A class action lawsuit against DRAM manufacturers in the United States has come to an end after being settled for $310 million. The lawsuit was started when evidence was suggested that a large number of DRAM manufacturers between 1998 and 2002, including Samsung, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, and more were secretly fixing the value of their memory modules. This is a considerably big deal for many consumers because DRAM is a critical component for a lot of electronics we use, thus resulting in inflation of product prices for a wide range of devices such as computers, printers, DVD players and other tech.
DRAM, or Dynamic Random Access Memory, is a type of memory used for storing bits of data. It is considered temporary storage because the memory only retains information as long as the capacitor is maintaining a steady charge. Over time the capacitors will slowly dissipate and the information eventually fades away unless a charge is refreshed periodically. As a result of this refresh requirement, this is where the term “dynamic” is being referred to. If you think about the function of DRAM, you will realize what role it plays in many of our devices. The primary example is within personal computers. A computer relies on DRAM for swapping information back and forth that is required frequently but not needed permanently; usually associated with providing quicker access time when multitasking to frequently used applications. Therefore once the computer is turned off, the memory is cleared and ready for the next cycle of temporary storage.
In smaller devices dynamic random access memory functions the same way. A DVD or Blu-ray player would use DRAM as a method for buffering video to prevent stuttering during playback. This is because the read time on the optical drive is not able to access the encoded video fast enough. That’s why after you insert a disc you would typically see a brief message that says something to the effect of, loading disc. It is during this moment that a brief section of the video, 3 to 4 seconds, is loaded into memory for seamless playback. A printer will also perform a similar operation. After telling the computer to send a document to the printer, the document is stored within the memory on the printer to ensure there are no interruptions during the physical printing process.
So straight to the fact, what does this lawsuit actually mean for consumers? It means that you were paying more for devices then you actually should have, and you are possibly entitled to compensation. My reason for saying possibly, is because the attorneys are representatives on behalf of residents and businesses within each state in the United States. Anything outside of that may be beyond the scope of the lawsuit. However the criteria does say that the items you are claiming must have been purchased from a seller within the United States, and the form itself has the option to put in a non-US address, so this indicates the possibility that your claim may be considered as long as it was ordered by an American seller. I cannot say that is for certain, but there is no harm in trying and seeing what outcome you get.
The process is really easy, and will only take 5 minutes to file a claim on their website. All you have to do is select the type of product you purchased, with quantity, and then enter your contact information as an individual or business. According to the FAQ’s page no additional proof of purchase is required. Although this seems a bit odd since they would have no way of checking the legitimacy of your claim. If you do happen to have any records that prove you purchased electronic items within that time frame, I suggest finding them as you may be contacted by the claims administrator if they feel any additional information is required; most likely it will be.
All that aside, here is the main criteria to see if you can be include in the Class and/or Attorneys General Actions, as stated on the website:
-You are a person or business that purchased the computer or device containing DRAM.
-Your purchase was made anytime from January 1, 1998 through December 31, 2002.
-Your purchase was made in the United States, which includes Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the US territories, or from a seller located in the United States.
-Your DRAM purchase was not made directly from any of the DRAM manufacturers.
To find out more go to dramclaims.com