Class-action suit alleges Samsung, Micron, and SK Hynix fixed DRAM prices

There's no getting around it: RAM prices are extremely high, and they've been that way for a while now. The high cost of memory has caused more than a few grumblings of price fixing, but nobody had taken action until this past Friday. Law firm Hagens Berman, representing a collection of consumers, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Samsung, Micron, and SK Hynix, accusing the companies of colluding to increase the cost of DRAM.

According to Hagens Berman, the three named companies controlled 96% of the worldwide DRAM market from July 2016 to February 2018. During that period, DRAM prices jumped 130%. The firm says that collectively, the DRAM vendors' revenues increased by more than double over the same period. While that's certainly suspicious in its own right, the press release issued by the firm asserts that a "proprietary, independent investigation" by the law firm itself uncovered an illegal agreement to create artificial scarcity by underproducing RAM. 

Specifically, the document directly accuses Samsung, Micron, and SK Hynix of clear collusion in the form of coordinated supply decisions. That kind of behavior is illegal in the U.S.—thanks to the Sherman Antitrust Act passed in 1890—and the memory industry has been dinged for it before. In fact, Hagens Berman won a similar suit back in 2006. That case resulted in a settlement for consumers to the tune of $300 million as well as what Hagens Berman claims were "some of the highest criminal fines in history."

If you bought anything containing DRAM ICs during the period of the lawsuit (July 1, 2016 to February 1, 2018) you might be entitled to a check at the end of the litigation—assuming Hagens Berman isn't just blowing smoke. You can sign up to be a part of the suit here.

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