THE SUN, MILLIONS of Brits have been ripped off by a shipping company scam which inflated the price of new cars.

Drivers who bought or leased a new motor between October 2006 and September 2015 could receive a payout, after five shipping companies fixed their charges for bringing models into the UK.

The firms – MOL, K Line, NYK, WWL/EUKOR and CSAV – are accused of jacking up their prices to bring vehicles into the country.

These inflated prices were then passed onto an estimated 17million drivers when they bought a new car from a dealership.

A group legal action has been filed to the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal under the Consumer Rights Act in a bid to win back some money for consumers.

Shockingly, 80 per cent of drivers who purchased a car during this period may have been overcharged due to the £150million price-fixing scheme.

Customers who bought models from Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, Peugeot, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, Citroen and Renault are likely to have been overcharged.

Affected drivers have been automatically entered into the claim and could receive up to £60 compensation.

It comes after a ruling by the European Commission in 2018 that all five firms were involved in a cartel, with four being fined £337million.

Similar investigations have taken place in Australia, China and South Africa, with the companies penalised £586million.

Mark McLaren, who is spearheading the campaign, said: “When UK consumers and businesses purchased or leased a new car, they paid more for the delivery of that car than they should have done, as a result of a long-running cartel by five of the world’s leading maritime shipping companies.

“I strongly believe that compensation should be paid when consumers are harmed by such deliberate, unlawful conduct.”

David Scott, of Scott+Scott, said: “Consumers and businesses who bought or leased a new Ford, Volkswagen, Peugeot, BMW, Mercedes or Toyota, for example, are owed money.

“Just because these international shipping companies aren’t household names shouldn’t mean that they are able to get away with it.”

Owners can register their interest and find out more information here.