Sigurdur Hreinsson, a trucker from Húsavík in northeast Iceland, won a case against oil company Ker, former owner of Esso (now N1), on Wednesday when the Supreme Court of Iceland ruled that the company’s price fixing had caused him financial damages.
Hreinsson demanded compensation from Ker for financial damages, which he said he had suffered while purchasing gas from Esso between August 10, 1995 and December 18, 2008. He demanded ISK 180,000 (USD 2,400, EUR 1,500) but was only granted ISK 15,000 (USD 201, EUR 129) in compensation, Morgunbladid reports.
Advocate to the Supreme Court Steinar Thór Gudgeirsson, who represented Hreinsson, said that in light of Wednesday’s ruling it can be expected that many other individuals will demand compensation from Ker.
Jóhannes Gunnarsson, chairman of the Consumers’ Association of Iceland, said he hoped many consumers would follow Hreinsson’s example. “This is a great victory and a turning point in legal history. This may be the first case in Europe where a consumer is paid compensation because of competition violations.”
Icelandic oil companies Ker, Shell and Olís have all pleaded guilty to violating competition laws from 1993 to 2001 by agreeing on a joint pricing of oil products.
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