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BA/Virgin price-fixing case - record UK customer refunds announced

Following last week’s commencement of criminal proceedings brought against British Airways executives involved in the fuel surcharge price-fixing cartel with Virgin Atlantic, leading claimant law firm Hausfeld & Co LLP has released up-to-date numbers of the claims made from the UK following it’s groundbreaking settlement on behalf of passengers who suffered losses as a result of the cartel.

In February 2008 Hausfeld & Co negotiated a £73.5m settlement with both airlines, providing compensation to UK and US consumers who were overcharged for long-haul airline tickets purchased between August 2004 and March 2006. Over 211,000 refunds have so far been processed, 170,000 of which originate from UK passengers. Payment has been authorised in 133,000 of these cases. These figures represent the actual number of claimants so far, from both individuals and businesses, many of whom may have claimed for multiple journeys.

Hausfeld & Co partner Anthony Maton comments:

“These figures represent the biggest ever take-up rate by UK consumers in a group action of this kind, and creates a precedent for the effective enforcement of consumer rights going forward. The fact that this historic settlement was actually achieved in the US courts demonstrates the urgent need for consumer-friendly reform of the UK’s group litigation framework.

“Whilst it is particularly pleasing to see so many cash-strapped UK travelers claiming back what is rightfully theirs in time for the start of the holiday season, these figures only represent the tip of the iceberg. We estimate that both airlines overcharged with respect to 5.6m journeys involving UK customers during the two-year cartel period.

“Passengers have until December 2012 to claim their refunds, and unless significant numbers of claims are made between now and then big companies like BA and Virgin will continue to believe that they can get away with ripping of their loyal customers.”

Claimants have until 31 December 2012 to claim refunds by filling out a simple claim form on www.airpassengerrefund.co.uk.

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact:

Beth Farrer/ Rohit Grover/Claire Wordley
Spada
Tel: 020 7269 1430
bethfarrer@spada.co.uk / clairewordley@spada.co.uk / rohit.grover@spada.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS

Background to the settlement

In February 2008 law firm Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll (now Hausfeld & Co in the UK) and its co-counsel in the United States, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, announced a groundbreaking $200m Settlement on behalf of businesses and individuals, representing between them almost 8 million US and UK passengers who purchased airline tickets from BA and Virgin between 11 August 2004 and 23 March 2006. The Settlement related to litigation brought in the US courts on behalf of passengers who were overcharged for tickets as a result of the airlines’ illegal agreement to fix the prices of fuel surcharges at an artificially high level.

Passengers have until 31 December 2012 to claim refunds, and periodic reminder notices will be sent to class members for whom contact information is available but who have not yet submitted a claim prior to this date.

BA and Virgin will also send reminder notices to eligible passengers in their frequent flyer statements.

About Hausfeld & Co LLP

Hausfeld & Co LLP, led by industry doyen Michael Hausfeld, is widely recognised as one of the leading and best-known claimant law firms in the world. It is at the forefront of numerous innovative legal actions that are expanding the quality and availability of legal recourse for aggrieved individuals and businesses around the world.

The partners of Hausfeld LLP have obtained numerous landmark judgments and settlements for individuals and businesses, and have been champions for the private enforcement of competition and antitrust laws globally for almost four decades.

 

Related Case

» Air Passenger

 

Practice Areas: Antitrust / Competition