do anything to receive your credit. It will be applied to your account by Amazon automatically, and you will receive another email letting you know when it’s available. Please note, while this notice is for the Macmillan and Penguin Settlements, your payment from all settling publishers will be combined and issued as one credit for your Amazon E-reader account. (If you bought E-books from more than one retailer, you may receive notices with different instructions about whether you will receive a credit or need to file a Claim Form for that retailer. You will have a separate claim for each retailer and you should follow the specific instructions from each one.)

You also have the option to receive a check instead of your credit. You can request a check by calling 1-866-621-4153, or going to the Settlement website listed below, and clicking on the Check Request Option link on or before October 21, 2013. Be sure to reference the Settlement ID number found at the top of this email. The Settlement website is: www.EBookAGSettlements.com.
Your Other Rights
You can choose to exclude yourself from the Macmillan and/or Penguin Settlements and keep your right to sue on your own. If you exclude yourself, you can’t receive any benefits from that Settlement. If you don’t exclude yourself, you can submit objections about the Macmillan and/or Penguin Settlements.
Your written Exclusion Form or objections must be postmarked by October 21, 2013. Please visit the Settlement website for detailed information on how to submit a valid Exclusion Form or objection.
The antitrust lawsuit against Apple, Inc. continues. Your rights in the separate suit are not affected by any action you take in regards to these Settlements.
The Court will hold a hearing on December 6, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. to consider whether to approve the Settlements. You or your own lawyer may ask to appear and speak at the hearing.
For more detailed information:
Call 1-866-621-4153 or visit www.EBookAGSettlements.com

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