Collyer Bristow has signed terms to establish a claimant group with a compensation claim worth at least £100m on behalf of truck users that have been overcharged for their vehicles by members of a pan-European price fixing cartel.
Companies which own fleets of vehicles could be entitled to compensation worth around £7,800 per truck, based on current estimates, it says. Other companies which do not own trucks but instead outsource their transportation needs to third parties will also be entitled to damages.
In 2016, the European Commission found that truck manufacturers MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler/Mercedes, Iveco and DAF had operated a 14-year cartel from 1997 and it fined the cartelists a record-breaking €2.93bn. In September 2017, the European Commission found that Scania had also participated in the cartel and fined it €880m.
Any business in the European Economic Area that suffered financial loss from paying higher prices for trucks because of the cartel is entitled to claim compensation.
Working with global litigation funder Vannin Capital, Collyer Bristow aims to help truck users impacted by this cartel – such as hauliers, retailers, manufacturers, construction firms and couriers – to claim compensation.
Stephen Critchley, head of competition law at Collyer Bristow, said: “Firms that acquired new medium or heavy-duty trucks between 1997 and 2011 almost certainly have a case for compensation, whether they bought the trucks outright, on hire purchase or leased them directly from a manufacturer or from a supplier.
“Other firms which do not operate their own truck fleet but outsource their transportation needs to third party hauliers could also be entitled to make a claim.
“As well as fixing prices, the truck cartel conspired on the timing of new emissions technologies, so it is possible that fleet owners and users incurred extra running costs, too. The compensation claims could run to billions of pounds.
“We will represent a group of claimants large enough to enjoy economies of scale but small enough to ensure that we can dedicate time to each claimant and claimants retain control of key decisions.”
In addition to working with Vannin Capital, Collyer Bristow will be working with London Economics to help quantify the damages and two leading competition barristers to represent companies unfairly overcharged for vehicles.
Representation will be at no upfront expense to claimants. The cost of claims will be covered in part by the professional team deferring their fees so they are paid only in the event of success, and in part by funds from Vannin Capital in return for a share of claimants’ damages. Claimants will also benefit from the group’s ‘After The Event’ insurance from a panel of A-rated insurers, it says.
To help companies which were overcharged make their claims, Collyer Bristow has launched a dedicated website at www.truckfleetcartelclaims.com.