Milsted Langdon highlights potential refunds for hauliers following landmark EU ruling

Hauliers who have bought or leased a lorry manufactured by MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco or DAF are being told they may be able to claim money back following an investigation by the European Commission.

In July last year, the Commission revealed that these manufacturers had breached Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 53 of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement. These two articles prohibit the creation of cartels and other ‘restrictive’ business practices.

Following a thorough investigation by the Commission,  the truck manufacturers were found to have colluded for 14 years to manipulate prices, which were passed on to customers as the cost of compliance for stricter EU emission rules.

A record fine of €2.93 billion has been issued to all of the manufacturers involved, apart from MAN who were not penalised, as they had informed the commission of the industry’s practices.

It is estimated that from 1997 to 2011 – the period in which prices were affected – some 10 million trucks were sold in the EU, with the purchasers of medium and heavy trucks being overcharged by an estimated £10,000 per truck.

At the time the report was released, the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager said: “We have today put down a marker by imposing record fines for a serious infringement.”

“In all, there are over 30 million trucks on European roads, which account for around three quarters of inland transport of goods in Europe and play a vital role for the European economy. It is not acceptable that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF, which together account for around 9 out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks produced in Europe, were part of a cartel instead of competing with each other.”

“For 14 years they colluded on the pricing and on passing on the costs for meeting environmental standards to customers. This is also a clear message to companies that cartels are not accepted.”

All the truck manufacturers have acknowledged their involvement in the cartel, except for Scania, whose involvement remains under investigation.

As a result potential claimants who purchased or leased trucks from any one of the following companies – MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco or DAF – during the period from 1997 to 2011 may be able to make a claim.

Any person or firm affected by anti-competitive behaviour as described in this case may bring the matter before the courts of the Member States and seek damages.

The case law of the Court and Council Regulation 1/2003 both confirm that in cases before national courts, a Commission decision constitutes binding proof that the behaviour took place and was illegal.

Even though the Commission has fined the companies concerned, damages may be awarded without being reduced on account of the Commission fine.

If you are concerned that you may have been affected by the actions of any of the manufacturers listed in this article then our team at Milsted Langdon are here to help. To find out how we can assist you, please contact us.

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