As a purchaser of trucks, you are eligible to sign up to the RHA’s group claim and may receive over £5,500 per truck back in compensation. You can go to www.truckcartellegalaction.com and sign up through a quick and easy process. You do not need to be an RHA member to sign up.
As you may be aware, the European Commission last July fined five European truck manufacturers (MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF) almost £2.6 billion – the highest fine ever imposed by the Commission. The manufacturers – at their own admission – were party a cartel from 1997 to 2011, with senior managers involved at HQ level. The manufacturers fixed gross (and sometimes net) list prices, agreed the cost that truck purchasers should be charged for emissions technologies (Euro 3, 4, 5, and 6), and delayed the introduction of the emissions technologies. The cartel was a serious violation of EU competition rules.
Scania chose not to settle the case with the Commission and the proceedings continue against them. That should not, however, prevent Scania trucks being included in the group claim for compensation.
As the trade association within the UK dedicated to the road haulage sector, the RHA announced in August 2016 its intention to bring a group claim for compensation before the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). The claim will cover new and second-hand trucks from 6 tonnes upwards, regardless of whether they were purchased outright, purchased on finance or leased. The cartel operated from January 1997 to January 2011 but the claim is likely to extend beyond January 2011 until prices returned to competitive levels. The RHA will represent large and small operators and will be able to tailor the claim depending on the operator’s size.
The RHA has now put in place third-party funding and insurance to ensure that the case can be brought (a) without any cost to the RHA or to truck purchasers signing up to the claim, and (b) without risk of needing to pay the truck manufacturers costs in the event that the case is unsuccessful. In return for funding the case, the funder will seek a percentage cut of any damages awarded. Given the scope of the RHA’s group claim, the RHA has been able to negotiate very favourable terms with the funder.
Assuming large numbers of operators sign up to the RHA’s group claim – which is anticipated – and the level of damages is in line with current thinking, truck purchasers will retain 91% or more of the damages owed to them. This means for example, that if damages were awarded at the level of £6,000 per truck, you would obtain £5,640 or more per truck. If the case settles early, there is a further discount on the percentage return to the funder, resulting in an increased amount recovered to you. These figures are illustrative and the ultimate level of return to operators will depend on the overall level of compensation awarded across the group.
The RHA does not intend to profit from acting as representative, maximising the level of compensation that will be returned to those affected by the cartel.
The RHA has appointed a first-rate legal team to work on this matter. It comprises Backhouse Jones, the UK’s leading transport law firm, and specialist competition law barristers from Brick Court Chambers in London and Exchange Chambers in Manchester. The legal team have worked on competition matters for organisations such as the FIA (regulatory body for Formula 1), FIFA, Google, GSK, Samsung, Sky and UEFA. A leading economic consultancy (Cornerstone Research) has also been retained.
The enclosed leaflet provides further details on the RHA’s proposed claim. Please do also visit our website at www.truckcartellegalaction.com where you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions. Remember that you do not need to be an RHA member to join the claim.
If you have any additional questions or would like to discuss the RHA’s group claim further, I would be delighted to speak with you – my contact details are below – or you can phone us on 08450 30 50 30.
Director, Backhouse Jones