MILLIONS of drivers could get £60 compensation if a class action legal battle gets the green light.
The case, which is in court this week, affects motorists who bought a new car between 2005 and 2015.
Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, Peugeot, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, Citroen and Renault cars are impacted.
A three-day hearing at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London began today to decide whether a collective proceedings order (CPO) can be launched on behalf of UK consumers and businesses.
If it gets the go ahead it would lead to automatic payouts from five of the world’s biggest shipping firms to drivers of about 17million cars.
The companies are accused of setting up cartels to inflate charges for shipping during a nine year period.
If found in breach of competition laws, they could have to pay out £150million to car buyers.
Bosses have already admitted to officials at the European Commission that the cartels existed.
That led to a fine of nearly £340million but now they face payouts to motorists in the UK.
Mark McLaren, who is bringing the group action on behalf of consumers and businesses, explained: “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.”
The five companies are MOL, “K” Line, NYK, WWL/EUKOR and CSAV.
If successful, motorists could be due a refund of around £60 per vehicle leased or bought.
Investigations over the cartels have already taken place in Australia, China, Japan, the US, Brazil and South Africa, – with fines of more than £591million handed out.
How can I get the compensation?
Drivers won’t definitely get compensation as the outcome of the legal battle isn’t known yet.
The tribunal is expected to end on Wednesday, when it will be decided whether the class action lawsuit can go ahead.
If it gets the green light, it will proceed to trial.
Eventually, eligible motorists could automatically get a payout of about £60, unless they opt out.
It’s not yet clear how long it would take for the potential payments to be made.
Alternatively, the shipping firms could defeat the case and no compensation payments would be made.
A class action case against Mastercard was given the go ahead in August, meaning Brits could get £300 each.
Millions of train passengers could be owed share of £93million refunds after legal battle was given green light.
Easyjet customers who had their personal details stolen in a data breach could make a claim for compensation.
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