Two UK operators in landmark truck cartel ruling awarded millions in damages

DAF Trucks must pay BT and Royal Mail millions of pounds in damages after the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) found that the manufacturer had overcharged the companies whilst involved in an illegal pricing cartel.

The landmark ruling is the first judgment by a UK court concerning a European truck builder accused of price-fixing between 1997 and 2011.

In 2016, the European Commission determined that DAF, MAN, Daimler, Iveco and Volvo/Renault had colluded on pricing and gross price increases for medium and heavy trucks in the European Economic Area.

Both Royal Mail and BT argued that they had purchased or leased large volumes of trucks from DAF during the infringement period and that they had been overcharged as a result of the manufacturer’s infringement.

They claimed damages relating to the overcharging plus consequential losses.

The tribunal held that the claimants had been overcharged and that the overcharge for which DAF was liable was 5% for both companies on their value of commerce, which was calculated as £260,597,683 for Royal Mail and £44,961,617 for BT.

The tribunal said mitigation defences put forward by DAF, including its claim that if the price of a new truck increased as a result of an overcharge, then the price of used vehicles sold by the claimants would also increase and so that benefit should be offset, all failed.

The CAT instructed the parties to come to an agreement on a compensation deal and if they could not, the case would return to the courts.

Steven Meyerhoff, director of law firm Backhouse Jones, which is representing the RHA in its class action claim against truck manufacturers on behalf of more than 17,000 hauliers, described the result as a “positive outcome”.

Meyerhoff said the RHA’s claim was different to the claimants, in that they were both large corporate buyers and “within the RHA class there are operators of all shapes and sizes and most of them have far less bargaining power”.

He added: “This is the first judgment the UK courts have given on whether or not the cartel impacted the prices and the tribunal found it did. They found there was a 5% overcharge.”

DAF Trucks declined to comment.

The post Two UK operators in landmark truck cartel ruling awarded millions in damages appeared first on Motor Transport.

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