LCD HDTV Makers Face $388M Fine for Price Fixing

Dennis Faas's picture

Some major television manufacturers have been forced to pay a fine of $388 million for their actions in driving up the price of LCD (liquid crystal display) televisions. There's a good chance a TV in your home right now (or at one time) can be counted among the devices sold at inflated prices.

According to Bloomberg, Sharp and Samsung paid $105 million and $82.7 million, respectively, for allegedly fixing the prices of LCD TVs sold over a seven-year period from 1999 and 2006. Chimei Innolux, which is Taiwan's largest manufacturer of display panels, also paid about $78 million as part of a class action lawsuit settlement.

Eight Companies Pay Total Fines of $388M

In all, about eight companies were cited in the settlement, and paid a total of $388 million in fines. The settlement has not yet received final approval from the courts, although observers believe that a final OK will come later this month. The class action, or group, lawsuit was originally filed back in 2007. (Source:

This is not the first time the issue of LCD price fixing has surfaced. Last month, South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) fined Samsung, LG Display, and four other major TV manufacturers a total of $176 million for alleged "collusion" between 2001 and 2006.

"They colluded on minimum prices of panels, pricing policies on each product type, timing of price increases, and a ban on cash rebates," South Korea's FTC reported.

"They were aware that such action was illegal, and kept their gatherings and information secret." (Source:

LCD TV Price Fixing Widespread

About a year ago, the European Union also went after LCD makers, including the same two firms, Samsung and LG Display, for what the EU's regulators referred to as a "price-fixing cartel." The companies named in the allegations were told they must pay fines totaling 649 million euros.

Such price fixing has affected more than just home consumers. Major hardware retailer Dell filed suit against Sharp, Hitachi, Toshiba and a number of other LCD TV manufacturers for illegal price-fixing activities last year, accusing all involved of working together to drive up LCD prices.

Neither Samsung nor Sharp have responded to requests for comment on the issue.

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