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Are you due a share of a £480m smartphone payout?

Written by: Emma Lunn
About 29 million UK 4G smartphone owners could be entitled to a payout after being overcharged for their smartphones by Qualcomm.

Which? believes Qualcomm breached UK competition law by taking advantage of its dominance in the patent-licensing and chipset markets.

The result is that it is able to charge manufacturers like Apple and Samsung inflated fees for technology licences, which have then been passed on to consumers in the form of higher smartphone prices.

Which? is bringing a claim against Qualcomm on behalf of affected smartphone users. It is seeking damages for all affected Apple and Samsung smartphones purchased since 1 October 2015.

The consumer champion estimates that individual consumers could be due up to £30 depending on the number and type of smartphones purchased during that period. However, the average amount due is more likely to be closer to £17.

Qualcomm has already been found liable by regulators and courts around the world for similar anticompetitive behaviour.

Which? is urging Qualcomm to settle this claim without the need for litigation by offering consumers their money back.

Which?’s legal action will use the collective action regime that was introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to fight the case for consumers – as it’s nearly impossible for individuals to take on big companies like Qualcomm themselves.

Anabel Hoult, CEO of Which?, said: “We believe Qualcomm’s practices are anticompetitive and have so far taken around £480m from UK consumers’ pockets – this needs to stop. 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.”

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