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Lorry owners and hirers could collect thousands of pounds from truck cartel

PUBLISHED: 11:40 30 January 2019

Nine out of ten trucks bought during the years of the truck cartel could be affected. Picture Getty Images

Nine out of ten trucks bought during the years of the truck cartel could be affected. Picture Getty Images

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If you bought, hired or leased a lorry between 1997 and 2011 you could be due thousands of pounds in compensation.

Millions of pounds could be paid in compensation after businesses were overcharged for heavy goods vehicles.  Picture Getty ImagesMillions of pounds could be paid in compensation after businesses were overcharged for heavy goods vehicles. Picture Getty Images

Millions and million of pounds could be payable in compensation to people and businesses who bought or leased a truck.

The discovery of an illegal truck cartel led to major truck manufacturers being fined almost three billion Euros. They were part of an unlawful pricing cartel of goods vehicles from six tonnes upwards between 1997 to 2011.

Those who bought, leased or hired medium to heavy goods vehicles in that time have the possibility of being compensated for paying too much.

That could be thousands of pounds per vehicle.

There are serious issues facing the road haulage business over the coming months.Picture Getty ImagesThere are serious issues facing the road haulage business over the coming months.Picture Getty Images

The illegal truck cartel of Volvo/Renault, Daimler/Mercedes, Iveco, DAF, MAN and Scania involved approximately nine out of every ten six tonne-plus trucks sold in Europe between 1997 and 2011, with the truck manufacturers illegally co-ordinating their base price list.

Price fixing is contrary to competition rules. It means those buying, leasing or hiring lorries during that time will have paid too much.

Those individuals and businesses will soon discover if they can claim the difference between what they should have paid for their lorries - new, leased or second hand - and what they actually paid.

Two applications for Collecting Proceedings Orders have been lodged with the Competition Appeal Tribunal to pursue claims for compensation – and the case is due to be held this June, 2019.

A decision is due to be made in June regarding compensation.  Picture Getty ImagesA decision is due to be made in June regarding compensation. Picture Getty Images

Now’s the time for people to get involved with claims for compensation.

Tim Ridyard, Road Transport Regulatory Lawyer, partner at Ashtons Legal, says the legal group UK Trucks Claim Limited has made one of the applications and Ashtons Legal is working with it to advise and assist people to recover compensation.

Businesses and individuals who bought, hired or leased lorries over six tonnes between 1997 and 2011 can choose to wait for the decision from the Competition Appeal Tribunal to see whether compensation will be payable.

But the more people and businesses who make a claim for compensation now will strengthen the case – and spread the cost of legal fees.

Lorry driver shortages look set to be on the way. Picture Getty ImagesLorry driver shortages look set to be on the way. Picture Getty Images

Legal firms are working on a no win no fee basis with the vast majority of compensation money claimed being paid to the claimants.

“We are working on the basis that compensation may be higher than at first thought,” adds Tim.

Those who may have been affected by the truck cartel should seek legal advice with legal experts – such as Ashtons Legal – to discover if they may be eligible to clawback the thousands of pounds they shouldn’t have been charged.

Due to the no win no fee agreement, claimants will not pay for legal assistance if compensation is not paid.

Thousands of UK businesses could be affected by the truck cartel.  Picture Getty ImagesThousands of UK businesses could be affected by the truck cartel. Picture Getty Images

The truck cartel and compensation claim is one of several big issues currently facing those in the road haulage and transportation industry.

Specialists such as Tim Ridyard at Ashtons Legal work with businesses, from road haulage firms and goods manufacturers to logistics companies, taxi drivers and others, who drive or use drivers as part of their business.

A shortage of drivers is concerning many in the Road Transport and Logistics industry, says Tim.

“There are serious concerns in the road transport and logistics sector not only about the availability of UK or EU professional drivers but in the future of other EU workers who account for a significant part of the workforce, impacting the viability of many businesses,” says Tim.

Lorries are an almost constant sight on our road network, but there are challenges ahead for the transportation industry.  Picture Getty ImagesLorries are an almost constant sight on our road network, but there are challenges ahead for the transportation industry. Picture Getty Images

Tim adds: “Latest statistics suggest a shortfall of around 50,000 commercial drivers in the UK. There are 300,000 people who drive large goods vehicles for a living, and a further 200,000 people who drive smaller vehicles in their job. There are a number of reasons for the shortage – the industry has become unattractive, workers cite bad facilities, low rates of pay and the costs of qualifying as issues that are deterring new people from the sector. We also have a huge number of drivers who will retire in the next ten years – about 75,000 – and very few young people replacing them. Only 2% of drivers are under 25.”

Then, of course, there’s Brexit and the issue of future logistics in the supply chain and arrangements for international permits and licences. In the event of ‘no deal’ there will be only enough international licences to cover 10% of UK goods vehicles crossing the Channel unless a solution is found.

“The transport business is facing major issues, is unsettled and requires clarity and certainty,” says Tim, advising that legal specialists can sift through the bureaucratic process and advise clients to ensure they are operating with the appropriate licences within the law.

There are serious concerns about the number of lorry drivers.  Picture Getty ImagesThere are serious concerns about the number of lorry drivers. Picture Getty Images

Ashtons Legal works with businesses involved in a variety of sectors, including heavy haulage, agriculture, utilities and waste transport to van fleets, taxi operators, recovery vehicles, construction industry transport, bus and coach operations, motor racing and equestrian transport.

Contact Tim Ridyard at Ashtons Legal, 0333 222 0350. www.ashtonslegal.co.uk

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