A total of five instrument manufacturers – including Fender, Yamaha, Korg, Roland and Casio – are facing class action lawsuits. The move follows 2019 and 2020 rulings by UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that found they had engaged in price fixing.
The claims have been launched by legal firm Pogust Goodhead and consumer rights campaigner Elisabetta Sciallis in an effort to gain compensation for customers of the manufacturers.
It follows similar action from the team against Fender, which was launched in 2022. A 2020 ruling from the CMA found the guitar giant was also found to have engaged in price fixing and ordered to pay a fine of £4.5 million by the CMA.
As the UK CMA defines it, price fixing, or resale price maintenance (RPM), “is where a supplier requires a retailer not to sell below a certain price. The goal is to keep prices artificially high, so consumers are then robbed of a fair deal.”
When firms supplying products – in this case, musical instruments and related gear – dictate resale prices, customers cannot shop around effectively, or play retailers off against one another in an effort to get the best deal on products.
The CMA also ruled in 2020 that Roland, Korg and Yamaha had engaged in price fixing in the UK market, issuing fines of just over £4 million to Roland and £1.5 million to Korg.
Yamaha was granted immunity from fines (but not the class action) after cooperating with the investigation. Casio, meanwhile, was fined £3.7 million in 2019.
Now the aim of the class action lawsuits is to seek refunds on behalf of all consumers affected.
Pogust Goodhead is therefore encouraging any UK-based customers of Yamaha, Korg, Roland, Casio and Fender products for the dates below to register their interest.
Alongside products under their own names, many of the companies own other brands. During the dates affected, Yamaha’s brands included Line 6 and Ampeg, while Roland owns effects pedal giant Boss and Korg owns Vox and Takamine.
Any UK customer who purchased musical instruments or accessories from the following firms between the dates provided is automatically enrolled in the relevant class action claim.
The dates and manufacturers are:
- Fender: 2013-2019
- Yamaha: 2013-2018
- Roland: 2011-2019
- Korg: 2015-2019
- Casio: 2015-2019
Guitar World has approached all of the instrument manufacturers named in the class actions for comment. Yamaha declined to comment “as the case is ongoing”. The other firms have not responded at the time of writing.