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12 Nov 2021

Qualcomm abandons attempt to avoid facing UK consumers - what does it mean for you?

Tech firm backs down in victory for 30 million UK consumers as Which?'s legal action against its alleged anticompetitive practices gathers pace

Almost 30 million UK consumers are one step closer to getting their share of a £480m compensation claim, after technology giant Qualcomm abandoned its attempt to avoid being held to account in a UK court.

Which? believes the global firm, based in the US, which is behind chipsets used in many smartphones, has used anticompetitive practices that have inflated the price of some popular smartphones since 2015.

In response, Qualcomm filed an application to challenge the ability of the UK courts to consider the claim, effectively claiming that UK consumers were not, in its view, entitled to challenge its behaviour in their home court.

But, in a victory for UK consumers, shortly before it was due to make its argument in court, Qualcomm backed down and accepted the jurisdiction of the UK courts.

Here's what you need to know about the claim, your rights in relation to the claim and what happens next.

  • To obtain further information, including your rights in relation to Which?'s proposed claim, to access key documents and to register your interest in the claim, visit smartphoneclaim.co.uk

Smartphone claim: what you need to know

Which? is acting on behalf of nearly 30 million UK consumers who bought Apple and Samsung phones since October 2015 against technology giant Qualcomm, to recoup the cost of what we believe are anticompetitive practices resulting in inflated smartphone prices.

If the claim is successful, anyone who has purchased an Apple or Samsung smartphone in the UK on or after 1 October 2015 could be due a share of the damages on the cost of their handset.

A provisional list of smartphones we believe to be affected is available on the claim website.

These proceedings are part of the 'opt-out' address regime, and so you don't have to do anything now to have a chance to get your money back.

If the court finds Qualcomm has broken competition laws, those affected should get back the money they are rightfully owed, and we are urging anyone affected to sign up for updates on the action so you can track its progress.

For more information, including your rights in response to Which?'s proposed claim, access to key documents and to register your interest, visit smartphoneclaim.co.uk.

How much money could you get?

We estimate that individuals have been hit with additional charges of between £5 and £30 depending on which devices were bought, and how many were purchased between 1 October 2015 and now.

This could represent a significant amount for households who have purchased multiple handsets in the past few years.

What will happen next?

The next main hearing will be on 30 and 31 March 2022, when the Competition Appeal tribunal will hear why we believe this claim should be certified as an opt-out collective redress claim.

We'll be asking it to grant us a 'Collective Proceedings Order', allowing the claim to proceed all the way to trial.

Anabel Hoult, Which? chief executive officer, said: 'This is good news for nearly 30 million UK consumers who have moved a step closer to seeing Qualcomm held to account after its failed attempt to oust the UK courts from hearing this case.

'Without Which? bringing this claim it would simply not be realistic for affected customers to seek damages from the company on an individual basis - that's why it's so vital that UK consumers can come together and claim the redress they are entitled to as a group.