10 FEBRUARY 2023
The RHA has been leading legal action against truck manufacturers for the overcharging of vehicles.
- Non-RHA members can join the claim
- Head of the RHA legal team predicts a settlement
- The RHA has been leading the charge against the Truck Cartel to obtain compensation for road transport operators who purchased or leased trucks from 1997 onwards.
Following a violation of EU competition rules, truck manufacturers were fined a total of £3.4 billion in 2016.
As a result, the RHA has been working with Backhouse Jones to get operators compensation for buying or leasing HGVs with artificially inflated prices. The case represents an action on behalf of all truck operators whether they are RHA members or not. It is free to join the case and there is no financial risk. Royal Mail recently won a similar case against DAF, boosting morale for the RHA legal camp.
RoadwayLive spoke to Steven Meyerhoff, one of the RHA’s representatives on the case from Backhouse Jones, for an update on the legal battle:
What’s the latest on the Truck Cartel claim?
In June 2022, we were granted the first ever opt-in collective proceedings order to pursue the claim on behalf of more than 17,000 truck operators. Unsurprisingly, several manufacturers have appealed the decision. UKTC, who are rival applicants, have also submitted appeals on various grounds. On Tuesday (7 February 2023), there was a case management conference before the Court of Appeal to resolve a host of applications to be considered including one from the RHA that the matter be heard promptly given the delay.
The Court has listed the appeal to be heard the week commencing 9 May 2023, which we are very pleased with.
How did Royal Mail’s win over DAF influence your legal camp?
If they’d found there was no overcharge, we’d probably be scratching our heads. It has certainly improved morale because it demonstrates the first time in the UK courts one of the manufacturers has been found to have overcharged operators for trucks they have bought or leased. It’s a positive judgment.
What can you tell us of the upcoming Supreme Court hearing?
DAF have challenged the litigation funding agreements. They lost at the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal (sitting as the Divisional Court), and they are now taking it to the Supreme Court. For the litigation funding industry, it’s massive because all the other collective action cases except for ours in court are on an opt-out basis which means that those affected by the infringement haven’t taken any positive steps to join the claim and might not even know about it.
If DAF win, it could cause major issues in the litigation funding industry.
How long can we expect this one to go on for?
When is this case going to finish?
We remain confident it will settle at some point. I think realistically we won’t see a trial date before 2025 if it gets that far.
What’s the likelihood at this stage of a settlement?
We would think that it will settle. From the manufacturer’s perspective, they’re still trying to knock out claims or reduce the size and the value of claims.
However, I think once they’ve exhausted that process we’re coming to trial – I think they’ll come to the negotiating table eventually. I wouldn’t anticipate a settlement in the next 12 months, but you never know!
What’s the RHA’s future involvement on this case?
The RHA is the custodian of the of the action, they are the claimant. They’ll be responsible for managing the group, updating operators, and generally administering the action. The book isn’t shut yet so people can still sign up. It’s unprecedented, it’s a membership organization that’s brought in action on behalf of an entire industry, not just itself.
Operators can join the claim here and can get up to £6,000 per vehicle sold between 1997 and 2019. Find out more here