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Buy laptop, TV, monitor a while back? You may be owed money

If you bought a laptop, computer monitor, or TV with a flat-panel LCD display between 1999 and 2006, you could be eligible for a damages payment under a class-action lawsuit.

If you bought a laptop, computer monitor, or television with a flat-panel LCD display between 1999 and 2006, and you live in one of the affected states, you could be eligible for a damages payment under a half-billion-dollar settlement of a class-action lawsuit involving price-fixing.

The California attorney general's office issued a statement this week urging residents of the state to visit a new class-action Web site--lcdclass.com--for information on how to file a claim.

In October 2010, California's attorney general filed a lawsuit against 10 companies, including Samsung, Hitachi, and Sharp, that alleged the companies "conspired to fix, raise, maintain, or stabilize prices of TFT-LCD Flat Panels resulting in overcharges to consumers who bought products containing" the panels, according to an FAQ on the lcdclass.com site.

Not all of the companies have settled, but those that have, have set up a damages fund of more than $500 million to pay individual and business consumers in the District of Columbia and the following 24 states:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

The settlement is one of the largest yet among similar cases.

It's not yet known how much money individual claimants will receive or when they'll receive it. If you think you may be eligible for a damages payment, visit the Web site, call (855) 225-1886, or write to: LCD Class, P.O. Box 8025, Faribault, MN, 55021-9425.

The settling companies will pay the following approximate amounts into the fund:

  • Samsung: $240 million
  • Hitachi: $38.98 million
  • Sharp: $115.5 million
  • Epson: $2.9 million
  • Chimei: $110.27 million
  • Chunghwa: $5.3 million
  • HannStar: $25.65 million

The nonsettling companies are Toshiba, LG Display, and Au Optronics, and the lawsuits against them are currently pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Neither these companies nor the settling companies have admitted guilt in the alleged price-fixing scheme.