Logistics Bulletin: August 2016
Important Article for Truck Owners – €2.9bn Fine for Truck Cartel
The recent cartel decision taken by the European Commission against a number of truck manufacturers highlights how road haulage companies could potentially bring large claims against the cartel members for losses suffered.
On 19 July 2016, the European Commission (EC) fined 5 truck producers over €2.9 billion for operating a cartel spanning 14 years from 1997 to 2011.
The fine relates to 5 truck manufacturers who admitted to a number of infringements of EU competition law, including having fixed prices for medium and heavy trucks, namely:
There is also an ongoing investigation by the EC against Scania for alleged involvement in the cartel, which may lead to a 6th company being added to the list.
Rights to Compensation – Do I have a claim?
If you purchased a medium (6-16 tonnes) or heavy (over 16 tonnes) truck, as defined by the EC, between 1997 – 2011 then you may have a claim for loss and damage against the cartel members and Scania.
Anyone who purchased a medium or heavy truck in the European Economic Area during this period can reasonably expect to have paid more for that truck, than they would have done had the cartel not existed.
How much could my claim be worth?
That will mainly depend upon the type and number of vehicles that you purchased; however, research conducted for the EC by Oxera suggests cartels can produce overcharges of between 10% and 40%.
You can also claim interest since the date of purchase.
Companies that purchased trucks affected by the cartel during the relevant period of 1997 – 2011 are likely to have a claim and, depending upon the number of trucks acquired, it may be a valuable one.
You should take immediate steps to preserve information which you may need to prove any claim and help determine the extent to which you may have suffered a loss due to being overcharged.
There is a special limitation period applicable to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) which means you can bring a claim within just over 2 years of the EC’s decision.
In order to stop the limitation clock running, it is advisable to issue protective proceedings now.
The CAT offers a streamlined and cost effective solution for the recovery of damages in these types of cases and it is usually not necessary to prove liability; just causation and loss. There is also no issue fee payable for bringing these claims in the CAT, unlike the High Court where a fee of £10,000 needs to be paid to the court to issue a claim.
Costs can often be shared if you decide to make a joint claim with other business similarly affected by the cartel.
We also work regularly with litigation funders who are often willing to fund some or all of the costs of pursuing a claim, in return for a share of any money recovered.
If you feel you may have a potential claim for loss and damage resulting from cartelist behaviour by any of the above truck companies, please contact our competition expert Andrew Maxwell or litigation partner James Hartley on the contact details below for a free initial telephone consultation.
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.
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