Fact Check

CD Settlement

Can you can apply on a web site to claim your share of the settlement of a CD price-fixing lawsuit?

Published April 23, 2013


Claim:   CD purchasers can apply on a web site to claim their share of the settlement of a price-fixing lawsuit.

Status:   Was true, but the deadline has passed.

Origins:   So many bogus "something for nothing" promises gain wide circulation on the Internet that it was almost amusing to see one that was actually true yet largely ignored. Gullible netizens have been forwarding endless variations of the Bill Gates e-mail tracking hoax back and forth for years, but when there was a real opportunity to collect $20 simply by spending a few seconds entering some information into a web site, the public was largely been too skeptical to try it, thinking the whole thing must have been some kind of scam.



years consumers have been complaining about the relatively high prices of CDs (because they were generally priced much higher than vinyl records, even though they were just as cheap, if not cheaper, to manufacture). Finally someone did something about it: 41 states filed suit against five CD distributors and three music retailers, charging that the companies had conspired to fix minimum prices for CDs. In September 2002 the parties agreed to settle the lawsuit, and one of the terms of the settlement was that the companies agreed to reimburse customers who purchased music products between 1995 and 2000 by paying out a total of about $44 million in refunds.

Anyone who bought a CD (or a record or a cassette) between 1995 and 2000 was eligible to claim his portion of the settlement by signing up before 3 March 2003; not even a receipt is necessary. Consumers could simply go to the CD MAP Settlement site, click on the link for filing a claim, and supply the requested information. Many people balked at having to supply several items of personal information (home addresses, birth dates, and the last four digits Social Security numbers), fearing the site was a data-collecting scam, but the information was necessary in order to distribute the payment checks and ensure that no one filed more than one claim.

Update:   The distribution of refund checks for up to $13.86 per person began on 20 February 2004.

CD refund check

Last updated:   30 October 2007

  Sources Sources:

    Coffey, Sarah.   "Record Club Members Get Discount with Lawsuit Settlement."

    Associated Press.   4 December 2003.

    Mims, Bob.   "CD Settlement Sweet Music to Utah Libraries, Charities."

    The Salt Lake Tribune.   1 October 2002.

    Queary, Paul.   "CD Settlement Money Going Begging So Far."

    Associated Press.   7 January 2003.

    Wack Kevin.   "Time Running Out for Music Fans Eligible for CD Settlement."

    Associated Press.   27 February 2003.

    Associated Press.   "Federal Judge Approves CD Settlement."

    13 June 2003.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.