ABOUT THE CLAIMS
With effect from 28 January 2021, the UK Financial Conduct Authority banned discretionary commission arrangements between dealers and finance companies, under which dealers received higher commissions by selling finance products with higher interest rates. The FCA ban helps consumers on a forward-looking basis but does not compensate consumers for any financial losses already suffered.
The claims are seeking to recover those losses, seeking compensation for consumers who entered into finance agreements with Black Horse, Santander and MotoNovo, the three largest finance companies for used cars in the UK, in the period from 1 October 2015 to 27 January 2021.
More information is available here.
We have brought separate claims against Black Horse, Santander and MotoNovo.
The Black Horse (Lloyds Banking Group) defendants are (1) Black Horse Limited, (2) Black Horse Group Limited, (3) Lloyds Bank Asset Finance Limited, (4) Lloyds Bank plc and (5) Lloyds Banking Group plc.
The Santander defendants are (1) Santander Consumer (UK) plc, (2) Santander UK plc, (3) Santander UK Group Holdings plc and (4) Banco Santander, S.A.
The MotoNovo defendants are MotoNovo Finance Limited, FirstRand Bank Limited (London Branch) and Aldermore Group PLC.
If you entered into one or more finance agreements with Black Horse (Lloyds Banking Group), Santander and/or MotoNovo to buy a used car or van between 1 October 2015 and 27 January 2021, you will be included in the claims.
The full class definition is available here.
If you have already received compensation in relation to discretionary commission through other means, you will not be able to participate in the claims, in respect of the same finance agreements and your losses will be carved out of the claims. If you have settled more general claims in relation to other aspect of your loan agreement unrelated to discretionary commission, you may be able to participate in the claim, depending on the breadth of the settlement agreement.
The claims will include all of the finance agreements you entered into with Black Horse, Santander or MotoNovo between 1 October 2015 and 27 January 2021.
The claims relate only to used cars. Our current understanding is that discretionary commission structures were prevalent across the used car market but were less common in the new car market.
We intend to keep this under review as more information becomes available in the claims.
The claims are only against Black Horse, Santander or MotoNovo and other entities within the same corporate groups. These finance companies were the three largest lenders for used cars by market share, during the relevant period. We understand that other lenders also used the discretionary commission model and may consider bringing further claims in due course. We recommend that you register on the website to stay updated.
If you entered into a ‘point-of-sale’ finance agreements with Black Horse, Santander or MotoNovo to buy a used car or van between 1 October 2015 and 27 January 2021, you will be included in the claim automatically even if the relevant agreement has now come to an end.
The claims will not include a finance agreement entered into before 1 October 2015, even if you continued to make payments under that finance agreement after that date.
This is an ‘opt-out’ claim which means that anyone who falls within the class definition and lives in the UK will automatically be included, unless they actively opt-out. The claim is for an ‘aggregate award of damages’ for all members of the class, so class members do not have to sign up to be part of the claim at the outset, and will still be entitled to their share of any damages or settlement sums received.
However, we would strongly encourage people who fall within the class register to be kept updated at key stages of the litigation or where there are damages or settlement sum available for class members.
All costs (including all risk of future costs) are met by the class representative. Doug Taylor has secured funding from Woodsford, a leading global ESG and litigation finance business.
The funding arrangements will be subject to close oversight by the Tribunal, to ensure that the class representative has the financial resources to fund the claims and to pay the defendants’ costs if ordered to do so. The Tribunal must also approve any payment to the funder, to ensure that it is in the best interests of the class members.
Doug has secured litigation funding from Woodsford. If the claims are unsuccessful, Woodsford has agreed to pay up to £20 million for the Defendants’ reasonable legal costs, and we anticipate obtaining ‘After-the-Event’ insurance to strengthen this position. Proposed Class Members do not face any personal risk in relation to these proceedings.
As these are ‘opt-out’ claims, if you are eligible you will automatically be included unless you actively opt out. There is therefore no need to sign up to join this claim via a claims management company or other third party.
Doug Taylor is applying to the Competition Appeal Tribunal for collective proceedings orders, which, if granted, will allow him to continue to bring the claims. If and when the applications are granted, we will then need to prove our case at trial, unless there is a financial settlement before then.
The precise value of the claim will be based on experts’ analysis of data which the finance companies will provide at a later stage of the claims. However, the UK Financial Conduct Authority estimated that on a typical motor finance agreement of £10,000 the discretionary commission model could have resulted in class members paying around £1,100 extra in interest over the four year term of the agreement. The amount class members will ultimately be entitled to may depend on the details of their loan agreement, for example, the amount borrowed and interest rate agreed.
Legal proceedings of this nature can take a long time, and it depends on certain decisions taken by the Tribunal. We are expecting a certification hearing during 2024. We will update you as the claim progresses, but at this stage, it is estimated it will take a few years for the claims to reach a conclusion.
It may be possible to resolve the claims sooner if a settlement can be agreed.
The claim is being brought in the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (also known as the ‘CAT’), which is a specialist tribunal based in London. It hears and decides cases involving competition issues and has expertise in law, economics, business and accountancy. It exercises close oversight to ensure any claim is being run in the best interest of the class and is charged with safeguarding the interests of class members. The CAT publishes its Rules and Guidance, together with information about what it does, on its website: www.catribunal.org.uk.
Collective actions are a form of court procedure introduced to the UK by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The regime enables a class representative to bring proceedings on behalf of a group of people affected by an infringement of competition law. They combine individual claims that raise the same, similar, or related issues of fact or law (known as ‘common issues’).
Before a collective action can proceed, the Competition Appeal Tribunal must make a collective proceedings order (‘CPO’) authorising the class representative and certifying the claims as eligible to be included in collective proceedings.
When the CPO has been made, the matter progresses to a trial of the common issues unless the case settles first. After success at trial or settlement, the damages are distributed amongst the class members using a distribution method approved by the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
Over the course of the proceedings, the Tribunal will have oversight of the claims and general case management, to ensure that the interests of class members are protected.
This is an ‘opt-out’ collective action, so anyone based in the UK who is within the class is automatically included in the proceedings unless they actively choose to opt-out.
These are ‘opt-out’ proceedings which means that anyone who lives in the UK and falls within the class definition will automatically be included in the proceedings unless they actively choose not to be.
If you do not wish to be included, there will be an opportunity to opt out of the action once the claims are certified.