Does your business buy or lease trucks? If so, you could be owed thousands of pounds of compensation after a host of leading manufacturers fixed vehicle prices. We have the details to help you get started if you think that you might be affected.
Why might you be entitled to compensation
In 2017 the European Commission announced that a number of established truck manufacturers had broken EU antitrust rules by forming a cartel. It is believed that between 1997 and 2011 the cartel colluded to fix the price of medium and heavy trucks, as well as delaying the introduction of new emission technology into the market.
The European Commission imposed a fine of €3.8 billion on these manufacturers, and as a result, affected consumers can now seek compensation.
Are you affected?
You could be eligible for compensation if you have leased or bought any new or used trucks (6 tonnes or more) between 17 January 1997 and 18 January 2011 from any of the following manufacturers:
- Daimler (who manufacture: Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, FUSO, Western Star and BharatBenz)
It is estimated that the level of compensation could be in the region of £6,000 per truck (or 26% of the purchase or lease price of the truck) plus interest accrued from the purchase or lease date to the date that their compensation is paid.
With the exception of Scania, the group of manufacturers admitted their involvement. The admissions are proof of offending behaviour, so anyone with a potential claim could settle claims early.
Starting your claim
The cut off point for some compensation is July 2018, so don’t delay in getting in touch if you think you might be affected and haven’t yet claimed. Our dispute resolution experts will review of your potential claim free of charge and advise you on your next steps.
What is a cartel?
In any given market, businesses compete to meet consumer demand. This competition encourages businesses to improve the quality of their products and price them competitively. As a result, consumers benefit from a competitive market with a wide choice of products, suppliers, quality and prices.
A cartel is formed when a number of independent businesses work together to increase their collective profit by fixing the prices of products or delaying the introduction of new products into the market. By artificially fixing prices and reducing the number of competing businesses, cartels are less incentivised to improve the quality of their products leading to less choice for consumers. In short, the objective of a cartel is to benefit its own members rather than the consumer.
Cartels can have a damaging impact on the markets which is why they are prohibited in the EU single market and in the UK.
What impact can a cartel have on your business?
Under EU case law, consumers who have suffered harm as a result of cartels are entitled to compensation for actual loss, loss of profit and interest on these sums.
Studies of the effect of cartels estimate that on average international cartels increase market prices by around 26%. However, there are a number of factors which will determine the extent of the impact caused by the cartel and therefore the amount of compensation that a court may award a consumer.
If the total market presence of the businesses that make up the cartel is large, then the cartel will hold a lot of power in that market and its actions will be more destructive.
MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco, DAF and Scania are estimated to account for 90% of the European truck market. This means that the truck cartel greatly reduced the number of competing businesses in the market and choice for the consumers.
The harm suffered by consumers will depend on where they are in the supply chain. If “business A” bought a truck from the Truck truck Cartel cartel it may have overpaid but it would have passed on this cost when it sold or leased the truck to “business B”. The harm caused to business A is potentially lower to business B which purchased the overpriced truck and kept it.
Distributors who can show that their customers bought fewer trucks because of the high prices may be entitled to compensation for loss of profit on lost sales.