US consumers who bought a computer with a DVD drive or a standalone drive between April 2003 and December 31, 2008 could be owed $10 per drive.
Any payments due would come from a $124.5m fund created by Panasonic, NEC, Sony, and Hitachi-LG data storage to settle a seven-year-old class action suit that accused them of conspiring to artificially raise the price of optical drives sold to computer makers and retailers, according to ZDNet's sister site, CNET.
The conspiracy claims center on manufacturers allegedly rigging bids for large orders of optical discs placed by computer makers HP and Dell. As noted by CNET, at least one Hitachi-LG executive was sentenced to six months in prison after pleading guilty to the conspiracy.
Affected consumers need to visit the claims site and lodge a claim by July 1, 2017 to receive up to $10 per drive. Claims can only be made if buyers were at the time residents of Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, or Wisconsin.
Fortunately, filing a claim won't require consumers to dig up receipts from more than a decade ago. Claimants simply need to provide their name, contact details, and how many computers they bought.
However, the terms and conditions include a clause permitting the settlement administrator "to request verification or more information regarding the claimed purchase(s) of Optical Disk Drive products for purposes of preventing fraud".
Although a court approved the $124.5m settlement in December, exactly when payments are made is also unclear because 19 other defendants have yet to settle, among them Samsung, Toshiba, Quanta, and Pioneer.
"The settlements with the Panasonic, NEC, Sony and HLDS defendants do not release claims against these remaining defendants," the settlement website says.
The US District Court, Northern District of California has set a trial date of February 12, 2018, for the trial of the remaining defendants.