MILLIONS of Apple and Samsung phone owners could be owed a £30 compensation payout over claims a US tech firm hiked prices, according to Which?.
The consumer group is calling on Qualcomm, a tech giant which specialises in patent-licensing and making phone micro-chips, to pay shoppers a combined £482.5million for “breaching UK competitions law”.
Which? believes the firm took advantage of its position as one of the biggest in the market to push up technology licence prices for brands, including Apple and Samsung.
These charges were then passed onto consumers in the form of pushed up prices on handsets at the till.
Which? is seeking compensation for 29million Brits who bought an affected Apple and Samsung device since October 1, 2015.
Consumers could be owed between £5 and £30 each, depending on the number and type of smartphones purchased during that time period.
Are you owed compensation?
AS it stands, Qualcomm doesn’t have to agree to pay consumers compensation, so there’s no way of claiming the cash.
Which? is currently urging the US tech giant to issue a compensation settlement without going to court.
However, if Qualcomm refuse, the consumer group has said it will take legal action against the firm.
It has already filed a case to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, where it will be heard and decided on.
Even then, Qualcomm can appeal the decision.
Until the legal process has been completed, phone users shouldn’t expect any compensation in the short-term.
Qualcomm has already been found liable by regulators and courts around the world for similar behaviour.
Which? is urging the business to settle the claim out of court by offering customers their cash back.
The group is able to take action on behalf of consumers under collective action rules introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
Before then, it was near impossible for individual shoppers to take on big companies like Qualcomm, which may have been harming large numbers of consumers harmed by anti-competitive conduct.
Anabel Hoult, CEO of Which?, said: “We are sending a clear warning that if companies like Qualcomm indulge in manipulative practices which harm consumers, Which? is prepared to take action.
“If Qualcomm has abused its market power it must be held to account.
“Without Which? bringing this claim on behalf of millions of affected UK consumers, it would simply not be realistic for people to seek damages from the company on an individual basis – that’s why it’s so important that consumers can come together and claim the redress they are entitled to.”
A spokesperson for Qualcomm told the MailOnline: “There is no basis for this lawsuit. As the plaintiffs are well aware, their claims were effectively put to rest last summer by a unanimous panel of judges at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the United States.”
Earlier this month, phone network O2 was fined £10.5million for overcharging 140,000 customers – and you could be owed a payout.
Plus, millions of elderly BT customers could be due up to £500 each in compensation as the firm’s accused of a landline bill overcharge.
Meanwhile, Lastminute.com has been warned it must refund £1million to customers for cancelled holidays or face legal action.