Motor Dealer Commission Disclosure - Case Update

Clients across the automotive sector, in particular motor dealers and finance providers, should consider carefully the recent case of Angel and others v Black Horse Ltd, which is a positive decision for those facing high-volume motor dealer finance commission disclosure cases and complaints.

The judgment concerns Barings Law, which has been particularly active in this space recently. The County Court decision in Angel and others v Black Horse Ltd of 8 September 2023 held that Barings Law was not able to issue multiple claimants’ claims against the same defendant under a single claim form (under CPR 7.3) as the judge was not satisfied there were sufficiently common issues between the claims. The judge therefore ordered severance of the claims, so each claim must be dealt with under separate claim forms, and refused to allow a formal sampling process (where a small number of claims would be taken forward to determine the key issues of law and used as “test cases”).

We consider this judgment is positive as it supports our argument that Barings Law (and many other claimant law firms and claims management companies) have failed to properly particularise their claims as they have not tailored the claim to the claimant (and instead have used template documentation). In particular, the court held the allegations of breaches of the FCA Handbook, Consumer Credit sourcebook (CONC) and any alleged unfairness under section 140A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 “will turn on the particular facts of the individual case”. This supports that claimants should be setting out any alleged breaches or unfairness tailored to their particular case. This decision also helps to “break the business model” that many claimant law firms and claims management companies use, where they attempt to reduce the costs of dealing with claims and complaints by grouping claimants together. We are hopeful that this decision will assist in dissuading claimant law firms and claims management companies from pursuing these types of claims.

If you have any queries about this case or would like any further assistance with motor dealer finance commission claims or complaints, please do feel free to contact Richard Coates, Adam Edwards, Louise Wilson and Daniel Meyer from our automotive team.

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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