Filter manufacturers accused of price fixing

| 7/23/2008

An antitrust lawsuit filed in March claims that 12 filter manufacturers were involved in a “massive conspiracy” to, among other things, fix prices.

Quick Lube filed the lawsuit on March 31 in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for Connecticut.

The lawsuit alleges “a massive conspiracy among the largest manufacturers of oil, air, fuel and transmission filters in the aftermarket … to fix, raise, maintain or stabilize prices, rig bids and allocate customers for filters in the United States.”

The lawsuit names Champion Laboratories, Purolator Filters, Honeywell International, Wix Filtration Products, Cummins Filtration, the Donaldson Company, Baldwin Filters, Bosch, MANN + Hummel, Arvin Meritor, United Components and The Carlyle Group.

According to the suit, a confidential informant who was a senior sales executive employed by two of the defendants, contends the defendants conspired and agreed to coordinate prices, rig bids and allocate customers from at least Jan. 1, 1999, to the present.

“Through meetings at industry events and elsewhere and the exchange of confidential pricing materials, defendants unlawfully agreed to the magnitude and timing of price increases,” the lawsuit states.

Because of the alleged price fixing, the lawsuit claims that customers were forced to pay inflated “prices for filters and as a result have suffered antitrust injury to their business or property.”

A petition by Quick Lube for class-action status has not yet been ruled on by the court.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor