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The Road Haulage Association (RHA) is asking UK haulage and logistics firms – whether or not they are RHA members – to sign up to its legal action for compensation against truck manufacturers found guilty of illegal price fixing (Trucking, January).

In July last year, the European Commission fined MAN, Volvo Group (which includes Volvo Trucks and Renault Trucks), Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, Iveco and DAF close to €3 billion (£2.6 billion) for price fixing and other cartel activities between 1997 and 2011.

The compensation claim will be brought before the Competition Appeals Tribunal. If successful, hauliers will get money back for vehicles sold or leased to them at inflated prices because of the cartel, if they sign up to the claim.

The RHA’s action marks the first fully funded group claim against the truck manufacturers on behalf of affected hauliers, and the Association said all UK truck owners can join the group legal action at www.truckcartellegalaction.com.

It stressed there will be no cost for hauliers to be part of the group claim.

RHA said early indications are compensation could be in the region of £6000 per truck on average. Companies that have purchased or leased new or second-hand trucks direct from manufacturers (including Scania) or dealers from 1997 onwards are eligible to join the claim.

RHA said it believed around 650,000 new trucks were sold during the period the cartel operated.

“UK truck owners affected by the truck cartel have potentially paid too much for their lorries over a 14-year period, and we’re determined to get a fair deal for them,” saids RHA chief, Richard Burnett. “This is a chance to get their compensation with no risk to their business or finances.

As the representative body with sole responsibility for UK road freight operators, we are duty-bound to act on behalf of our members’ wishes. They have made it clear they feel angry about the truck pricing cartel and want us to represent them.”

Backhouse Jones, solicitors, and barristers from Exchange Chambers and Brick Court will lead the claim. The group legal action is being funded by litigation funder Therium Capital Management, which will cover the costs, including significant insurance cover.

“We are taking this case to the Competition Appeal Tribunal as it is the specialist court in the UK that deals with these types of claims, and is an effective way to see redress for operators,” said David Went of Exchange Chambers. “The initial stage involves asking the Tribunal to authorise the RHA to act as industry representative and to set out the basis on which operators can opt into the claim. The first hearing is expected to be later this year.”