/ Money, Motoring

Update: Do you think Volkswagen should compensate car owners?

Car model

We’ve surveyed more than 2,000 VW diesel owners – nine in ten think people affected by the scandal should be compensated. And yet, Volkswagen has so far failed to announce redress.

What’s most important to you when you buy a car? Well, when we asked VW owners, 96% said fuel efficiency and 90% the environmental impact. These are both areas that have been undermined by the scandal involving ‘defeat devices’ that were fitted to diesels.

The scandal has had such a big effect on VW car owners, that over half would now be put off buying a VW diesel car in the future.

Diane felt she bought her VW under false pretenses:

‘What they said at purchase point influenced my decision to purchase, and had I had the full facts, I never would have done so. Categorically not. I want it recalled and offered an alternative car.’

Letters from Volkswagen

I know lots of you have received letters from VW now, which point you to a website where you see updates. The fact that the company is contacting affected owners is great, but the letters are short on detail. There’s also still no mention of redress.

When quizzed by the Government’s transport committee on Monday, VW’s UK boss Paul Willis refused to confirm whether they’d compensate customers, saying it was ‘too premature to talk about loss of value’. He also said that a recall might not happen until the new year, despite more than a million UK cars being affected.

Anne told us she’s really worried about the re-sale value of her two cars:

‘This is the first time we have ever been able to afford new cars and sadly both of our new cars are affected. I’m really worried about the re-sale value now and feel we’ll need to hang onto these cars forever so that we don’t lose out too much. The environmental impact concerns me greatly too.’

VW must address redress

Today we’re again urging VW to set out a clear timetable for redress, and calling on the Government to closely monitor the car maker’s next steps to ensure recalls and redress happen quickly and easily. We also want assurances from the Government that it will prevent anything like this happening again

Do you think VW needs to address redress? Will you think again before buying a Volkswagen, Audi, Seat or Skoda car?

[UPDATE 19 OCTOBER 2015] – According to our second survey, the effect of the VW scandal has spread beyond just those affected to owners of other cars.

In our survey of more than 1,000 UK car owners, eight in ten people expect more car makers to be drawn into the emissions scandal. Only one in five said they think the Government has a clear action plan in place, and more than three quarters agreed that the Government should ensure new fuel tests are brought in as soon as possible.

We’re calling on the Government to quickly start an independent investigation into the scandal, and to work with the European Commission to bring in new tests you can trust.

[Update 14 January 2016] – VW’s UK boss, Paul Willis, has told MPs that VW will conduct repair work on vehicles rather than making payments to British drivers.

And yet, payouts are being offered in the US. In November 2015, around 482,000 US motorists were offered a compensation package equivalent to £693. Then earlier this week an announcement was made to extend compensation to cover tens of thousands of US owners of larger diesel vehicles.

Paul Willis said that the US is a ‘very different situation’ due to regulations which leaves it unclear as to whether the vehicles can be fixed. We don’t think that’s fair.

Our executive director Richard Lloyd said:

‘This is just not good enough for VW customers, when nine out of ten told us they thought those impacted by the scandal should receive compensation.

‘British consumers deserve to be treated fairly. We urge Volkswagen to reconsider its position, and we want assurances from the Government that it will introduce measures to prevent a scandal like this happening again.’

[Update 22 April 2016] – Volkswagen has announced that it will pay ‘substantial compensation’ to US car owners affected by the diesel emissions scandal. The news came in a California court, where the judge said that the settlement is expected to include an offer to buy back affected cars. The car maker and regulators have until late June to agree all the final details of the pay out.

Our executive director Richard Lloyd commented on the announcement:

‘Volkswagen’s customers in the UK will be angry about this news. People will not understand why a deal is being offered to US consumers when there is nothing on the table for the 1.2million owners affected in the UK.

‘Volkswagen needs to act now and set out what they will do for their UK customers.’

[Update 28 June 2016]– Volkswagen will pay out £11bn to settle the diesel emissions scandal in the US. The terms of the settlement were revealed today in the US District Court in San Francisco. It’s been agreed that VW will pay over £7.5bn to either purchase the cheating vehicles or pay for repairs, and owners of around 10,000 VWs will receive £7,500 in compensation. A further £2bn will be paid to the US government for environmental mitigation. The company will also pay £1.5bn for research into zero-emissions vehicles.

Our Director of Policy and Campaigns, Alex Neill, commented on the announcement:

‘Volkswagen customers in the UK will rightly question why a deal is being offered to US consumers when there is nothing on the table for the 1.2 million owners affected in this country.

‘VW must not be let off the hook, the Government should intervene and stand up for UK consumers.’

If you think UK VW owners should also receive compensation, join almost 80,000 others by signing our petition.

Rod says:
19 July 2016

Of course they should compensate customers. They were guilty of a cynical fraud. The EU was equally complicit due to their unrealistic requirements for testing, which have proven totally misleading.

Although not a VW diesel driver, I to have a diesel car, purchased on the understanding I was helping the environment.

Any other manufacturer found guilty of ther same or similar actions should be penalised and compensate customers!

Adrian Wheeler says:
19 July 2016

Does anyone know what the penalty will be for VW from the EU for deliberately breaking the EU pollution law or whatever please?

bob says:
19 July 2016

Its about time that our government and Europe got involved in this and supported all of us car owners (I am well aware that we are looked upon as just an easy target for money in taxes and fines and a pest for using the roads that we pay for). For once lets get the sort of compensation that seems the norm in the US.

Lorraine Hanson says:
19 July 2016

Because I have kept my VW Polo longer than I normally would, ie 7 years, I have had to s spend over £1000 on it .
The software probably won’t be sorted out till the end of this year which means I may have to spend more on it on its maintenance.
Private Sale didn’t happen when prospective purchaser knew the car had the dodgy software!
I should be compensated for my loss

A newer car would have depreciated faster, so you are likely to have saved money. I’m planning to keep my VW until it is ten years old – so another six years to go. I’m beginning to wonder if it will be fixed by then.

John Sullivan says:
19 July 2016

Surely all cars with defeat devices do not have a valid MOT. Doesn’t an MOT measure exhaust emissions so if these are false all these cars are failures. Retest them all and send any bills to VW. So I have a diesel car that fails the MOT. Let VW sort it out because you can bet your life the British government won’t

There must be thousands of new VW’s, Audis, Seats and Skodas sitting around the country in holding yards and dealerships. When the time comes, could the government sequestrate them? Could it also nationalise VW’s UK operations in the national interest? Controversial, and not recommended if we ever want to trade with Germany again, but there might be more than one way for the government to get its hands on appropriate recompense for the consequences for the nation of the emissions fraud. Such moves probably wouldn’t help those still waiting for their modifications, and some of the language currently being used in this debate is probably not propitious.

In terms of owners’ compensation, if actual loss was as indisputable as several commenters have suggested I am surprised no one has launched an action against VW already – they seem to think they have an open and shut case. Lawyers might disagree.

My goodness, John. I thought I was being controversial suggesting that companies have their phone service suspended temporarily if they used it to make nuisance calls.

I strongly believe that the government should be taking action against companies that behave in an unacceptable way. If we are going to take radical action, perhaps it would be best to start by sorting out the millions of tumble dryers that could set their owners’ homes on fire. One approach would be to recruit every available service engineer and send the bill to Whirlpool.

It is now approximately ten months since VW said that they would act quickly to regain my confidence. 🙁

N G FRASER says:
19 July 2016

The lack of action on VW scandal is typical of British Govt. attitude: “Because it’s German we daren’t offend!!” This is one of the main reasons a majority of Britons voted to leave EU. Our politicians must be forced to take the strong actions we deserve. Insisting that VW compensate as fully as they did in USA can be a start. Of the many items in my house made in Germany (as there did not seem any alternative since UK has thrown away most of its industry) only the dishwasher works well!

You have a point N G , somebody asked why the big surge in complaints here , your right Brexit is responsible for a lot of this as people have had enough of being dictated to. And even trying to be neutral is hard because of perceived injustice in many directions.

Les says:
19 July 2016

This is disgusting behaviour from a company most people trusted. They are lying and damaging our environment to fill their own greedy pockets. The value of these cars will have fallen and current owners will either not be able to sell or lose money on resale values. I would personally not buy a vehicle from VW or any other company that lies about their product, they all need to be held to account.

Chris Gummer says:
19 July 2016

It is time that our government showed some of its bulldog bite and hold VW to make a similar compensation to that of our USA cousins. Whilst I may be happy generally with my Skoda Yeti, I feel let down by the deceit of the VW group of the engine performance.

Richard Anelay says:
19 July 2016

No more German cars for me. VW are a disgrace to their badge and name

Dudley Thraves says:
19 July 2016

Mr Fraser said pretty much what I would say ! Our governments never take an initiative ! It takes a referendum to force the will of the people ! I can’t see us getting another of those !

Frank Colman says:
19 July 2016

Lack of action by the government will encourage car manufacturers to continue to act dishonestly at consumers’ expense. I feel strongly that we should challenge VW’ s disrespectful offer to UK victims and I expect the government to act swiftly and effectively.

Shahpur Patell says:
19 July 2016

The UK government has to champion UK consumers as effectively as the USA government protects the interests of US consumers. Anything short of equivalent treatment smacks of lack of effectiveness of the UK’s consumer laws and lack of comptence in msnagong comanies’ compliance .

Philip Goatly says:
19 July 2016

My car is a SEAT. I took into account the emissions data when I bought it, as two of my daughters have asthma and I would not have wanted to contribute to the health problems affecting any asthmatic.

I believe that VW is guilty of misrepresentation at best, fraud at worst.

It is scandalous that Europeans are not being compensated, for the VW deception, and the Americans are.

SF says:
19 July 2016

Is my lease agreement with VW valid? Do I have the right to give them the keys back and ask for my money back? My agreement is based on a guaranteed residual value. Has that value been compromised?

Malcolm Abraham says:
19 July 2016

I have just purchased a new car from Lexus, because of the way they have handled the problem and the deceit , I didn’t and would not ever consider a car from the VW group.

Ian foster says:
19 July 2016

Easy! I pay with my pocket,. I will never buy another German car even though I know they can be very good.. my Q3 Audi is great. But.. never again

I don’t drive a car every day, but do ride a bicycle several times a week, and enjoy driving when I get the opportunity.
While we can’t always do much about cars bought some years ago, I really dislike that a supposedly reputable manufacturer has had the effrontery to con the rest of us into believing that their cars pollute less than their rivals. Before the VW scandal broke, I had a positive view of VW, I have been thinking off an on about getting a car, but in the light of the VW scandal, it is extremely unlikely that I would purchase any VAG group car.

Monabri says:
19 July 2016

Have any VW cars been modified yet and have they passed their MOT?

Alan Pratt says:
19 July 2016

I owned 2 VW diesel vehicles but 1 has been traded in for a new KIA petrol model.

If VW can compensate owners in USA, why not here in UK? Surely our losses are the same.
The UK government has been woefully slow to do anything about it as usual. Was the Brexit campaign the cause of the inaction? Did they not want to upset Mrs Merkel? Fat good that did!!