Evidence of price fixing has means the 10 manufacturers of LCD flat panels will pay out $1.1 billion the largest class-action lawsuit in U.S. history -- and you could get a chunk of that change.
Officials say the manufacturers conspired to fix the price of the components that later wound up in everything from flat screen TVs to laptops and computer monitors -- and now it's payback time.
A decade ago, Bruce Johnson was on the cutting edge -- but upgrading to a pair of 40-inch LCD televisions didn't come cheap.
"It was a new technology. I like new technology when it comes out -- you know, the better picture, better movie viewing," he explained, "but it was probably in the $4-5,000 for both of them."
Over the last 10 years, high-definition TVs have come a long way. On Black Friday, there were 60-inch flatscreens selling for $600. That means countless consumers like Johnson will be able to cash in on a settlement that found evidence of price-fixing between 10 major manufacturers, including the following:
The minimum payout is $25 per item purchased between 1999-2006, and the process is surprisingly simple. No proof of purchase through receipts is required; however, the deadline to file is Dec.6.
"What we want is competition -- where someone sells something for a price," explained Garrett Blanchfield, a St. Paul attorney who specializes in anti-trust suits. "If someone can sell it cheaper, that's great. Everyone wins. Here, we lose that benefit -- we the consumer."
Blanchfield told FOX 9 News investigators combed through a million documents, including e-mails between competitors discussing what prices should be charged for the displays. Now, he hopes the settlement sends a message.
"By bringing this lawsuit -- and by getting a billion dollars in settlements from these folks, it might make the next group of companies that want to price fix think twice about whether it's really worth it," he said.