Espar Inc. has been hit with a class action lawsuit from consumers who say they paid more for parking heaters than they should have because Espar was engaged in an illegal price-fixing conspiracy.
Parking heaters are devices that heat the interior compartment of a vehicle without turning on the engine, which saves money on fuel. The two primary types of heaters are air heaters and coolant heaters, which pre-heat the engine as well as the interior compartment.
Espar Parking Heaters
- Espar Truck Heater
- Espar Parking Heater
- Airtronic Air Heater
- Hydronic Coolant Heater
Espar Pleads Guilty to Price-Fixing Heaters
On March 12, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Espar would plead guilty to a felony charge of participating in a price-fixing conspiracy for parking heaters.
Prosecutors accused Espar of the following violations:
- Participating in communications to discuss prices for heaters
- Agreeing to set a price floor for parking heater kits
- Coordinating the timing and amount of price increases
- Exchanging information for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing the agreement
- Selling parking heaters at non-competitive prices
These actions violated the Sherman Act of 1890, which is an antitrust law designed to prevent monopolies that threaten competition in the marketplace.
Class Action Filed in New York
The first Class Action Lawsuit (PDF) was filed just days after Espar Inc. pleaded guilty to criminal charges with the Justice Department. The lawsuit was filed on March 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Plaintiffs include Audrius Labaciauskas, a resident of Illinois, and Raccoon Valley Transport Inc., a corporation based in Iowa. Both plaintiffs purchased heaters from Espar or a co-competitor between October 1, 2007 and December 31, 2012.
The lawsuit accuses Espar and its co-conspirators of participating in a conspiracy to eliminate competition from the sale of parking heaters for commercial vehicles. Plaintiffs claim they were “damaged and paid more for the parking heater than he would have in the absence of the price-fixing conspiracy.”
Espar Heater Class Action Lawsuit
The Clark Firm, LLP is nationally recognized as a class action law firm in Texas. Espar has already been hit with a class action lawsuit in New York. If you bought a heater after October 1, 2007, you may have been a victim of consumer fraud.