Optical disc

Sony, Pioneer and Toshiba among optical disc drive makers settle $29.7 million Canadian class action lawsuit

Some of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers have agreed to settle a Canadian lawsuit that accuses them of fixing prices on optical disc players, including computers, game consoles, as well as CD and DVD players , sold between 2004 and 2010.

An optical disc drive, or ODD, is a memory storage device that reads and/or writes data using an optical disc, such as CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays. ODDs are found in computers, video game consoles, and CD, DVD, and Blu-ray players.

The $29.7 million settlement was approved by courts in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec after the plaintiffs reached an agreement with BenQ, Hitachi-LG, NEC, Panasonic, Phillips , Pioneer, Quanta, Sony, TEAC and Toshiba Samsung.

The lawsuit alleges that instead of competing, the manufacturers conspired to artificially inflate prices in order to extort more money from customers.

How to claim your $20

The amount apparently overcharged is still unknown, according to Linda Visser, class action partner at the London, Ont.-based law firm Siskinds. She said the manufacturers reached an agreement before the exact total could be determined.

A row of Blu-ray movies on display in Toronto in June 2010. Companies wishing to make claims on large-scale purchases covered during the class action period must provide documentation. However, a lawyer said that given the time that has passed, there is room for flexibility.

“We haven’t gotten to that stage of the litigation,” she said.

Individuals and businesses can make a claim in the case, Visser said.

“For consumers, we have tried to make the claims process very simple. It does not require proof of purchase. go online to the site and complete the online form, essentially saying they purchased one of the products during the class period.”

Visser said the list includes most consumer electronics containing an optical drive sold in Canada between 2004 and 2010, including computers, video game consoles and CD, DVD and Blu-ray players. Individuals can claim up to $20 one time without a receipt. For additional claims, proof of purchase will be required, Visser said.

“Proof of purchase is not required as we would expect most Canadians to have purchased these items over the roughly six year period. We wanted to make this a simple claims process.”

For companies and institutions, which have likely made larger purchases, they need to substantiate their claims, but there is room for flexibility, Visser said.

“We try to be flexible, recognizing that it’s been a while now and they may not have kept full records.”

The price-fixing conspiracy allegations stemmed from an antitrust investigation into the ODD industry by the US Department of Justice, leading to a number of fines and convictions. The European Commission also investigated similar allegations in 2015 and fined eight SDG providers for their role in the alleged plot.