Copart files antitrust lawsuit
Copart, Inc., an online vehicle remarketing company,
filed an antitrust lawsuit alleging that Auto Auction
Services Corporation (AASC) is restraining competition
and stifling innovation by denying Copart access to an
essential electronic network called AutoIMS.
AutoIMS is an electronic vehicle inventory management
system owned and operated by AASC, which in turn is owned
and controlled by a consortium of major vehicle remarketing
firms which compete with Copart, including Manheim Auctions,
Inc., ADESA, Inc., and other members of the National
Auto Auction Association.
A vehicle remarketing company like Copart must have access
to AutoIMS in order to receive and accept assignments
of vehicles for resale from banks, finance companies,
and fleet operators. Yet when Copart recently requested
access to AutoIMS in order to effectively compete in
that market, AASC insisted Copart pay discriminatory
access fees, including an initiation fee of $50,000 per
location. Because Copart operates over 130 locations
in North America, that fee would exceed $6.5 million
— a discriminatory demand equal to denying access altogether.
Copart also claims that other companies in direct competition
with Copart such as Manheim and ADESA paid a nominal
initiation fee for access to AutoIMS.
The suit was filed in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California.