Southwold Adnams Brewery is seeking damages as the main plaintiff in a class action lawsuit that was filed this week.
Adnams alleges that it was the victim of fraudulent pricing by major truck manufacturers over a period of 14 years.
The lawsuit is ongoing, along with 26 other claimants, through London law firm Edwin Coe, and the total claim amount is currently Â£ 10million.
Besides Adnams, other claimants in the same lawsuit include the national budget retail chain Poundland, and more locally, the dumpster rental, recycling and waste management company GBN Services in Chelmsford and the CSH Environmental recycling center in Wormingford, both of whom have been contacted for comment.
The complaint stems from a European Commission ruling in 2016 against five truck manufacturers – MAN, Volvo / Renault, Daimler / Mercedes, Iveco and DAF – who discovered they had operated a price-fixing cartel.
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The European Commission fined these European truck manufacturers â¬ 2.926 billion for pricing and other cartel activity between 1997 and 2011.
A similar conclusion has since been made against a sixth manufacturer, Scania. Together, the manufacturers hold over 80% of the market.
According to an Edwin Coe spokesperson, some 10 million trucks were sold across the EU between 1997 and 2011, and each could have been overvalued by up to Â£ 10,000 as a result of the deal.
Zahira Hussain of Edwin Coe said: “This cartel has been an EU-wide scandal for many years and has affected thousands of UK businesses, from DLCs to small businesses.”
Adnams and the other plaintiffs seek damages, plus interest, for commercial vehicles purchased during the so-called 14-year infringement period.
A spokesperson for the brewer said: âWe bought vehicles from these companies during this time, and it looks like we should have paid less for these vehicles. As a result, we have suffered a loss and we are now seeking to repair that loss. “
Although the complaint was only filed this week, Adnams said she had been in discussions with Edwin Coe for more than a year.
“We estimate that the number of vehicles that we have purchased in the relevant years that may have been affected by the pricing is around 30,” she said.
The Road Haulage Association has taken a separate legal action against its members.
Edwin Coe is calling on any company that bought, leased or outsourced trucks weighing six tons or more between 1997 and 2012 to join the lawsuit, which will sit before the Competition Appeal Tribunal. He said he had secured funding for the litigation, which means he could take the lawsuit to the competition appeals tribunal on a no-win, no-cost deal.
Edwin Coe is now encouraging other companies in the retail, construction, agriculture, foodservice, brewing, waste management and outsourcing industries to register, as the The company says it probably overpaid their vehicles as well.