Settlement Sought In Monster, Best Buy HDMI Cable Class Action
If you purchased certain Monster brand HDMI 10.2 Gbps cables at a Best Buy store or online between Aug. 25, 2011 and March 6, 2018, you might be due anywhere from $10 to $35 in cash or credit, due to a proposed settlement in a class action lawsuit for allegedly deceptive advertising.
The proposed settlement concerns one of two separate class actions for the same or similar issues, but if other alleged injured parties don’t speak up soon, they might be out of luck.
The case in question, Joseph vs. Monster, et al, is one of two pending class actions alleging Monster’s packaging of certain HDMI 10.2 Gb HD 1080p cables falsely advertised that the cables deliver superior quality performance to other similar and less expensive HDMI cables. Expert witnesses in the cases have argued that they do not.
The HD Guru told its readers back in 2011 that HDMI 10.2 Gb cables advertised with various speed ratings and making picture quality improvement claims over lesser expensive plain vanilla versions were unnecessary and overly expensive.
Spokesmen for Monster and Best Buy did not return HD Guru’s requests for comment on the preliminary settlement.
According to the lawsuit, which was originally filed back in 2012, the allegedly false claims are said to have tricked unwitting customers into thinking various Monster HDMI cables, which are often more expensive than alternative brands, are needed to transmit a signal to their high-definition television sets.
Specifically, the suit claims that Monster sold HDMI cables with a high-speed bandwidth of 10.2 Gbps and greater and they categorized them as “Advanced High Speed,” “Ultra High Speed” or “Ultimate High Speed” versions.
In Joseph vs. Monster, an Illinois state judge preliminarily approved a settlement last March that doesn’t require the parties to admit to any liability, but Monster has reportedly agreed to make changes to the wording on its HDMI cable packaging.
At the same time, Best Buy and/or Monster will give any allegedly misled customers a choice of cash or store credit ranging from $10 to $35, depending on the type of Monster 10.2 Gb speed-rated cable purchased, whether or not the customer can provide proof of purchase, according to website Top Class Actions.
Essentially, the proposed HDMI cable settlement would resolve the deceptive advertisng allegations and give the offended parties a little something for their trouble.
If that’s not good enough for you, the deadline to opt out of or object to the settlement is June 18, 2018. This might give you the chance to bring your own action, throw in with another group looking for more or influence the judge in the case to change the terms of the settlement.
According to the website topclassactions.com, to be eligible as a class member of Joseph vs. Monster, Best Buy customers must have bought a Monster HDMI Cable with an advertised bandwidth exceeding 10.2 Gbps in the U.S. between Aug. 25, 2011 and March 6, 2018.
The amounts paid per cable purchased are scheduled according to whether a customer will accept a store credit from either Best Buy or Monster’s online store, or cash, and whether proof of purchase is available.
Top Class Actions reports that “store credit requires no proof of purchase. To receive a cash award, Class Members must submit proof of purchase including receipt, credit card statement, or picture of the HDMI cable box.”
“Best Buy, Monster customers who are able to submit a proof of purchase along with their Claim Form have no limit to the number of claims they can file for. Those consumers who are unable to provide a receipt will be limited to one claim for store credit,” the Top Cass Actions web site states.
The schedule of amounts paid can be found here.
Meanwhile, parties who feel the settlement was insuffient and might want to file their own lawsuits at a later date will need to contact the claims adminstrator soon. The final hearing on the fairness of the proposed settlement terms is August 29, 2018.
The legal rights of potentially agrieved customers are affected whether they act or not, and the notice of settlement specifies a party’s rights and all deadlines to exercise them. This should be read carefully, and soon.
For clarification, despite the proposed lawsuit, not all HDMI cables are the same. Just the ones advertisized for 10.2 Gbps bandwidth. There are different versions of the HDMI standards that support longer cable runs, for example.
In the meantime, a whole new type of HDMI cable, conforming to the new HDMI 2.1 specification, are being developed and tested now and should be hitting the market shortly. Beware of cables sold now advertising HDMI 2.1 capability, as the offical testing protocols and procedures are still underway. These cables will bring additional capabilities, like support for e-ARC, 8K resolution and improved high resolution video game play, when connected to future products also conforming to the HDMI 2.1 specification. But that’s another story for another day.
By Greg Tarr
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