RHA wins legal battle against European Truck Cartel

Dec 18 | 2019

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has recently won its first legal battle to secure compensation for truck operators who suffered financially as a result of the unlawful price-fixing cartel involving the major European truck manufacturers.

Richard BurnettThe Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) agreed entirely with the RHA that its funding arrangements and the provisions of its insurance documents are fit for purpose and will entitle the RHA to proceed with its collective claim.

The truck manufacturers, which the Tribunal confirmed had already been found to have participated in the cartel between 1997 and 2011, had tried to persuade the Tribunal that the RHA’s funding arrangement was contrary to legislation outlawing certain funding practices in the claims management field and that the Association did not have sufficient funding in place to bring the claim, and that the RHA did not have adequate legal insurance.

However, the Tribunal rejected all of these arguments and sided squarely with the RHA.

Richard Burnett, CEO of the RHA, said: “This is a very important milestone in what may prove to be a lengthy journey to recover compensation rightfully owed to truck operators. The RHA is delighted that the Tribunal has recognised the ability of the RHA as a ‘well-established trade association’ to bring this collective claim, while at the same time rejecting outright attempts by the truck manufacturers to stifle the RHA’s claim at the outset. We are fully committed to seeing this process through to the end and it is a real achievement to have had such a clear victory at this early stage in the proceedings.”

The RHA is bringing a group or collective claim against DAF, Iveco, and MAN to secure financial compensation for truck operators because of the illegal price-fixing cartel engaged in by the major European truck manufacturers from 1997 to 2011.  The European Truck manufacturers (DAF, Daimler/Mercedes, Iveco, MAN, Scania, and Volvo/Renault) were found guilty of violating EU competition rules by the European Commission in 2016 and 2017 and fined over £3 billion in total. Over the 14-year period, the manufacturers at senior level fixed truck prices, agreed the cost that truck purchasers should be charged for emissions technologies (Euro 3, 4, 5 and 6), and delayed the introduction of more fuel-efficient emission technologies.

Photo: Richard Burnett