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Friday, 28 March 2014

Cherished numbers and auctions

Harrison v Madejski & Anor [2014] EWCA Civ 361 (28 March 2014)  is a case involving the sale in an auction of a car which had a cherished registration number - in suit, a Jaguar XJ220 with the number JM2. It was displayed at the auction without number plates and with only an out-of-date tax disc to give a clue about the registration number: the court decided in the end that Coys, the auctioneers, had done enough to ensure that bidders were aware that the car was offered without the registration number although they could have done more. The bidder should also have made enquiries.

The buyer had therefore unjustly enriched himself when he transferred the registration of the vehicle (under the cherished number) to himself. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal against that finding. It also allowed Coys' appeal against the costs order (which had awarded it only 50 per cent of what it would normally have had, recognising that it could have done more) but only to the extent of increasing it to 75 per cent.

Cressman v Coys of Kensington (Sales) Ltd [2004] 1 WLR 2775, [2004] EWCA Civ 47 referred to.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

OFT issues decision in mobility scooters sector

According to its press release, the OFT has today found that Pride Mobility Products Limited and some of its retailers have infringed competition law regarding the sale of mobility scooters. The release goes on:
The OFT found that over various periods relating to different retailers between 2010 and 2012, Bicester-based Pride entered into arrangements with eight of its UK-wide online retailers which prevented them from advertising online prices below Pride's Recommended Retail Price (RRP) for certain models of mobility scooter contrary to Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998. The OFT found that these practices limited consumers' ability to compare prices and get value for money.
Further details on this investigation and the OFT's earlier market study into mobility aids can be found on the project case page. The text of the decision will be published in due course following the redaction of commercially sensitive information.

A straightforward case of price-fixing? No, it seems not - prices were not fixed, just the ability to advertise discounted prices was. Section 39(3) of the Competition Act 1998 provides that a party to a 'small agreement' (and which is not a price fixing agreement) is immune from financial penalties for an infringement of the Chapter I prohibition. A 'small agreement' is an agreement between undertakings whose combined turnover did not exceed £20 million in the business year ending in the calendar year preceding the one during which the infringement occurred. The OFT reviewed the turnover of Pride and each of the eight retailers involved in the infringement and found that they all benefit from this immunity from penalties.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Unlawful to require conversion to LHD

Commission v Lithuania (Judgment of the Court) [2014] EUECJ C-61/12 (20 March 2014) and Commission v Poland (Judgment of the Court) [2014] EUECJ C-639/11 (20 March 2014) both establish that it is unlawful under EU rules to require right-hand-drive cars to be converted before they can be registered in the two Member States concerned, which follow the Napoleonic rule of the road.

The relevant legislation is Article 2a of Council Directive 70/311/EEC of 8 June 1970 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the steering equipment for motor vehicles and their trailers (OJ 1970 L 133, p. 10), Article 4(3) of Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 September 2007 establishing a framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles (Framework Directive) (OJ 2007 L 263, p. 1), and Article 34 TFEU.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Commission’s Top Scientific Body Concludes Honeywell’s Refrigerant Is Safe

Honeywell (of course) announced on 7 March that the European Commission’s Top Scientific Body Concludes That Honeywell’s Low-Global-Warming Refrigerant Is Safe For Use In Automobiles. Only two days earlier, Bloomberg reported that the same Commission (different DG of course) was about to deliver a statement of objections to Honeywell and DuPont following a three-year investigation into the agreements between the two companies relating to the development of the new refrigerant, HFO-1234yf, which Daimler famously declined to put in its cars - leading to all sorts of problems, about which I wrote last year (and am still writing about, from time to time, this year).

There seems to be no official confirmation of the statement of objections, yet. So I guess I can come back to this story again!

'via Blog this'