SANTIAGO: The first of 12.5 million Chileans started receiving almost $11 on Wednesday as compensation over a toilet paper scandal.
Chile's largest paper mill, CMPC has agreed to the unprecedented payout as retribution for more than a decade of price-fixing alongside its main competitor, SCA Chile.
CMPC will shell out a total of $150 million with every Chilean and foreign resident over the age of 18 eligible to receive 7,000 pesos.
"It's not a lot; but between having nothing and having 7,000 pesos that you can use, I think it's good," Andres Antilao told AFP, as he collected his windfall at the head office of the Banco Estado.
CMPC came to an agreement with consumer groups after the case was bogged down in judicial proceedings for three years.
"This is an unprecedented and historical process... we're setting a compensation standard," enthused Stefan Larenas, president of the ODECU consumer organization.
The so-called "toilet paper cartel" of CMPC and SCA controlled 90 percent of that market at the time the scandal broke in 2015, each benefitting from $400 million in annual sales.
The compensation package amounts to 78 percent of CMPC's dirty profits. SCA, which has not reached an agreement with consumer groups, copped an $18 million fine.
"For me it's not much, too little given what they earn," Jonny Reyes told AFP.
"We haven't earned anything. They're returning something they took away from us," he said, adding that he would use his 7,000 pesos to buy more toilet paper.