Motorists who bought new cars from Ford, Vauxhall, Mercedes-Benz and others could get compensation in £150m shipping cartel lawsuit
MOTORISTS could receive compensation from shipping companies that have been accused of setting up cartels to inflate prices.
A £150m class action lawsuit has been made against five of the world’s biggest shipping companies.
Customers who bought or leased a vehicle from Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, Peugeot, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, Citroen and Renault, could receive an automatic refund.
This affects purchases between October 2006 and September 2015.
Five shipping companies, including MOL, ‘K’ Line, NYK, WWL/EUKOR and CSAV, are accused of setting up cartels to inflate charges for shipping over nine years.
If they’re are found in breach of competition laws, motorists will be owed £60 per vehicle.
A three-day hearing at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London begins today.
The tribunal will decide whether a collective proceedings order (CPO) can be launched on behalf of UK consumers and businesses, seeing pay outs on roughly 17 million vehicles.
Mark McLaren, formerly of consumer group Which?, will argue that the class action suit should proceed.
He said: ‘This hearing is a significant milestone in our case that will decide whether UK consumers and businesses affected by the shipping cartels can access justice and receive compensation.
‘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.’
If the shipping companies are found guilty of breaching competition laws, they could have to pay out £150 million to thousands of car buyers.
Bosses have already admitted to officials at the European Commission that shipping cartels existed, leading to a fine of nearly 400 million euros (£340 million).
Law firm Scott+Scott UK has been instructed with funding from Woodsford Litigation Funding, a leading litigation funder.
Investigations and hearings over the cartels have already taken place in Australia, China, Japan, the US, Brazil and South Africa, among others – with fines handed out in excess of 755 million US dollars (£591 million).