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The CAT (Competition Appeal Tribunal) has certified Which?’s claim against Qualcomm on behalf of c. 29m UK consumers (claiming more than c. £500m), funded by Augusta Ventures, the largest litigation and dispute funding institution in the UK by volume of cases.

 

The Tribunal certified Which?’s claim against Qualcomm on the 17th of May 2022, dismissing all of Qualcomm’s arguments against certification, including that Which? must purchase an AAE for its insurance policies.

 

The Tribunal found that:

  • Qualcomm’s argument that Which?’s methodology for calculating pass on to consumers was insufficiently grounded in facts was “plainly wrong”.
  • Which?’s expert’s model for assessing pass on, utilising a hedonic regression, is capable of demonstrating causation, as opposed to merely correlation as Qualcomm had alleged.
  • The benefits of Which? bringing the claim outweigh the costs of the litigation. Whilst the Tribunal said this may not be the case in every claim, the facts of Which?’s claim do not “come close” to representing such a case. This is particularly so given: (i) the current economic climate and cost of living pressures; (ii) that class members’ claims are increasing over time and the class is growing; (iii) that smartphones are significant and infrequent purchases for consumers, who’re likely to keep receipts or other documentation; (iv) that Which? is well-placed to ensure any availability of damages to consumers is well-publicised; and (v) that Which?’s funding arrangements are broadly in line with comparable claims (and indeed Qualcomm didn’t suggest otherwise).
  • Which? is not obliged to purchase an anti-avoidance endorsement for its insurance policies, as Qualcomm had insisted was required. The Tribunal said it regarded the risk that Which?, as a long-established and reputable charity, would act unreasonable, as “very minimal indeed” and went on to reject Qualcomm’s further arguments as to the adequacy of Which?’s adverse costs cover.

 

Anabel Hoult, Which? Chief Executive, said:

 

“We’re delighted to have secured this great result for consumers, bringing them a step closer to the nearly £500 million that we believe they are owed by Qualcomm.”

 

She continued:

 

“If Qualcomm has abused its market power it must be held to account. This judgment ensures that it can be. Which? brought this claim on behalf of millions of affected UK consumers, as it would not have been realistic for people to seek damages from the company on an individual basis. That’s why it’s so important that consumers can come together and claim the redress they are entitled to.”

“We now urge everyone who thinks they may be affected to visit www.smartphoneclaim.co.uk to find out more about the claim and sign up for campaign updates.”

 

Lucy Rigby, Partner at Hausfeld, also commented:

 

“The Tribunal has dismissed all of Qualcomm’s arguments against certification and it is very good news for the consumers Which? represents that this claim will now proceed to trial. The acknowledgement in this ruling of the clear benefits of Which?’s claim being brought is welcome and this point, alongside others, is likely to be of wider application in terms of the development of the opt-out collective regime.”

 

About Augusta Ventures

– Augusta is the largest litigation and dispute funding institution in the UK by # cases. Augusta’s scale enables us to make decisions in market-leading timeframes and fund cases of any size.

– Augusta is organised into a series of specialist practice groups: Arbitration, Class/Group Action, Competition, and Consumer Litigation, and sectors including Financial Services and Construction & Energy.

– At the beginning of 2021, with over £300m of capital, Augusta had funded over 240 claims with a market leading ratio of over 70%

– Augusta has offices in the UK, Australia and Canada.

 

About Which?

Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone.

 

About Hausfeld

Hausfeld & Co LLP, a leading international law firm with offices in Europe and the US, specialises in claimant litigation and collective redress. The firm filed the first standalone opt-out collective actions on behalf of rail passengers in 2019 and is leading an opt-out action against six banks over their participation in unlawful price-fixing of the foreign exchange currency markets. Hausfeld leads on Trucks cartel claims in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. It has acted on some of the most complex damages claims of the last decade: on the ‘Interchange Fee’ litigation against Visa and Mastercard and the Air Cargo litigation against British Airways and 13 other airlines. It is also presently instructed in ‘Google Shopping’ claims on behalf of price comparison websites against Google and in claims against Marriott International, YouTube and Facebook in data breach and privacy litigation.

For further information contact: Simon Latham, Augusta Ventures

0203 985 3379/ [email protected]

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