Last year, Dot Gibson of the NPC launched the UK’s first class action against Pride Mobility Products Limited seeking compensation for around 30,000 owners of mobility scooters who she alleged were overcharged for their Pride brand scooter between 2010 and 2012. Unfortunately, she recently had to withdraw the claim after a decision of the Competition Appeal Tribunal that meant the claim would not be worth enough money to proceed.
The claim followed on from a 2014 decision of the Office of Fair Trading that Pride had breached competition law by banning retailers from advertising online prices below Pride’s recommended retail price. Ms Gibson claimed that this made it harder for potentially vulnerable consumers to shop around for the best price and led to them paying too much for their scooter.
With one exception, the Tribunal found in favour of Ms Gibson’s application for permission to proceed with the class action. The Tribunal found that the law prevented consumers from claiming as big an overcharge as Ms Gibson believes they suffered through the infringements of competition law. The Tribunal said the law ‘may seem harsh in this particular case’ but that she would need to reframe how she calculated damages in order to proceed. Aside from that problem, however, the Tribunal found that the claim would be appropriate to proceed as a class action and that Ms Gibson would act fairly and adequately in the interests of the proposed class.
Unfortunately, after reframing the way damages were calculated, Ms Gibson decided the case was not worth enough money to proceed given the costs. Ms Gibson did not agree with the Tribunal’s reasons for saying how her expert economist had calculated damages was wrong, however there is no right of appeal and she decided not to bring judicial review proceedings. She decided she had no option but to withdraw the claim.