RHA launches funded legal action against the Truck Cartel.
The Road Haulage Association is now giving UK haulage and logistics firms (whether or not they are RHA members) the chance to sign up to its legal action for compensation against truck manufacturers found guilty of illegal price fixing.
In July last year the European Commission fined MAN, Volvo Group (which includes Volvo Trucks and Renault Truck) Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, Iveco and DAF close to €3 billion (£2.6 billion) for price fixing and other cartel activities between 1997 and 2011. The compensation claim will be brought before the Competition Appeals Tribunal. If successful, haulage and logistics companies will get money back for vehicles sold or leased to them at inflated prices because of the cartel, if they sign up to the claim.
This is the first fully funded group claim against the truck manufacturers on behalf of affected hauliers. All UK truck owners can join the group legal action at www.truckcartellegalaction.com. There will be no cost for hauliers to be part of the group claim.
Early indications are that compensation could be in the region of £6,000 per truck on average. Companies that have purchased or leased new or second-hand trucks direct from manufacturers (including Scania) or dealers from 1997 onwards are eligible to join the claim. During the period the cartel operated we believe around 650,000 new trucks were sold. Although this legal action is being spearheaded by the RHA, non-RHA members are able to join.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “UK truck owners affected by the truck cartel have potentially paid too much for their lorries over a 14 year period and we’re determined to get a fair deal for them. This is a chance to get their compensation with no risk to their business or finances. As the representative body with sole responsibility for UK road freight operators, we are duty-bound to act on behalf of our members’ wishes. They have made it clear that they feel angry about the truck pricing cartel and want us to represent them. Our legal team at Backhouse Jones, Exchange Chambers and Brick Court will seek the best compensation deal that we can on behalf of our members and other UK victims of this cartel. To ensure that as many affected hauliers are able to join the claim, we have secured funding from Therium Capital Management Limited and the largest tranche of After The Event insurance that’s ever been underwritten so there’s no cost to joining the claim, or any other risks if the claim is unsuccessful.”
Backhouse Jones, solicitors, and barristers from Exchange Chambers and Brick Court will lead the claim. The group legal action is being funded by litigation funder Therium Capital Management Limited, who will cover the costs, including significant insurance cover. The RHA has therefore carefully organised the claim so as to avoid any cost or risk to hauliers joining the legal action.
On behalf of the legal team, David Went of Exchange Chambers said: “We are taking this case to the Competition Appeal Tribunal as it is the specialist court in the UK that deals with these types of claims and is an effective way to see redress for operators. The initial stage involves asking the Tribunal to authorise the RHA to act as industry representative and to set out the basis on which operators can opt into the claim. The first hearing is expected to be later this year.”
About the case:
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) is working with Backhouse Jones (the Solicitors) to bring a claim for compensation on behalf of RHA members and non-members against the main European truck manufacturers who were involved in a 14-year price fixing cartel between 1997 and 2011.
The claim is based on the Truck Cartel decision of the European Commission dated 19 July 2016 in which DAF, Daimler (Mercedes), Iveco, MAN, and Volvo/Renault were together fined €2.926 billion. The European Commission is continuing its investigation against Scania but the RHA currently plans to include Scania trucks in the case from the outset. The RHA claim will be brought before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London.