LCD panel makers pay out on price fixing -

Toshiba, LG and AU Optronics have agreed to pay a combined $571 million to make a lawsuit over price fixing in the liquid crystal display panel market go away.

Joseph Alioto, who represented a class action of miffed consumers suing the companies, told Reuters the amount includes $27.5 million in civil penalties for eight state governments.

Seven other LCD manufacturers had reached a settlement for $538.5 million.

This means that their price fixing cost the panel makers $1.1 billion in compensation.

It all was a conspiracy from 1996 through 2006 to fix LCD prices and keep making shedloads of cash at the expense of OEMs and consumers. It meant that buyers of televisions, laptops and other electronics paid a lot more than they needed. They would still be getting away with it, but the conspiracy was revealed by a whistleblower.

Several companies also pleaded guilty to separate criminal charges and paid fines.

Under the settlement any consumer who files a claim will receive at least $25. Alioto thinks that more than 20 million consumers would qualify.