A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of car owners against automotive suppliers alleging that they engaged in conspiracy and price-fixing to artificially inflate the prices of wire harness systems. As reported by Detroit News, these harnesses are used in every automobile as a wiring system that connects everything electrical in the car. Because most models require at least four of these harnesses, they represent a multi-billion dollar industry. The alleged inflated prices of these auto parts has led to both a decrease in profits for auto manufacturers as well as an increase in automobile prices for consumers.
The alleged inflated prices of these auto parts has led to both a decrease in profits for auto manufacturers as well as an increase in automobile prices for consumers.
Companies targeted in the lawsuit include Troy-based Delphi Automotive LLP, Southfield-based Lear Corp., Furukawa Electric Co., Leoni AG, Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd., S-Y Systems Technologies GmbH and Yazaki Corp and its subsidiary in the United States. Some stayed quiet while others were more vehement in their defense, as Lear commented that “The company believes that the claims against it alleging anti-competitive behavior are completely without merit, and will vigorously defend itself in any litigation related to such claims.”
These companies have reportedly been under investigation by the European Union and the U.S. Justice Department since early 2010. Multiple raids of offices have been conducted in Europe and the United States. Most recently, the Justice Department charged the Japanese company Furukawa Electric Co. of conspiracy to restrain trade in violation of the Sherman Act and they were forced to pay a $200 million fine. In addition, three of Furukawa’s executives plead guilty to the same charge and will serve up to 18 months of time in U.S. prisons.
Manufacturers and ultimately consumers are hurt by efforts by suppliers to sell parts “at a noncompetitive, rigged price.” In addition to practices like price-fixing and conspiracy, companies also Do not hesitate to contact a consumer fraud attorney to see if you eligible to receive compensation for your losses. If you believe that you have been taken advantage of by a company, make sure you have the right resources on your side to protect your rights as a consumer.