A pensioners’ group is suing a mobility scooter company for alleged price-fixing in what is believed to be the UK’s first ‘class action’ law suit.
Lawyers believe the case could be worth nearly £8m and represents a watershed moment for consumers.
The National Pensioners Convention ( NPC ), a campaign group for pensioners which has 1.5 million members, brought the action after the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), ruled that the UK’s leading mobility scooter retailer Pride breached competition law by banning online retailers from selling mobility scooters below the RRP.
It found evidence Pride referred to online retailers who priced below the RRP as ‘internet rogues’ and said the company broke the act ‘by participating in agreements and/or concerted practices which had as their object the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition’.
Solicitors Leigh Day claim up to 34,000 consumers, mainly pensioners and disabled people, who bought seven models in Pride’s ‘Colt’ range of mobility scooters and the Elite Traveller LX (part of the Go-Go range) between 2010 and 2013 could be entitled to up to £200 compensation. The total value of the claims might be as high as £7.7m.
Leigh Day stipulate: ‘The claims raise the common issue of whether class members were overcharged for their mobility scooter as a result of Pride’s infringements of competition law, and by how much.’
In October 2015, the new Consumer Rights Act allowed consumers to claim compensation for breaches of competition law for the first time. The new rules were brought in because it was considered too difficult for consumers to claim under the previous system.