Consumer organisation 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 and six other companies that included Allsports Ltd, Blacks Leisure Group plc, Sports Soccer Ltd, JD Sports, Umbro Holdings Ltd and Manchester United plc.
The shirts in question are England shirts bought between May 2000 and June 2000, Manchester Utd home shirts bought between August 1 and October 1, 2000 (including any pre-orders that consumers may have made in July 2000) and Manchester Utd Centenary home shirts bought at the start of the 2001/02 season (including any pre-orders that consumers may have made in July 2000).
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 against JJB Sports.
Says Malcolm Coles, Online Editor at Which?: “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 the money back for the people who paid more than they should have – and whose money only went to line this greedy cartel’s pockets.
“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.”