First UK class action over mobility scooters faces setback

31 March 2017 1:19pm

31 March 2017. By Simon Zekaria.

Claimants in the UK's first-ever antitrust class action must go back to the drawing board to strengthen their case against a US mobility-scooter maker, a specialist competition tribunal ruled today.

Judge Peter Roth at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London told the claimants to recast their argument and provide more economic data to back the claim.

Pensioners' rights activist Dorothy Gibson, who is hoping to head the collective claim against Pride Mobility Scooters, has to narrow her claim to the actual damage suffered by the group of claimants for the case to proceed.

The claim rests on a 2014 ruling by the UK's antitrust authority that Pride, which manufactures power scooters for the elderly, involved eight retailers in an illegal pricing policy. The claimants maintain this conduct affected the whole mobility-scooter market and not just those eight retailers.

The evidence provided by the pensioners' economic analyst couldn't justify the case proceeding at this stage, Roth said today. He said the claimants must provide more evidence that a change in prices affected the wider scooter market.

Roth put the case on hold while waiting for "further expert evidence" to back it up. He also said the amended claim would have to include a revised cost budget for the case.

The case is being closely watched because of the precedent it could set. The tribunal is also looking at a class action against MasterCard worth 14 billion pounds ($17 billion).

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