Nation : Panasonic to Reimburse Buyers

From Times wire services

Panasonic Co., accused of bilking consumers out of millions of dollars in a price-fixing scheme, has agreed to return up to $16 million to buyers nationwide, state Atty. Gen. Robert Abrams said today.

Abrams accused the company of coercing retailers into charging full list prices for its products by threatening to stop supplying stores that sold Panasonic equipment below the suggested retail price.

Abrams said the alleged scheme involved a number of popular products sold under the Panasonic and Technics labels, including videocassette recorders, videotape cameras, telephones and answering machines. Under the agreement Panasonic is to notify the estimated 665,000 consumers nationwide who bought its products between last March and August that they are eligible for refunds.