Consumer protection organisation Which?
has been given permission by the UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal to represent Apple and Samsung smartphone buyers in a legal case against chip manufacturer Qualcomm.
Which? started its legal case in February last year, claiming that Qualcomm
had breached competition law by charging Apple and Samsung inflated fees to use its technology, which led to higher prices for consumers.
The Competition Appeal Tribunal
has allowed the claim to proceed to trial and has agreed that Which? is an appropriate representative for the millions of consumers allegedly affected in the UK.
According to Which?, which has set up a dedicated claim website at smartphoneclaim.co.uk
, winning the case could result in a payment of around £16 for an average UK consumer who bought a Samsung or Apple smartphone since October 2015.
Anabel Hoult, Chief Executive of Which?, said "We’re delighted to have secured this great result for consumers, bringing them a step closer to the nearly £500 million that we believe they are owed by Qualcomm. 'If Qualcomm has abused its market power it must be held to account. This judgement ensures that it can be. Which? brought this claim on behalf of millions of affected UK consumers, as it would not have been realistic for people to seek damages from the company on an individual basis."
Which? has also published a response from Qualcomm: "We disagree with today’s ruling, though it is strictly procedural and in no way supportive of the plaintiff’s meritless assertions. The claims here recycle allegations in an old case brought by the Federal Trade Commission in the US, which Qualcomm won. The theories seen here were discredited two years ago by a unanimous panel of judges at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the US."