Millions of musicians and DJs could be entitled to compensation as Yahama, Korg, Fender, and Roland face legal action after they were found to be overcharging customers for thousands of musical instruments and equipment.
My Instrument Claim follows the recent launch of proceedings against Fender concerning similar allegations of price fixing on their products.
Price fixing scandals
Price fixing occurs when a supplier dictates how much a seller can charge for goods, removing a customer’s right to shop around for the best deal.
It’s estimated that musicians could have paid anywhere up to 20% more for items such as electronic keyboards, electronic drum kits, guitars, synthesisers, and pianos in an industry-wide problem between 2011 and 2019.
CMA investigation and legal action
We have now launched separate legal cases to provide affected customers with a path to claim back the money they were wrongfully charged.
Consumer rights campaigner Elisabetta Sciallis seeks to act as the representative of the group of consumers estimated to be in the millions who could be compensated if the legal claims are successful.
Elisabetta, who launched the first legal action against Fender in March 2022, said: “With the current cost of living crisis, consumer rights are even more important. But what angers me, and I hope to change, is the methods in which people can access their rights. They are either hard to reach or unavailable and it is only through cases like this that we can highlight the right pathways for consumers who have been put at a disadvantage due to the actions of large companies.
“These music brands have acted improperly and in doing so have cost music lovers hundreds of pounds – which collectively makes them large sums of money. It is right that these cases proceed to ensure those affected are compensated.”
The action comes after the Competition Marketing Authority (CMA) found each company had directed sellers to price items at a minimum cost or block discounts and reductions on price.
Yamaha is the world’s largest musical instrument manufacturing company used by stars such as Bob Dylan, Elton John, Alicia Keys and Bob Marley.
The market leader admitted to entering into an unlawful agreement with one of their leading UK sellers between March 2013 and March 2017. However, the CMA granted Yamaha immunity from any fines due to their role in bringing the case to the regulator’s attention.
Korg, who made the synthesiser used in the 1999 Number 1 hit Flat Eric, was fined over £1.5million in June 2020 for overcharging customers for items such as DJ loop sequences, synthesisers, and other high-tech musical products between June 2015 and April 2018 for selling.
Roland price fixing
Roland’s big-name customers include Biffy Clyro, Alt-J and Blur, all of whom regularly gig with their instruments and equipment.
Roland was fined in June 2020 for setting minimum prices for 40 different products to customers between January 2011 and April 2019.
After admitting they had entered into an illegal agreement with one of their UK outlets, further investigations by the CMA found all the alleged companies had made the same arrangement with all their UK suppliers.
Pogust Goodhead’s Partner and lead lawyer on the claim, Jeremy Evans, said: “It’s quite clear these are not one-off acts that affect just a few musicians. The evidence would suggest this is an industry wide problem that has affected millions of budding musicians, schools trying to stock their music rooms and artists from the whole breadth of the industry.
“Following the conclusion by the CMA, customers who have been affected over this period are owed financial redress. We urge everyone who has purchased a product from Yamaha, Roland and Korg during these time frames to register their interest in the claim on our website.”
Claims can be made on behalf of anyone who may have now passed away, as well as customers who purchased a product from outside of the UK.
My Instrument Claim in the media
The mainstream media and music specific publications have recognised the importance of the case. There have been reports in a number of major publications including:
- Music Radar
- Guitar World
- This is Money
- Guitar World
- Ultimate Guitar
- The Amed Post
- Law 360
- The Times
- Global Competition Review
If you would like to find out more or think you might be involved in the claim, you can register your interest on the My Instrument Claim website.