Trucker body to seek cartel compensation

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
MAN Group avoided a fine after it blew the whistle on the cartel

A UK industry body that represents thousands of truckers is to seek compensation from a cartel of five big truck firms over price-fixing.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) wants to bring a claim against MAN, Volvo Group, Daimler, Iveco and DAF that could total up to £3.9bn.

The attempted action stems from a European Commission fine in 2016 for 14 years of collusion over truck-pricing.

Four of the firms were fined a record 2.93bn euros in 2016.

MAN did not have to pay a fine after whistleblowing.

The RHA says it will seek compensation of £6,000 per truck from the five firms, and has calculated that between 1997 and 2011 about 650,000 new trucks were sold.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: "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...

"They [truck owners] have made it clear that they feel angry about the truck pricing cartel and want us to represent them."

A spokesman for the RHA said the body was expecting thousands of its members to sign up due to the numbers who had been in touch.

The action will be backed by litigation funder Therium Capital Management, which will cover the costs and provide insurance.

"There's no cost to joining the claim, or any other risks if the claim is unsuccessful," Mr Burnett said, adding that truckers need not be members of the RHA to join the claim.

The next stage of the process is for the RHA's legal team at Backhouse Jones, Exchange Chambers and Brick Court to apply to the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London to become representatives in the action.

The RHA hopes for the first hearing before the end of the year.

A Daimler spokesman said: "Daimler will conduct a thorough assessment of any asserted damage claims. The EU Commission has not made any findings at all in respect of damages.

"In any event, Daimler will vigorously defend itself against unjustified claims. Please understand, that Daimler will not comment any further on announced or ongoing legal proceedings."

MAN declined to comment.

Iveco and Volvo were approached for comment.

DAF was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.