The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has now submitted its application to the Competition Appeal Tribunal in the next step towards getting compensation for thousands of UK truck operators. The hauliers have been left out of pocket after it was revealed that a number of leading European truck manufacturers colluded to fix their prices between 1997 and 2011.
If the claim is successful, UK transport operators could receive an average of £6,000 for every 6-tonne or above vehicle they bought or leased between 1997 and 2011. That represents the difference between the price they paid for new, second-hand and leased trucks and what the cost would have been if the price-fixing had not taken place.
What companies were involved in the price-fixing?
The list of companies involved in the price-fixing reads like a who’s who of Europe’s leading truck manufacturers. It includes DAF, Daimler, Iveco, MAN and Volvo/Renault. Four of those five manufacturers received a record collective fine of €2.93bn from the European Union in 2016, while Scania, which refused to cooperate with the investigation, was fined €880m. The VW-owned MAN was able to avoid a fine as it blew the whistle on the collusion.
The cost of the original fine will no doubt have hurt the truck manufacturers, but the potential size of the compensation claim, which could reach £5bn, should be an effective deterrent to prevent such collusion in the industry again. The compensation has been sought not just to remedy the damage that has been done but also to highlight what is undoubtedly a major scandal.
What does this mean for UK truck operators?
Clearly, if the compensation claim is successful, it will be good news for the truck operators who have overpaid, in many cases multiple times, during the 14-year period that the price-fixing occurred. However, for the many operators that were forced out of business partly as a result of the price hikes, it will have come too late.
It is completely free to join the Road Haulage Association’s collective claim and there is no requirement to be an RHA member. It is thought that more than 600,000 UK-registered trucks were subject to price-fixing with more than 3,600 operators signing up to the RHA’s claim since its website went live in mid-July this year. There’s also a further 700 firms that are currently in the process of registering their interest.
“Every penny counts…”
Speaking on behalf of the RHA, chief executive Richard Burnett said: “The UK haulage sector works tirelessly to deliver 98% of everything consumed in the UK and is the backbone of our economy. Every penny counts and I would expect these costs to have been absorbed by the haulage industry, unable to pass them on.
“If the RHA’s competition claim is successful, there is a strong potential that the majority of the industry’s operators will benefit. This won’t happen overnight – it’s a long process. But we will continue to push for a result that will help the thousands of operators who have been dealt a poor deal.”
Get the compensation you deserve
If, since January 1997, you have purchased or leased trucks of 6 tonnes or over that have been registered in the UK for road haulage operations, then you should join the claim. You can also join if you have purchased or leased trucks registered in European countries other than the UK, provided your business belongs to a group of companies that purchased or leased trucks registered in the UK.