On 19 July 2016, the European Commission 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 1990’s and early 2000’s. As a consequence of this, the Road Haulage Association has announced today that it will be progressing with its application to become the representative body on behalf of UK hauliers bringing collective proceedings to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnet said: “We consider ourselves duty-bound to acknowledge and act upon our members’ wishes. We have taken legal counsel and have thoroughly explored the approach that we need to take. If the CAT accepts our application, detailed disclosure of evidence will be released and at that stage the case will be developed more fully.
“This will be a long drawn out process and it is important to stress that hauliers will not get an immediate pay-out; indeed there is no guarantee of any pay-out at all. However it would appear that based on the high level of evidence already received that the prospects for compensation look encouraging.
“The process of obtaining representative status could take up to a year and the whole process up to a determination or settlement could well exceed a further two years.”
As part of the process of applying to become the nominated representative it will be important to obtain a better understanding of the number of hauliers interested in signing up to the collective action. Therefore, the RHA is asking hauliers who consider that 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.
Concluding, Richard Burnett said: “We understand that there is an enormous amount of detail behind this and working through it will take a long time. Indeed it could well be in excess of two years before operators see any form of potential compensation, depending on how the case progresses through the CAT for either settlement discussions or even a trial.
The RHA is keen to stress that the legal and other costs will be significant during this process and beyond the normal means of the Association. As a result, it will be using a third-party funder in order to bring about collective proceedings. The Association will ensure that it will suffer no financial exposure and legal action will be de-risked from the perspective of both the RHA and the individual hauliers seeking a claim. This will be covered by ‘after the event insurance’. In addition, the RHA will, in principal, not profit from this action.