Today, the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) has certified opt-out collective proceedings against BT for alleged excessive pricing in abuse of its dominant position in standalone landline telephone services. The class representative, Mr Justin Le Patourel, will now represent over 2 million consumers in their claims that have an estimated value of up to £600m.
The unanimous judgment from the CAT (available here) held that “the opt-out basis is clearly more appropriate and suitable than the opt-in basis” and rejected all of BT’s arguments to the contrary. The CAT also dismissed all of BT’s submissions that the claims should be struck. It held that “there is a real prospect of success for this claim and [BT’s] cross-application must be dismissed… [The claims] must be determined at a full trial after all the relevant evidence is adduced and considered”.
The decision is the first successful defence of an application for strike-out / summary judgment in a CPO claim. It is only the second collective proceedings order granted by the CAT.
Please click here to read the case note.
The case is being reported in the media: