By on November 13, 2017

cars dealer dealership, Image: HappyAlex/Bigstock

Roughly 8,000 U.S. dealers will share in a $335 million payday resulting from a colossal 2010 antitrust investigation. The issue? Suppliers were involved in a widespread price-fixing scheme that lasted decades, and nobody noticed until the FBI raided the offices of Yazaki North America Inc., Denso International America Inc. and Tokai Rika Group North America.

In the end, 65 individuals and 47 companies were charged by the Justice Department — resulting in over $2.9 billion in fines and jail time for a swath of fresh white-collar criminals.

However, none of that money made it to manufacturers, dealers, parts retailers, or consumers. Those players had to resort to filing civil suits in federal court against the companies. In 2012, the multitude of claims were consolidated and transferred to Judge Marianne Battani and the U.S. District Court in Detroit. Over $1 billion has been set aside for affected parties, with around $335 million of the sum going to dealerships. 

Not all states are eligible, however. According to Automotive News, laws in 21 states prohibit indirect victims of price-fixing from recovering damages — leaving dealerships in Texas, Ohio, Washington, and many other corners of America to fend for themselves.

Figuring out who is owed what in the eligible states involves a level of tedium that is without equal. In addition to assessing which parts were affected and used by various manufacturers over several decades, volume also has to be taken into account. For dealerships, reimbursement is dependent upon vehicles sold over a fairly lengthy period, weighted by the model and the make.

Jonathan Cuneo, co-lead counsel on the legal team representing dealerships, said stores “with an active business throughout the class-[action] periods will receive thousands of dollars, with the largest dealer groups receiving more than six-figure payouts when all the cases are concluded.”

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