A class action lawsuit filed Friday claims that Samsung, Hynix and Micron – three of the largest DRAM makers in the world – have joined forces to limit storage requirements and increase prices for their products 9to5Mac
The lawsuit filed by the Hagens Berman law firm with the US District Court for the Northern District of California claims that the scheme resulted in "illegally inflated prices" for devices using DRAM. The lawsuit seeks to secure an agreement for anyone in the United States who purchased a DRAM device between 1 July 2016 and 1 February 2018.
The main reason for this case is an independent investigation by Hagens Berman claims to have discovered an agreement between the tech manufacturers to increase the price of DRAM, an increasingly common type of storage found in millions of devices  Throw a stone into your local electronics store (do not, you'll break something and they'll let you pay for it) and you'll hit a device that uses DRAM. It is used in Android smartphones, Windows laptops, MacBooks, iPhones, and game consoles.
According to the law firm, there was a 47 percent increase in DRAM prices in 2017 – the largest increase in nearly 30 years. The price of DRAM actually declined by about three percent between 2012 and 2017 and by an average of 33 percent a year between 1978 and 2012, according to IC Insights.
The vast majority of The DRAM market is controlled by Samsung, Micron and Hynix. In 2017, the three companies together saved 96 percent of the market share for the storage type.
Demand for DRAM increased 77 percent last year after dropping 8 percent in 2016. This is at least partly based on the proposal that the three companies work together to create a limited supply in the market to increase demand and boost their prices.
"What we have discovered in the DRAM market is a classic antitrust and price-fixing system in which a small number of Kingpin companies hold the lion's share of the market," said Berman, Managing Partner of Hagen's Berman Declaration. "Instead of sticking to the rules, Samsung, Micron and Hynix decided to strangle consumers and rank the market for more profit."
The law firm Hagens Berman is no stranger to DRAM manufacturers. The lawyers prosecuted a similar lawsuit in 2006 and raised more than $ 300 million.
Class action lawsuits are the specialty of Hagens Berman, and the law firm is not afraid to accept it. Hagens Berman Twitter Griff is @ClassActionLaw and the law firm claims to have secured more than $ 260 billion in consumer comparisons.
Scrolling through the lawsuit pursued by the law firm is an exhaustive exercise. Since the beginning of the new year Hagens Berman is behind complaints against Apple, Facebook, Tesla, six major hotel chains, BMW and Harvey Weinstein.
It is worth noting that while class actions are a valuable way to keep responsible companies trying to cheat consumers, this is not a great way to actually compensate the victims. A study conducted by law firm Mayer Brown in 2013 found that most disbursements from class actions are out of the classroom. In two cases examined by the company, less than one percent of profits went to consumers. Most class actions do not even go to court, they are either fired or dealt with before they reach that point.
Nobody will lose tears in the eyes of Samsung, Micron or Hynix, when companies have to take something out of their pockets to pay the alleged price fixing. Do not expect the cost of your smartphone to be covered by the case.