Edwin Coe LLP has filed a group action seeking damages for businesses who were victims of fraudulent price fixing by major truck manufacturers over a 14-year period.
The law firm is calling on any business that purchased, leased or outsourced trucks weighing six tonnes or more between 1997 and 2012 to join the lawsuit, which will sit in the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
Well-known high street names, a supermarket retailer and a range of major regional brewers, are already amongst the claimants joining the litigation, says the firm.
They are seeking damages (plus interest) for medium or heavy goods vehicles purchased during the so-called infringement period of 14 years.
Edwin Coe is now encouraging additional businesses in the retail, construction, farming, waste-management and outsourcing sectors to sign up, as it is likely they also overpaid for their vehicles, it says.
The claim stems from a European Commission ruling in 2016 against five truck manufacturers - MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler/Mercedes, Iveco and DAF - which found they operated a price fixing cartel stretching back to 1997. There has since been a similar finding against a sixth manufacturer, Scania.
Together these manufacturers hold over 80% of the market.
It is estimated that some 10 million trucks were sold across the EU during the 1997-2011 period and that each one may have been overpriced by up to £10,000 as a result of the cartel.
Claims may also be brought by those who purchased trucks from other manufacturers, because their prices are also likely to have been affected by the cartel pricing, says Edwin Coe.
Zahira Hussain of Edwin Coe LLP said: “This cartel was an EU-wide scandal for many years and affected thousands of UK businesses from PLCs to smaller enterprises.
“Companies that believe they were a victim and want to claim their rightful compensation need to act fast. There is still a window to join our claim process on a cost and risk-free basis.”
Last month Edwin Coe secured litigation funding from Affiniti Finance meaning it can act for clients under a ‘no-win, no-fee’ arrangement.
The Road Haulage Association has a separate legal action underway for its members. However, Edwin Coe says it is able to act for direct purchasers of trucks as well as indirect purchasers (meaning any companies who used trucking services provided by hauliers).