Known as the Car Cartel, the case started in 2015 when the CNMC decided to fine to the main automobile manufacturers for joining forces to exchange “secret, future and strategic” information with which to stop the development of less polluting cars. Due to this, those consumers who bought a car between 2006 and 2013 may receive a compensation calculated between 2,000 and 9,000 euros per buyer, depending on the value of the vehicle.
At stake are more than 40,000 million euros in claims. After several years of legal disputes, the Supreme Court has issued several resolutions where the reason to consumers and it is forcing the various manufacturers to provide this financial reward.
Here we explain all the details of the Car Cartel case, from which brands have been affected to how we can find out in a simple way if in our case we can claim.
How to check if we are among those affected by the Car Cartel
The different organizations that are leading consumer complaints They have created simple tools to check if it affects us. Basically it is several web applications where we enter the car make, model and year and they notify us if it is included in the list.
One of them is the one created by the Group of People Affected by the Car Cartel (AACC). Another option is the created by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU).
What car brands are involved
In total, the associations estimate that there are millions of people affected in Spain. The CNMC fined a total of 21 car manufacturers, 130 dealerships and 2 consultants. In total, 91% of the market share at that time.
These are the brands involved and whose vehicles could fit the demand, if they were acquired between 2006 and 2013:
- Alfa Romeo
Some of these companies no longer operate in our country. Mazda is not included either, although it was investigated, it was finally acquitted.
It remains to be confirmed what happens to the Volkswagen Group vehicles, since they were acquitted of the millionaire sanction of the CNMC as they were the ones who uncovered the network before the courts. In the case of 0 km vehicles, it is not certain that they are included either.
It is important to note that each car brand has its own calendar and although the specific dates range from February 2006 to August 2013, the infringement period for some manufacturers ended a few months earlier.
How to claim and how compensation is calculated
If you are among those affected, it is possible to file a claim, either individually or collectively through platforms such as the OCU or the AACC. In its day, the OCU already formalized a class action lawsuit involving 160,000 consumers.
Among the documentation that will need to be provided is the purchase invoice or receipt of the bank transfer. The more information we have the easier it will be. It will also be necessary Datasheet of the car where the vehicle data is specified, in order to verify that it is among those affected.
As calculated by the Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo law firm, compensation may be about 2,500 euros on average. Here the amount depends on the expert report and the economic study of each car, although the organizations that are carrying out the class action lawsuits estimate that it is situated between 10 and 15% of the value of the car, plus legal interest.
If the car cost us 15,000 euros, we could correspond about 1,500 euros, which more interest could be above 2,200 euros. For more expensive vehicles, the amount can be up to 9,000 euros, according to Frank Rodríguez Trouwborst, general director of Technical Consultants, in Information.
From Warehouse in Law, Professor Jesús Alfaro, aim the “lack of explanation about the calculation that is carried out to reach the figures that are indicated in the aforementioned proposals “.
Justice has been giving the reason to consumers
The first move of the different manufacturers was to appeal the CNMC’s decision, but the Supreme Court has already confirmed multiple fines, arriving to punish about 80% of companies of the ‘Cartel of the cars’ or ‘Cartel of the dealers’. Except for Mazda, Kia and Toyota, all the appeals of the cartel companies have been dismissed.
Because of this, there are high chances that plaintiffs will achieve a favorable outcome. Yes it is important to note that the time frame is getting shorter, since a period of one year is established from the publication of the Supreme Court ruling for each of the brands. In the case of Nissan, it ends on January 15, 2022, while Renault is May 6 or May 13 for Ford.
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