Price Fixing – The Infringement
The European Commission has issued a record £2.9 billion fine to five major Scania truck manufacturers after it was found that they co-ordinated truck pricing and colluded on passing on the costs of compliance with emissions rules from 1997-2011. Buyers of medium and heavy goods vehicles were significantly overcharged for their vehicles as a result of this price fixing. Medium and heavy goods are trucks whose gross vehicle weight (GVW) is respectively over 6 and 16 tons.
So if you purchased or leased a new medium or heavy goods vehicle between 1997-2011, manufactured by the following companies, you may have entitlement to claim compensation:
How does this apply to you?
Companies who purchased a medium or heavy-duty truck, directly or indirectly, from any one of these six companies between 1997 and 2011, will be entitled to claim damages (plus interest) in the UK courts for losses resulting from the price fixing.
This means that any potential claimant need only establish:
- the amount of the loss suffered (i.e. extent of the overcharge; and
- that this was caused by the conduct in the infringement decision.
In simple terms, the damages may be calculated as a difference between the price paid and the price that would have prevailed in a non-cartelised market.
You may also be able to claim damages for trucks bought from other producers. Given that producers involved covered almost the whole of market, it may well be the case that prices of other producers not involved in the alleged conduct were also higher than they would otherwise have been. That difference can also be recovered from those involved.
Assessing a potential claim
Step 1 Ballpark Value Estimate.
You should estimate the ballpark value of medium and heavy trucks you purchased in the period between 1997 and 2011 for the European Economic Area (“EEA”) by all group companies. If you assume 10-15% overcharge that will give you a very high level ballpark indication of the overall size of likely damage and whether it is worth your while claiming for damages.
Step 2 Jurisdiction.
You should identify in which countries within Europe your group purchased trucks. Typically, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands are the key jurisdictions for bringing such claims.
Step 3. Consider Funding.
There are many ways to fund competition damages actions which can significantly reduce claimants’ exposure to costs.
This article was first published in FACTS magazine