RHA calls for patience over Cartel compensation

George Barrow
November 3, 2016

The RHA said operators should not expect immediate results from its pursuit of compensation from truck manufacturers that acted as a cartel and co-ordinated factory prices between 1997 and 2011.

Giving details for the first time about the nature of the action, the RHA said it has applied to act on behalf of UK hauliers as a representative bringing collective proceedings to the Competition Appeal Tribunal under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Speaking exclusively to Commercialmotor.com, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said that since the European Commission (EC) had issued a €2.9bn (£2.61bn) fine it had been “exploring and understanding more about the approach we needed to take as an association” in regards to seeking compensation, and it was only now that it was ready to discuss the matter further.

Burnett said: “It will be a long, drawn-out process and it’s fair to say that hauliers are not going to get an immediate pay-out; or indeed that there will be a guarantee of any pay-out at all. However, it would appear that based on the high-level evidence received that the prospects for compensation look encouraging.

“We understand there is an enormous amount of detail behind this and working through this detail will take 
the largest amount of time.”

He said it could be in excess of two years before operators saw any form of compensation, depending on how the case progressed through the Competition Appeal Tribunal, settlement discussions or a trial.

The RHA is seeking legal counsel from competition law experts Exchange Chambers.

Barrister David Went told 
Commercialmotor.com that it would appoint an economist who was a specialist in competition law to see how co-ordinating on gross list prices has filtered down to hauliers via dealers.

“We need to understand that and see what harm has been suffered. That is vital,” he said.

On 19 July the EC issued a record €2.9bn fine to five major truck manufacturers after it was found that they co-ordinated truck pricing and colluded on passing on the costs of compliance with emissions rules in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

MAN, Volvo Group (comprising Volvo Trucks and Renault Trucks), Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, Iveco and Daf were all found to have broken EU competition rules. MAN avoided a fine, having alerted the EC to the cartel. Daf, Daimler, Iveco and Volvo Group all received reductions in fines for co-operating with the investigation. Scania remains under investigation.

About the Author


George Barrow

George Barrow has been writing about nearly anything with wheels for the past 15 years, starting off his career in the car industry and ending up in commercial vehicles via a brief detour to cover technology, science and start-ups. Often found behind the wheel of a new product, his real interest lies in the business side of the automotive industry. George is the UK jury member of the International Van of the Year and International Pick-Up Award.

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