Toshiba LCD Price Fixing Results in $87M Fine
Major electronics firm Toshiba has been nailed with a massive $87 million fine for fixing the prices of its LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens. The fine is part of a widespread crackdown on such activity in the LCD market.
According to reports, the fine was imposed by the US District Court in San Francisco. The charge: working with other LCD makers to maintain an artificially high price for these devices. (Source: bloomberg.com)
LCDs are used to display images in televisions as well as computers and mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablet PCs.
Consumers Ripped Off by TV Makers
The case against the major hardware companies allegedly involved in price fixing began six years ago.
According to the civil class action lawsuit, "LCD makers met in secret in karaoke bars, tea rooms, and hotel conference rooms in Taiwan to set prices rather than letting market forces prevail." (Source: eweek.com)
Toshiba is only one of several major tech firm accused of participating in such price fixing. In recent years, LG Electronics, Sharp, and Samsung have all faced similar fines or have agreed to settle similar allegations.
Back in December 2011, these firms (along with several others) agreed to pay $538 million to settle claims that they had violated the trust of consumers by colluding to maintain high prices in the LCD market.
Toshiba Won't Go Down Without a Fight
In this case, Toshiba maintains that the investigation by US officials was misguided and that "there was no illegal activity on its part in the LCD business in the United States".
The company said that it "continues to hold that view" and "believes that the jury's verdict is in error as to the finding of wrongdoing." (Source: eweek.com)
Given this position, observers believe it is unlikely Toshiba will immediately agree to pay the $87 million fine.
Nevertheless, lawyers on the other side of the case were encouraged by the jury's decision. "We are very pleased the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and found that Toshiba violated the law," said Richard Heimann, the plaintiffs' co-counsel.
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