North Carolina Department of Justice
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Refunds go out to music buyers, says AG Cooper

Release date: 3/10/2004

Raleigh: Consumers who applied for refunds as part of a settlement with CD distributors and retailers should soon see refund checks in the mail, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.

“Record labels and music retailers hiked prices and overcharged consumers,” said Cooper. “People who paid too much deserved some money back and now they’ll get it.”

Checks will go out in the mail tomorrow to more than 78,000 North Carolinians who applied for the refunds. Nationwide, 3.5 million consumers filed to receive refund checks. To qualify, consumers had to have purchased cassette tapes, compact discs or record albums from a music retailer between January 1, 1995 and December 22, 2000. Consumers who filed their refund claim by the March 3, 2003 deadline can expect to receive refund checks worth $13.86.

Settlement funds are the result of an agreement to resolve allegations by the states that 5 of the largest music distributors and 3 national music retailers illegally conspired to raise the prices of CDs. Named as defendants in the suit brought by Cooper and 43 other attorneys general are distributors Bertelsmann Music Group, Inc., EMI Music Distribution, Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Corporation, Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., Universal Music Group and national retail chains Transworld Entertainment Corporation, Tower Records, and Musicland Stores Corporation.

All defendants denied the claims but agreed to change their advertising and sales practices and to pay more than $48 million to compensate consumers. The defendants will also provide 5.6 million music CDs worth $77 million to be distributed to schools, libraries and non-profits. North Carolina will receive approximately 156,000 CDs worth $2.1 million under the settlement.

The multistate antitrust settlement was approved by a court on June 13, 2003 but distribution of refunds and CDs were delayed by appeals. For more details on the settlement and refund distribution, visit www.musiccdsettlement.com .