A law to make it easier for consumers to file mass claims against big companies or government may have made procedures more sluggish, lawyers have warned.
Since the Wamca legislation came into force in 2020, more mass claims have been filed against big tech companies, including Amazon, TikTok, X Corp, Oracle and Salesforce for allegedly breaking privacy rules and illegally selling personal data.
Other cases include a mass claim against Allergan over leaking breast implants, and the case against the health ministry for failing to safeguard sensitive data which was accessed and sold by call centre staff during the coronavirus crisis.
But almost four years on there has not been a a single verdict in any of the cases, mass claims lawyer Koen Rutten told the Financieele Dagblad. “The law was meant to give people easier and quicker access to legal recourse but that is now looking increasingly unlikely,” he said.
One of the main reasons is that the law offers too many opportunities to keep entering objections over often minor details, Rutten said. “We want a meticulous procedure but we’ve gone the other way now. Long drawn-out procedures are clearly a strategic ploy,” Rutten said.
Companies and the Zuidas lawyers who represent them are not happy about what they call a “claims paradise” where companies are sitting targets for fortune hunters but the figures tell a different story, the FD found.
The number of new cases has fallen to just 15, with a total of 71 cases awaiting rulings, the judicial collective claims register shows.
Lawyers representing mass claimants have now formed a society to act as “a united voice from this side of the mass claims because companies are already extremely vocal,” Rutten said.
“Mass claims are a way to mend the holes in the policing of laws. The possibility to tackle companies who are breaking the law leads to better conduct. If that is being blocked by delaying tactics companies will carry on with impunity,” he warned.
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