Truck Cartel Update - January 2019

Posted 28/01/2019 : By: Tim Ridyard

There has been some significant progress in the claims being made for compensation. We can now update you about this.

You may recall the reasons these claims are being brought:

  • in 2016 the major truck manufacturers were fined almost three billion Euros by the European Commission for taking part in an unlawful pricing cartel relating to the supply of goods vehicles from six tonnes upwards covering the period 1997 to 2011.
  • if you have bought, leased or hired vehicles relating to that period you have the possibility of being compensated for the excess amount paid by you above what should have been the correct pricing.

Two applications for Collective Proceedings Orders (CPOs) have been lodged with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in order to pursue the claims for compensation. 

The Technical Bit!

In June 2018, the first of these claims was commenced by UK Trucks Claim Limited against manufacturers.  This is a legal entity formed to pursue this claim.  It does not itself represent claimants.  We are working in conjunction with UK Trucks Claim Limited to advise and assist clients in order to recover compensation due. We hope there will be a positive outcome, although it is entirely a decision for the CAT whether or not any CPO will be granted. (There is a separate claim being brought by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) that is different in that it is an “opt-in” action restricted to members of that claim scheme.)

Following an initial hearing of this case in the Tribunal in December, a further hearing has been fixed for June 2019 in order to determine the case. The Tribunal will then consider the applications for a Collective Proceedings Order (CPO).  In order to be able to claim damages (compensation) it will be necessary for a CPO to be granted as a first step. 

Next Steps

The applications are being defended by the legal teams acting for the various truck manufacturers.  This is unsurprising given the massive potential compensation claims that will follow, if the order is granted, to reimburse the over-payments made. 

At the hearing in June the Tribunal may grant orders for both schemes or for only one of them or neither. Being awarded any compensation is totally dependent on the decision in June 2019.

This is a lengthy process:  if any order is granted to allow the claims to proceed, then it may still take some time before compensation is agreed and can be paid. It is anticipated that there would be a fixed compensation figure for particular types, groups and makes of vehicle. 

The Financial Bit

In terms of the likely amount of damages (compensation) payable, we continue to be unable to provide any more detailed information but there is the prospect of a greater amount of compensation per vehicle than may at first have been thought. Our current view is that it is very much worth pursuing the claim.

Assuming an order is granted in June, we can then advise how the claims will proceed and we will be able to assist in obtaining compensation. This will be done on the basis that there would be no charges payable to us by our clients unless they were successful.  Our fee structure will be designed to remunerate us but will enable the overwhelming majority of the compensation to be retained by you.

Spreading the Word

Please do inform other contacts and businesses who may be interested in speaking with us.  It is in the interests of all claimants to increase the number of vehicle claims.  This will strengthen the case generally and also mean that overheads can be diluted across a larger number of claimants leading to the prospect of a greater return for each vehicle for which compensation is being sought.  

Ashtons Legal will continue to update you with regard to this claim. If you have not already done so will you please confirm your interest to us in pursuing compensation for you by telephone or by emailing tim.ridyard@ashtonslegal.co.uk. We can then suggest what action you need to take now to help you seek compensation if the order is granted in June.

Please remember that we are available to assist your business with our full range of business law services including dispute resolution, road transport regulatory support, employment & HR and corporate & commercial advice.

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