ACV Auctions files U.S. antitrust lawsuit, alleging Manheim, ADESA, other auctions are shutting it out


ACV’s lawsuit claims its competitors denied it access to the AutoIMS platform in two ways.

First, it alleged that an NAAA board of directors made up of Manheim, ADESA, ServNet and Independent Auction Group representatives denied ACV’s application for membership in late 2018 because it did not conduct physical auctions.

That, by extension, nixed ACV’s chance to gain the AutoIMS license some NAAA members may automatically qualify for, ACV said in its complaint.

Second, ACV claimed those companies denied its direct request for an AutoIMS license through the Auto Auction Services Corp. joint venture.

ACV criticized the NAAA’s reasoning for denying its membership on the basis of it being a digital-only company. It pointed to how physical auction companies in recent years have branched into offering purely digital auction tools with few issues.

“These digital offerings have not impacted Manheim’s NAAA membership or its AutoIMS license, showing NAAA’s discriminatory application of its bylaws,” ACV Auctions said in the complaint.

Commercial consignors who use AutoIMS repeatedly told ACV they can’t work together because ACV does not have access to the platform, ACV said in its complaint. In one alleged instance cited in the lawsuit, ACV contacted Hyundai Capital, the financial services unit of automaker Hyundai, about using its digital marketplace, but Hyundai Capital refused because ACV did not have AutoIMS.

In another, financing company Santander Consumer USA ended its contract with ACV in less than a year because it could not continue to break its processes and workflow to send business to ACV outside of AutoIMS, the complaint said.

ACV seeks injunctive relief

In its complaint, ACV asked for injunctive relief, which includes requests for the court to order NAAA to grant it membership and for Auto Auction Services Corp. to be compelled to license AutoIMS to it.

ACV also said it is seeking monetary damages to be determined in a trial, including legal fees.

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