Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has said owners of its Kindle e-readers will receive refunds on past e-book purchases if a settlement deal in the court case between the U.S. Department of Justice and book publishers is approved. The retailer emailed customers to let them know that they could receive refunds of between 30 cents and $1.32 for e-books bought between April 2010 and May 2012, provided they were published by one of the three publishers who have agreed to settle.
In April, the department accused Apple and five publishers of illegally colluding on prices of e-books and forcing customers to pay more. HarperCollins (NASDAQ:NWSA), Simon & Schuster (NYSE:CBS), and the Hachette Group decided to settle, while Apple, Penguin (NYSE:PSO) and Macmillan are still in court.
Catalysts are critical to discovering winning stocks. Check out our newest CHEAT SHEET stock picks now.
The settlement deals are designed to limit the publishers’ ability to set prices and will require them to abandon the system they designed with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) when the iPad first launched in 2010. They will also not be allowed to sign contracts with retailers that limit pricing decisions for the next two years and be blocked from entering the so-called “most favored nation” clause for five years. However, the settlements are still subject to court approval, with a hearing scheduled for February 2013. Apple said last month it will appeal the approval of the settlements.
While Amazon has no part to play in the case, or the settlements, directly, it said they will help lower the costs for Kindle users. “We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future,” the company said in its email.
Amazon said the refunds, paid for by the publishers, will be applied automatically to eligible customer accounts and allow for purchases of other Kindle books or print books. Customers can also ask for a check of the refund amount.