Samsung and Apple Users Might Get Part of a £500 Million Payout

A leading chip manufacturer engaged in bad business practices, leading to increased costs for consumers.
Apple and Samsung to Pay Out 500 Million Credit: RomanR / Shutterstock
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Qualcomm, a global manufacturer of chips, might have to be forced to pay a £500 payout as compensation to millions of smartphone users in the UK. And if you’re using an iPhone or a Samsung device, you might get part of that payout. But don’t get excited yet; you won’t get as much money as you think. 

Qualcomm is a well-known manufacturer company of chips for smartphones. The company specializes in creating chips that let smartphones connect to 4G networks. Even if you haven’t heard of this company before, Qualcomm works with really big tech companies like Samsung and Apple and provides chips to their most popular smart devices.

The problem now, at least according to Which?, is that Qualcomm has too much power over these tech companies because of the quality of their products. The result? Allegedly, Qualcomm had started to abuse this power and inflate the prices and fees of their chips. 

This means that companies like Samsung and Apple had to pay more to buy these chips. Unfortunately, that means only one thing: the customers—you and me—have to pay more for these devices. 

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Which? Is Fighting for UK Consumers

Because of this situation, Which?, a big consumer organization based in the UK, took legal action against Qualcomm and asked to be the one to represent the consumers in this case. 

Which? believes what Qualcomm is doing goes against the UK competition law, and it’s affected millions of users. As a result, consumers have spent millions of extra pounds since October 2015. 

We believe that Qualcomm breached competition law and cost UK consumers millions of pounds, so we are taking legal action against Qualcomm to recover the overpayments made on Apple and Samsung handsets bought since 1 October 2015.Which?

The Competition Appeal Tribunal in the UK has already given the go-ahead for the claim and now Which? has permission to proceed to trial against Qualcomm. Which? is trying to make everything as transparent as possible, so you’ll be able to get updates about the trial on the claim website.

Qualcomm, as you would expect, doesn’t agree with this whole claim and the ruling from the tribunal. Still, the company will need to continue with the case and wait for the trial to defend itself. 

We disagree with today’s ruling, though it is strictly procedural and in no way supportive of the plaintiff’s meritless assertions. The claims here recycle allegations in an old case brought by the Federal Trade Commission in the US, which Qualcomm won. The theories seen here were discredited two years ago by a unanimous panel of judges at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the US.Qualcomm spokesperson

You Could Get a Part of That Money

The best part about this trial is that you’ll probably be able to get part of the payout if Qualcomm is forced to pay the money. And you don’t have to do anything about it. 

As Which? puts it, “These proceedings are part of the ‘opt-out’ collective redress regime, and so you don’t have to do anything now to have a chance to get your money back.”

The only requirement is that you’re part of the provisional list of smartphones that Which? believes were affected. You can check if your smartphone is on the list by going to the claim website and entering your smartphone manufacturer, model, and other information. 

But before you start thinking about what you would do with your part, don’t think you’d get a lot of money. Which? estimates that over 30 million users in the UK have been affected. And because of this, your part of the payout might be anywhere around £16-17. Still, that’s money you didn’t have before.

As we mentioned, you don’t have to do anything to receive that money, but if you don’t want to be included, you can talk to Which? directly. 

What’s The Next Step

As we mentioned, you can keep up with the case by visiting Which? ‘s smartphone claim website. As of right now, we’ll have to wait for the date for the trial to be set so we can know how this situation unravels. 

Unfortunately, this would only benefit UK users, but this might leave a precedent that people in the US might be able to use against big companies like Qualcomm in the future. 

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