Which? has issued proceedings against JJB Sports to sue the high street retailer for damages on behalf of consumers.
Which? is taking the company to court to claim back money for people who were unlawfully overcharged for football shirts in 2000 and 2001 by a cartel made up of JJB Sports and six other companies.
The companies were fined a total of over £16m in 2003 by the Office of Fair Trading for fixing the price of England and Manchester United football shirts in 2000 and 2001.
Using its new legal powers under the Enterprise Act 2002, Which? is the only organisation in the UK so far given powers to launch a consumer representative action of this kind.
Lawyers acting for Which? have issued proceedings in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) against JJB Sports. Malcolm Coles, Online Editor, Which?, says:
‘JJB Sports and their fellow cartel members tried to ensure the market was all sewn up, so it would have been difficult to find these shirts for sale at a fair price.
‘Although JJB has already paid a fine, the money went to the government. We’re suing now to try to get money back for the people who paid more than they should have.
‘This case is as much about justice and fairness as anything else. We want to teach companies that rip off their customers a lesson – Which? has new legal powers and we will come after you.’
England and Manchester Utd
Which? wants people who bought certain shirts during 2000 and 2001 to come forward and register a claim on our football shirts website – even if they no longer have a receipt.
The football shirts potentially relevant are:
- England shirts bought between April 2000 and August 2001
- Manchester United ‘home’ shirt bought at the start of the 2000/1 season (i.e. from when the shirt was launched on 1 August 2000 until August 2001)
- Manchester United Centenary home shirt bought at the start of the 2001/2 season (i.e. from when the centenary shirt was launched on 20 July to end August 2001
- Manchester United blue ‘away’ shirt, bought between September 2000 (when it was released) until the end of the season 2000/1.