As the EU launches a price fixing investigation into a number of major tyre manufacturers, hauliers are being advised to keep records of tyres purchases in lieu of any possible claims.

The warning from Jonathon Backhouse, director of law firm Backhouse Jones, follows raids carried out earlier this month by EU anti-trust regulators at the offices of major tyre manufacturer Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear, Pirelli and Nokian Tyres. All six companies have confirmed their offices have been raided.

In a statement on the investigation, the European Commission said it has ”concerns that the inspected companies may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 10 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).”

The investigation is focusing on new replacement tyres for passenger cars, vans, trucks and buses sold in the EU.

The Commission added that it is ”concerned that price coordination took place amongst the inspected companies, including via public communications”.

The inspections do not mean the companies are considered guilty of anti-competitive behaviour.

If the firms inspected are later found guilty of anti-trust violations, they risk large fines but can be granted immunity if they cooperate with the commission.

There is no legal deadline by which the commission must complete its investigation.

Backhouse Jones is already working with the RHA  to help operators, who purchased trucks from 1997 onwards, bring claims against five truck manufacturers found guilty of operating a price fixing cartel.

Jonathon Backhouse said: ”We are still dealing with a truck cartel when we discover another huge investigation in Europe into tyre manufacturers.

”Companies that operate in challenging conditions, such as waste, construction, quarrying and forestry, get through huge volumes of tyres, so any claim could be very large indeed.

”I certainly recommend hauliers keep records of all tyres purchased, as having those records makes any claim in the future that much easier.”