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Fleets could recoup new car ‘over payments’ in shipping cartel class action

Businesses and drivers that bought or leased a new car or light commercial vehicle between October 2006 and September 2015 could be eligible for compensation under legal action brought against five of the world’s leading car shipping companies for price fixing.

The EC ruling found five companies had violated EU competition law on price fixing

A European Commission (EC) ruling on 21 February 2018 found the five companies – MOL, ‘K’ Line, NYK, WWL/EUKOR and CSAV – had violated EU competition law, and had coordinated rates, allocated tenders, coordinated reductions of capacity in the market and exchanged commercially sensitive information to maintain or increase the price of intercontinental shipping of new vehicles. The companies were fined more than €395m (£344m) while outside the EU, regulatory fines have since exceeded $755m (£591m).

Following this, a group legal action has now been filed in the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) by class representative Mark McLaren under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to get compensation for businesses and drivers for the overcharges as the inflated delivery costs were passed on. The legal action covers many mainstream brands – examples include Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, Peugeot and BMW – but the carmakers themselves are not involved.

As it’s been filed through the CAT, all affected motorists and businesses in the UK are automatically included in the claim and could see a claim value up to £60 per new car bought or leased, based on the overcharge plus compound interest, with a total value believed to be in excess of £150m.

There is no cost to being part of the claimant group. The claim is funded by litigation funder Woodsford Litigation Funding.

Mark McLare, formerly of Which? and currently on the Consumer Panel of the Legal Services Board, said: “When UK consumers and businesses purchased or leased a new car, they paid more for the delivery of that car than they should have done, as a result of a long-running cartel by five of the world’s leading maritime shipping companies. I have spent much of my career working in consumer protection and I strongly believe that compensation should be paid when consumers are harmed by such deliberate, unlawful conduct.”

For more details on the claim, including included and excluded manufacturers, click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.