Online auction company, ACV Auctions, has filed an antitrust lawsuit that alleges several companies in the physical auction sector conspired to hinder ACV’s ability to compete in the market.
In a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in New York, ACV Auctions named Manheim and ADESA auction groups, as well as smaller wholesalers ServNet Auction Group and Independent Auction Group, as defendants. ACV claims that the companies worked to prevent ACV Auctions from accessing AutoIMS, which is a remarketing platform widely used by commercial consignors in the industry.
Auto Auction Services Corp., a joint venture between the four companies and the provider of the AutoIMS platform, is also named in the suit, as well as, the National Auto Auction Association. The complaint alleges that the trade association inconsistently enforced physical auction requirements to “preclude membership to certain digital-only platforms like ACV, which pose an existential competitive threat to NAAA’s controlling members.”
The NAAA said they were aware of the lawsuit and has retained counsel to review the issue but had no further comment at this time, according to an email to Automotive News from an association spokesman.
In the complaint, ACV Auctions says that an NAAA board of directors denied ACV’s application for membership in late 2018 because it did not conduct physical auctions, which prevented the company from gaining the AutoIMS license that some NAAA members automatically receive. ACV also claims that they were denied a license through a direct request through the Auto Auction Services Corp.
ACV Auctions says that they were denied access because they offer digital-only auctions doesn’t make sense, considering other companies have branched into offering digital auction tools without experiencing similar issues.
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