The announced today (3 November 2016) follows the European Commission’s record €2.9bn fine on 19 July 2016, levied against five major truck OEMs for co-ordinated truck pricing and colluding on passing on the costs of compliance with emissions rules in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“We consider ourselves duty-bound to acknowledge and act upon our members’ wishes,” states RHA chief executive Richard Burnett.
“We have taken legal counsel and have thoroughly explored the approach that we need to take,” he continues.
“If the CAT accepts our application, detailed disclosure of evidence will be released and at that stage the case will be developed more fully.”
Burnett warns hauliers that this is likely to be a “long drawn out process” and that they will not receive immediate pay-outs.
“Indeed there is no guarantee of any pay-out at all [but] it would appear that based on the high level of evidence already received that the prospects for compensation look encouraging,” he states.
Burnett says that the process of obtaining representative status could take up to a year while the whole process up to a determination or settlement “could well exceed a further two years”.
That said, the RHA wants to start by assessing the numbers of hauliers interested in signing up to the collective action – so is asking fleets who consider they may have a claim for compensation to visit www.rhatruckcartelclaim.co.uk and register their interest.
There will be no cost and it will be risk-free for hauliers that choose to opt into the claim, says Burnett.
However, RHA is also emphasising that the legal and other costs will be significant “and beyond the normal means of the association”.
As a result, RHA will be using an unnamed third-party funder to bring about collective proceedings, while also taking advantage of ‘after the event insurance’.
Burnett says the RHA will, in principal, not profit from this action.
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 while Scania remains under investigation.