PHOENIX - Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich today announced the U.S. Supreme Court denied Apple Inc.’s request for the Court to review a lower court decision, clearing the way for the distribution of $8.6 million to Arizonans who paid artificially-inflated prices for e-books. In total, $400 million will be refunded to U.S. consumers nationwide. The lower court held Apple liable for conspiring with five major publishers to raise the prices of electronic books. Arizona consumers purchased 2.14% of all e-books sold from April 1, 2010 to May 21, 2012.
“Arizonans who overpaid for their e-books have waited long enough for a refund,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “I am pleased that the Supreme Court declined Apple’s appeal and we can now put an end to this price-fixing scheme.”
Arizona is part of a 33-state coalition who investigated and prosecuted the antitrust case against Apple and its co-conspirators. In July 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Apple conspired to raise prices with: Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (now Penguin Random House); Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan; Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; and Simon & Schuster Inc.
The case was tried jointly, between the 33-state coalition and the U.S. Department of Justice. The district court’s ruling was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in June 2015. With the Supreme Court declining to review that decision, Apple has no further opportunity to contest its liability.
All five of the publishers settled prior to trial, and paid a total of approximately $166 million in nationwide consumer compensation. Arizonans received $3,478,237 of that settlement. The states’ settlement with Apple was contingent on the outcome of Apple’s appeal of the ruling, meaning Apple must now pay the maximum contemplated amounts. In addition to the $400 million to be distributed to consumers – including those represented by private counsel in a related class action – Apple will pay $20 million to the states in reimbursement for fees and costs and to resolve claims for civil penalties.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office provided consumers with notice of the Apple settlement in September 2014. In 2014, consumers who overpaid were given notice and had the option to exclude themselves from the settlement or to request a check instead of an account credit. Account credits for e-book readers should be distributed within the next few months.
If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6504, or outside the metro areas at (800) 352-8431. Bilingual consumer protection staff is available to assist. Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting the Attorney General’s website.
For additional information, members of the media may contact Mia Garcia, Director of Media Relations at (602) 339-5895 or Mia.Garcia@azag.gov.