Deadline for Air Cargo cartel victims to sign up for compensation
30 September 2013
Australian businesses that paid more than AUD$20,000 for airfreight between 2000 and 2007 must register by 15 November 2013 to participate in any settlement of what is shaping up to be Australia's largest cartel class action.
Federal Court orders made on Friday 27th September oblige Maurice Blackburn, which is acting for cartel victims, to notify eligible Australian businesses of their legal rights in the lead up to mediation on 25-26 November 2013.
If settlement does not take place at or after the mediation, the 12 international airlines at the centre of allegations will stand Trial in the Federal Court in October next year.
The major international airlines in the case including Qantas, Lufthansa Cargo, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand and British Airways face detailed and widespread allegations of cartel conduct in contravention of the Trade Practices Act.
The cartel is alleged to have caused the prices of international airfreight services to be higher than they would otherwise have been. The class action is seeking damages and other relief on behalf of purchasers of international airfreight services for losses suffered as a result of alleged cartel conduct by the airlines during the period 1 January 2000 to 11 January 2007.
Brooke Dellavedova, Principal at Maurice Blackburn, said that it is alleged the airlines colluded to impose fuel and security surcharges on air freight to and from Australia and that this has left many businesses out of pocket.
"The notice Maurice Blackburn is giving is part of a court-ordered process to assist the parties to attempt to resolve these proceedings by settlement. Group Members wishing to participate in any potential settlement must register their claims by 15 November 2013. If they don't register, they may lose any rights to compensation for losses pursued in this case."
We have a legal team ready to assist businesses who have questions and need assistance with registering," said Ms Dellavedova.
"So far around 300 businesses have registered. They range from large multi-nationals to small family businesses, and are from industries including seafood, fresh produce, electronics and manufacturing. There are likely to be many more that paid too much for air freight during the period in question. Now is the time for those businesses to take action.
Maurice Blackburn is conducting the case on a 'no win no charge' basis with funding from IMF (Australia) Ltd.