Samsung and Apple phone owners could be in line for payouts

Samsung and Apple phone owners could be in line for payouts

Samsung and Apple phone owners could be in line for payouts after chipmaker fails in bid to dodge UK court case over prices

  • Consumer champion Which? is suing Qualcomm over claims its used its market dominance to inflate charges, making smartphones more expensive
  • California company claimed it did not fall within the jurisdiction of the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal 
  • But Which? says the firm has accepted ‘the inevitable’ and dropped its objection

Apple and Samsung phone users could be in line for a £480million windfall after attempts by a US chipmaker to avoid the UK courts failed.

Consumer champion Which? is suing Qualcomm over claims it used its market dominance to inflate charges, making smartphones more expensive.

The California company had claimed it did not fall within the jurisdiction of the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal.

But Which? says the firm has accepted ‘the inevitable’ and dropped its objection, letting the case resume. Some 29million Britons who bought phones after 2015 may be entitled to payouts averaging £16-plus.

Apple and Samsung phone users could be in line for a £480million windfall after attempts by a US chipmaker to avoid the UK courts failed

Qualcomm makes chips that let smartphones connect to 4G data networks. Which? accuses the firm of failing to share its patents with rivals and using market clout to make companies pay too much for its chips.

The watchdog says Qualcomm has ‘taken around £480million from UK consumers’ pockets’.

Chief executive Anabel Hoult called the latest development ‘good news for nearly 30million UK consumers who have moved a step closer to seeing Qualcomm held to account’.

The consumer rights group first sought permission from the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) to serve papers on Qualcomm in February this year.

The following month, it was given the go-ahead to do so even though the tech giant was outside of the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

At the time, the president of CAT ruled that it was ‘seriously arguable that the alleged conduct constitutes an abuse’ and that the claims were subject to ‘proceedings under national competition laws in several jurisdictions around the world.’

Qualcomm makes chips that let smartphones connect to 4G data networks. Which? accuses the firm of failing to share its patents with rivals and using market clout to make companies pay too much for its chips

Qualcomm has previously been investigated by competition authorities in the US, Canada, and the European Commission.

Which? said that in the current case the company had ‘dragged its feet’ and put off the inevitable – and caused both parties to ‘incur necessary costs preparing for the hearing’.

The consumer rights group will now need to get permission from the tribunal to act as class representative for any chance of compensation, unless the firm agrees a settlement before.

It said it can now ‘get on with the real job of holding Qualcomm to account’ and was aiming for a hearing in the first half of next year.

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