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Freeths - Law firm
Articles 29th Mar 2017

Truck owners and operators: do you have a claim?

Have you bought or leased trucks at inflated prices?

In Summer 2016, the European Commission found that 5 of the major truck manufacturers had colluded to fix prices at an artificially high level during a 14 year period from 1997 to 2011. That decision opens the door for those who purchased or leased trucks during that period to bring a claim for damages against the cartel members for the element of “overcharge” in the purchase price.

The decision relates to:

  • Medium (6-16 tonnes) or heavy (over 16 tonne) trucks;
  • Purchased (or leased) in the European Economic Area between 1997 and 2011

Five truck manufacturers – MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF – admitted cartel behaviour. The investigation into Scania’s conduct is continuing and they may be added to the list in due course. These manufacturers represented the vast majority of truck sales across the EEA. Even if your trucks were produced by another manufacturer then, potentially, the cartels’ behaviour, in inflating prices across the truck market, would also have increased the price that you paid.

So, if you purchased (or leased) trucks affected by the cartel during the period of 1997 to 2011 you are likely to have a potential claim and, depending upon the number of trucks acquired, it may be a valuable one.

Key questions

How much will we recover?

This depends upon your expenditure, the timing of purchases, and the strength of the defence from truck manufacturers. In the broadest terms, you should be compensated and reimbursed for the level of overpayment together with interest. Recovery levels will form a key part of our feasibility review. As a guide, previous awards in respect of cartelised misconduct artificially inflating prices have ranged between 10-30% of the expenditure on the price of the inflated products.

Will it be worth it?

We believe it will. You can choose the level of contribution (if any) you wish to make in building a viable group claim. We are working with a funder who would advance the funds necessary to bring the claim, so you could proceed at no cost to your business. You may, alternatively, choose to invest a cost contribution which would produce an enhanced return. The risk of any contingent adverse costs order is likely to be covered by after the event insurance.

How long will it take?

Up to the end of Q2 2017 to create the group and obtain funding. Possible settlement window in Q1-Q2 2018. If the truck cartel does not agree to voluntary settlement, a decision from the Competition Appeals Tribunal could be expected late 2018 or early 2019.

Next steps

Register your interest in participating (with no obligation) in a group action. We will contact you with a few questions to consider in relation to your potential claim.

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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