- High Court requests Schedule of Claimant Information forms in relation to Mercedes-Benz group claim
- Around 330,000 motorists are seeking compensation over claims firm cheated emissions tests
- Experts says German outfit could be forced to pay out £1bn if found guilty
- Mercedes denies any wrongdoing and continues to fight the action
A £1bn group claim against Mercedes-Benz has taken a major step forward after the High Court requested that significant legal paperwork be submitted.
Around 330,000 motorists could be entitled to compensation in the landmark case, which alleges the German outfit illegally fitted ‘defeat devices’ to diesel vehicles in order to swerve emissions tests.
The company made its first appearance in the High Court in relation to the case back in February and things are now beginning to speed up.
The court has requested that claimants submit Schedule of Claimant Information forms (SOCI) via their lawyers.
The documents will give claimant information and demands to the court in order for the case to progress.
It follows a similar case last May, when Volkswagen agreed to pay £193m to more than 90,000 UK vehicle owners after it settled a group claim for damages in the wake of the emissions-testing revelations that began in 2015.
Meanwhile, in 2020 Mercedes-Benz itself agreed to pay 250,000 American consumers an average of $3,290 each after a similar group claim was launched. The firm was also fined $1.4bn by the US Government.
The UK claim has been valued at around £1bn by some experts but Mercedes has vowed to fight the claims.
Among those joining the claim is 49-year-old Stuart Whibley from Gillingham in Kent.
The disabled motorist, represented by law firm Milberg London, purchased a Mercedes Benz C220d AMG for £25,000 in 2019.
He said: ‘The salesperson at the time of my purchase was very specific about what he called “emissions that are next to nothing”.
‘He explained that new technology and factory data published by Mercedes Benz meant that my car was amongst the most efficient available.
‘When months later I saw that my make and model appeared on the list of cars that were affected by emissions cheating I was shocked and I still am.
‘I feel that I was lied to and that I was persuaded to buy the car under false pretences. I’m very angry.’
Also joining the group action is 49-year-old Ester Deocampo. The healthcare professional from Diss in Norfolk, bought her Mercedes C250d Sport in 2016 and says she was ‘manipulated’.
‘I loved my Mercedes but couldn’t feel right about it once the emissions cheating revelations made the news,’ she said.
‘I felt different about it and drove it differently and then had a huge accident from which I was lucky to walk away. I am just so disappointed in the car and in Mercedes Benz because I assumed that they could be trusted.’
Milberg London is representing around 72,000 of the 330,000 claimants to have joined the group action.
The firm says that the latest development in the case ‘cannot be overstated’ and is likely to be ‘the last substantive thing asked of clients before the case is resolved.’
A spokesman for the law firm said: ‘This is an important development and we are in the process of making contact with all 72,000 Milberg claimants with details as to how they can complete the digital survey.
‘It’s an easy, ten minute process and should be the last substantive thing we ask of clients before the case is resolved.
‘This is a claim worth over £1bn if the defendants are ordered to compensate consumers in full. The importance of the SOCI submission by all claimants cannot be understated and we urge all clients to respond promptly.’
In response, Mercedes-Benz issued a statement saying: ‘We believe that the claims are without merit and will vigorously defend ourselves against them or any group action with the necessary legal means.’