/ 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.

Comments
Peter Jones says:
20 July 2016

There at least used to be a criminal offence of “applying a false description by way of trade” and VW were clearly guilty of that where emissions were concerned. They clearly have too much influence with those in the EC Commission who ought to be taking similar action to the US.

Derek says:
20 July 2016

I want my money back straightforward fraud needs a criminal sentence & compensation

Emily says:
20 July 2016

I’m at a loss why US customers have been compensated and we haven’t. I will not be buying another Audi.

Have VW owners in the USA received any compensation yet? Have the US authorities accepted VW’s offer?

Stu says:
20 July 2016

Fully endorse the comments from other which members, but what really irks, the UK Government has not brouht to justice VW in cheating its public , trades and the UK itself. A total disgrace by bothVW, the UK and European athorities. And, we still do not know when our VW is going to be ‘fixed’ ????

David Jackson says:
20 July 2016

Obviously VW has a lot of friends in the EU parliament, otherwise they would force them to pay everyone equal compensation.

For starters, VW have Germany, Austria and Spain on their side and probably lots of other states where components are sourced or assembly is carried out. It would be interesting to know what the economic impact on the UK would be if VW were to be brought down.

Sudip Chatterjee says:
20 July 2016

Totally agree that it is completely unfair that UK owners are not compensated whereas US owners have been. My VW was just recalled and the engine management software was upgraded but the running of the car is terrible and makes an engine noise. Local VW are baffled and are waiting to hear from VW technical who have said that they are aware some models are affected. Yet the upgrade was, according to them, ” …extensively tested…”.
We should be compensated for their diabolical dishonesty and deceptions and unfairness.

ken sames says:
6 September 2016

don,t be baffled by the “upgrade” reduced power and engine noise it appears to be the norm once vw have got their grubby hands on your car,vw are aware the fix is rubbish so yet more lies. on the plus side at least you know what it,s like to drive a tractor now. Most vw owners are in for a shock when they want to sell.
the government needs to get involved in this outrage to ensure all affected owners are fully compensated.

Ian H.Thain says:
20 July 2016

Mis-selling on the basis of lying is Fraud, and should be dealt with at law like any other fraud.

Sam Dobson says:
20 July 2016

But arn’t governments also to blame? They are surely supposed conduct independent tests not just accept ‘self assessment’.

David says:
21 July 2016

I have just spoken to Audi about their cheating because I may want to change my car. The spokeswoman said that they had ‘made a start’ on the recall and I would be hearing heaven knows when. She didn’t know. Paraphrasing, there was no hurry. It didn’t really make any difference. The car was fine. It was only a matter of satisfying [stupid] regulations. They’d get round to it eventually. It seems to me strange that they should (however slothfully) be going to the trouble of re-programming if it doesn’t really matter.

I asked about compensation being paid in the US. She said they had different regulations.

Hiding behind legal arguments avoids the basic issues. (1) They say they cheated by supplying me with a vehicle that defeats emission testing. (2) The car emits more pollutants than it should which is an environmental matter. (4) I do not want to cause avoidable pollution. (5) Prominent authorities like the one below advise that I could also be disadvantaged financially despite Audi’s letter to me which says that their ‘objective’ (not, so far as I know, achieved) is that performance etc will be unchanged. Does anyone know whether that is the case in cars that have already been altered? .

Daily Telegraph: Law firm Jefferies Solicitors says:
“The key issue facing drivers that have been affected by the scandal is the loss of value to the vehicles. As well as increased fuel costs for drivers, the overall value of the vehicle is likely to depreciate. Road tax also looks set to rise for these vehicles, as well as expenses associated with future repairs,” says Jefferies managing director Michael Jefferies.

She assured me there would be no fall in resale value. On what basis, she did not say. Only if I change it at an Audi garage? Well, on present performance, that’s a big ask. She can’t possibly guarantee that. I rang Audi North Wales to discuss the issues but they never rang back. I wonder if Which? has considered setting up an A4 resale price index going back to when the deception was first discovered?

I must say she was very well trained and seemed prepared to flannel round and round the houses for ever without ever actually getting anywhere. Can you get a qualification in flannelling consumers?

The actual comment to which I am responding seems to have disappeared, but my thoughts on it were that the problem for the European Commission is that they are finding it very difficult to identify which specific actionable offence has been committed.

The EU, I think, would be looking at the NEDC test results on vehicles as supplied (with the cheat device operating) and with the cheat device switched off to see what difference there was in emissions that have regulatory limits (NOx), those that affect the overall manufacturer’s fleet limit (CO2) for which penalties are payable, and those that mislead – l/100km or mpg.

The EU would then need to verify that post-correction (i.e. the cheat device not just switched off but when corrective actions have been applied) the vehicle then complies with regulatory requirements (NOx) and published data is accurate.

For owners, what will matter are the post-correction results compared with the “cheat” results to see if mpg is affected. For Governments the CO2 results have tax implications – VED and benefit in kind.

This should be an EU organised investigation as it affects all EU states in the same way.. I am trying to find out what tests have been done and what the results show but, so far, with no success. Are Which? looking into this?

Yes, that sums it up nicely, Malcolm. Probably get some EU action around the middle of 2019 perhaps, by which time . . . (you know the rest).

Adrian says:
23 July 2016

Not too much sympathy from me I’m afraid – and I just don’t believe that 90% of owners were genuinely considering the environment I making their purchasing decision. If that were true the bottom would have absolutely dropped through the floor for used sales since this came to light.

If customers were concerned about the environment they wouldn’t have been purchasing the diesel vehicles affected in the first place, but would have opted for hybrid or electric vehicles.

dave says:
31 July 2016

Adrian vw are the villains not the customers who have done nothing wrong think? vw have profited on the sale of cars to there customers and now they need them adjusting and vw have used a technicality issue to try and justify avoiding court action in THE EU the caSr are illegal but for a Tec clause fact so I think all their customers should be paid back sale profit back as a minimum .A lot of people are bitter at the thought of the vw customers getting any compo must be plain jealousy why.

David says:
1 August 2016

Reference your disparaging remark, what makes you think your sympathy is wanted, Adrian? It adds nothing to a discussion about the manufacturer’s cheating and the way that customers have been disadvantaged. Environmental issues were certainly a factor in my switching to diesel (you will perhaps remember that much was made of the environmental advantages of modern diesels) and it will certainly be a factor in determining my next purchase.

It seems that all VW Group affected vehicles apart from Skoda are being checked by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA). I can only find one result so far on their website. On 27 Jan a press release announced they had granted VW the release of the technical solution for VW Amarok 2.0 diesel. I didn’t recognise this – a pick up.since 2010. No details.
The VCA is responsible for the Skodas that are affected.

Windsor says:
13 August 2016

I bought a VW diesel golf for several reasons. Some of which are:-
Outstanding quality, comfort, equipment, overall size (small garage!), excellent performance, low fuel consumption.
Low Yearly tax (thanks to Gordon Brown). Low overall running costs.

I did not buy because of manufacturer published fuel consumption figures, emissions etc (particularly NO). I do not believe them.
I rely on reports from such organisations as Which, Parkers and so on. They all gave glowing reports at the time that I was buying, particularly Which. As far as I can recall, Which did not mention any emissions figures or failures.

Therefore, whilst I agree with Which that the consumption, emissions figures need a much tighter definition and adherence (set up by Brussels?? Oh Brexit, where is thy sting?), I cannot agree that I have been deceived by VW. I therefore cannot morally or legally claim any compensation in any form.

It is my impression that citizens of the USA demand compensation for any imagined or real deceit. I hope that we do not follow that same path

The situation in the USA is totally different to the EU, as the vehicles involved are illegal to use over there. Some states had threatened to cancel the registrations of the vehicles concerned, which would have meant they had to be taken off the road immediately.
How would you feel if the Government told you your vehicle was illegal to use & you must take it off the road immediately? Would you expect compensation in that situation, as the vehicle is effectively rendered totally worthless, except for it’s scrap value?
The problem over here is the lax EU limits on pollution. As malcolm r states above, to date, we have seen no figures from the investigations in Europe so it is not even clear whether VW have actually broken any laws over here. This is compounded by the apparent lack of laws to deal with the situation. Of course, companies can only be prosecuted if they have indeed broken any relevant laws. This is far from certain at the moment.

dieseltaylor says:
6 September 2016

” I cannot agree that I have been deceived by VW. I therefore cannot morally or legally claim any compensation in any form.”

It is an interesting argument. One cannot but wonder that the VW Group feels impelled to do anything at all.

Assuming that the national governments in the EU and many parts of the world have been taking action for good reason then we might assume VW has been misleading buyers.

I would suggest that the intent to deceive is obvious and that corporations who deliberately engage in massive deceptive behaviour need to be punished. Both at a personnel level and financially.

Those induced to buy one type of car in preference to another, in part by false claims, should be recompensed. This is a basic feature of so much consumer law it seems hard to think that there is nothing that covers it. Or is it a matter of if you are a Govt. sized multi-national different laws apply even at country consumer level.

I wonder how many readers are aware of all the recalls worldwide in the auto industry and the long history of lying and cover ups. Even on lethal matters. VW is not immediately dangerous but the thinking behind the “solution” to their engine range weaknesses indicates both stupidity and a lack of ethics.

As to the theory this excerpt indicates how far firms indulge in cover-ups without Director liability:
” The danger of unaccountable officers was demonstrated with the GM fiasco. As regular readers can tell, the GM controversy is an important reminder of the importance of a number of basic ethics and compliance principles.
GM’s General Counsel claims he did not know about the faulty ignition switch issue, even though several senior attorneys were intimately involved in the day-to-day management of the issue. Whether or not GM’s General Counsel knew about the issue or not, he should have been held accountable by the CEO and fired under either rationale.” VolkovLaw blog

According to a report in Autocar, the German Federal Motor Transport Authority – KBA – has approved fixes to 2.0l engines – Golf Bluemotion, Passat, Amarok, and 1.2l Polo, Skoda Fabia, Seat Ibiza. They state there is no effect on fuel consumption (so, presumably CO2) or performance.

autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/volkswagen-recalls-460000-cars-12-tdi-engine

Stuart morley says:
21 August 2016

Soooo… I’ve just found you!
Bought a 2011 vw golf from… Carshop after 4-5 months gearbox goes weird so they take it in and look at it- fix problem… Temporarily 😡
Just over a week ago car just stops, doesn’t sound like gear shifting and then just literally died…

I want to know who is at fault here, I’ve had a curtesy car was told I could have it from car shop until mine is fixed- THEN on Friday afternoon they call and say they want it back that evening 😡
I’m not willing to give it back until mine is fixed.

I’ve looked it up and found that it should of been recalled for a faulty gearbox and emissions problems- all I’ve had from
Vw is a letter saying that my car is that of emissions problem and they will
Contact me in future to book the car in.

Now: I want to know what to do because I’m out of a car I bought on finance and who is at fault?

Surely the car shop should not have Sold a car to
Me with a known fault which could of caused an engine fire?

They are of
Course acting very shifty.

Allan Kernohan says:
22 August 2016

Which? is rightly (and righteously) indignant about the Volkswagen scandal but what about its own situation where its review of the Toyota Auris Hybrid says the tailpipe emissions are zero. This is simply wrong and they have been told about it but persist in giving this misinformation to potentia purchasers. Please note – not in any way the fault of Toyota, totally the fault of Which? and arguably of an order of magnitude worse than anything VW has done.

In the latest car guide Which? say: “Our tests consistently show that car manufacturers quote unrealistic fuel economy figures in their advertising, brochures and marketing material”. What they do not say is that the figures quoted are the only ones they are allowed to publish, and they are unrealistic because the NEDC test that the EU makes every model go through produced these unrealistic results. That is my understanding. So why not explain this and blame the EU instead of inferring the car manufacturers are being dishonest. But will they correct this comment?

Well all you 926 posters (so far ) here,s good news ! –but only if you are Scots and Irish and should upset all English posters here who want the same but are refused . quote- Landmark Irish court hearing fires starting gun in Scots claims against Volkswagen — Scots lawyers pursuing VW have joined forces with Dublin counterparts on the eve of a potential landmark hearing involving the auto giant. Gerry Braiden- local government correspondent – A David and Goliath battle in a provincial courthouse on Ireland,s Atlantic seaboard will fire the starting pistol on legal action by 1000,s of Scots motorists caught up in the VW emissions scandal –Lawyers in Scotland teamed up with Irish counterparts behind what is believed to be the first court hearing where the global auto giant will face calls to make public the technical evidence at the heart of the hearing . The potentially landmark hearing will be heard on Tuesday at a tiny district court in Castlebar , County Mayo when Eithne Higgins , a nurse will call for copies of VW ,s original expert opinion and technical evidence it used for the defeat device software used to cheat emissions tests . As far as this issue is concerned and this Convo this is explosive stuff , I got this from a Scottish newspaper ,the Scots have their own laws by right of the Union of the Crowns but the question has to be asked is the English press full of this article and where are all the English lawyers at this court meeting ?? . Why does it take Scotland to get the ball rolling ? Where,s the English initiative , If I was in this position I would be at this moment ringing up to join in the legal action . If you check back all 926 posts the number calling for this is very large , if this doesn’t make “Angry ” of Luton blazing mad I dont know what will.

Here is another “update ” if this is ignored then I will think this convo “doesnt matter ” anymore . The campaign group Transport+ Environment has revealed all major diesel car brands in the EU are selling cars that dont comply with air pollution limits —AND— VW produces some of the Cleanest cars . According to the report there are 29 million “dirty ” diesel cars/vans on EU roads – “dirty ” = 3x NOx limit. Test data from 230 diesel car models found that Fiat +Suzuki pollute 15 x more than the legal limit –Renault/ Nissan exceed 14 x ,GM -Opel/Vauxhall -10 x –quote- under thev new EU exhaust emission standard called Euro 6 Rules VW were selling among the CLEANEST ! diesel vehicles . Quote- VW are not producing cars with the highest nitrogen oxides emissions and the Failure to investigate other companies brings disgrace on the EU regulatory system ( Greg Archer ) . Well ?? any comments ?? or is this convo being “buried” ? How about –is T+E being “paid ” by VW ? or conversely is it all a US BB attempt to cut down VW to size and promote US car industry ? ( just trying to get some life into this )

The only legal limit (or regulatory limit if you prefer) for NOx emissions in the EU is that prescribed under their NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) test procedure. There are currently no limits for “on the road” emissions, which is where these high figures can arise. If you have evidence that all the cars you refer to are breaking NEDC limits, duncan, then please give a link.

I have taken this up with Which? in the past who implied that most manufacturers were breaking NOx limits. In their reply they accept that;
“You’re right to say there are currently no official emissions limits for anything other than the NEDC test.”

The EU recognise the great deficiencies in the NEDC and are introducing the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test (WLTP) that is a much more realistic laboratory procedure. They have also introduced a Real Driving Emissions test (RDE) that is under trial, measuring emissions on the road under controlled conditions (as far as they can be). It is expected to yield results on which better emissions limits will be based.

Currently all vehicles must comply with EU emissions limits, Nox included, to be allowed onto the market and there is no evidence that I am aware of, other than through cheating by VW Group, that they don’t.

Malcolm -although I got this from an International news website there are two Twitter links . As you know I am not a “member ” of Twitter so I am quoting the links only — hope Which doesn’t convert this to a LIVE link. — t.co/kKbPAP3KRUpic.twitter.com/E7Jy71sXtJ –and– t.co/kKbPAP3KRUpic.twitter.com/HUWgZvT5vF .Starting September 2017 diesel cars emitting more than double the lab limit for NOx will be banned from sale.

duncan, there is confusion – deliberate or otherwise – as to car emission “limits”. I am quoting the current situation. Some regard, or say, “on the road emissions” are ones that should meet the EU limits but that is not correct. So the evidence I have asked for is vehicles that are claimed to pass NEDC but do not.

T+E appear to be using “on the road” data for which no regulatory limits exist. They say “T&E analysed emissions test data from around 230 diesel car models. Data were taken from the investigations conducted by the British, French and German governments, as well as a large public database. The carmakers’ ranking was built with on-road performance figures mostly measured in real world driving.”

The data is, as the RDE data will be, valid to examine pollution and what limits can be imposed based on real life driving. that is what matters. But to suggest all manufacturers are breaking regulations is wrong, and does not help their case. The case simply does not need such distortion, it is quite capable of standing on its own feet without misleading readers.

T+E give a reasonable summary where they also point out, as I did, the deficiencies of the present test procedure and ways the EU are belatedly addressing this. “https://www.transportenvironment.org/what-we-do/air-pollution/road-vehicles”

What T+E fail to point out is that another immediately effective way to reduce harmful emissions in towns and cities is to reduce the number of vehicles thus reducing total pollution, at the same time reducing traffic jams that also increase pollution. We should not only be addressing this issue through the regulators and manufacturers, but also through the users.

If the new NOx limits for new diesel car sales do not come into force for another year, and then only apply to cars producing “double the lab limit”, then I would expect all car manufacturers to achieve compliance. There is not much that can be done about the millions of diesel cars already running around with excessive emissions. Perhaps their owners will feel truly sorry for our environment and turn them in for scrapping.

The T&E group [the European Federation for Transport and Environment, is “a European umbrella for non-governmental organisations working in the field of transport and the environment, promoting sustainable transport in Europe; which means an approach to transport that is environmentally responsible, economically sound and socially just”. It appears to be very worthy and responsible although it seems a bit coy about who it represents and how far it extends across Europe. Like many campaigning groups and organisations with a clearly focussed remit, it tends towards the sensational at times in support of its causes.

If your latest revelations don’t elicit much in the way of a response, Duncan, it could demonstrate that many people who claimed to have had the environment at the top of their car-buying agenda might have been more concerned with getting compensation for the emissions scandal. There will no doubt be concerns about the reliability and relevance of the information put out by the campaign group and how it relates to the test standards that were [and still are] in force. I am not sure how VW owners who are loyal fans of the brand regard this report; indifference reigns on all sides I suspect.

Here,s more “non-response ” news John . Today 21-9-2016 German car maker VW faces 8.2 billion euros damage claim from investors over their losses . State court in Braunschweig (Germany ) said about 1400 lawsuits had been filed . Earlier , while VW said they broke no laws the EU are now saying they did . The European Commission has found that VW broke consumer laws in 20 EU countries Die Welt ( the world ) reported citing sources . Vera Jourova the EU commissioner for Justice and Consumer Protection has said , she has written to consumer groups across the EU ( I take it the UK is excluded ? ) to collect information and is analysing feedback , she will meet representatives in Brussels but VW still refuse to pay.

It was only a matter of time before the cheats were taken to court. It’s interesting that it seems to be VW’s shareholders who are doing so. It’s not clear whether the European Commission is a party to the action. Since the UK is still a fully-paid up member of the EU I sincerely hope we have been included in the EC’s information-gathering exercise. I doubt if VW will pay anything until ordered to by the highest level court. Of course, the investors taking this action are in a tricky spot: they won’t want VW to be heavily fined as that would depress their investment values even further.

The action is being backed by legal funding firm Bentham, (USA), who expect to retain 20% of the damages recovered (according to the DT). Nice work.

It seems strange that you effectively sue yourself – as a shareholder it is your company, and substantial damages will no doubt damage the company still further financially and reduce the value of your shareholding even more. Suppose VW liquidated, so you had no value in it?

Shareholders have a responsibility – they share the profits (even if ill-gotten) as well as the losses. They turn blind eyes to company practices providing it performs. I think I’ll invest all my money in law firms in future, the only real winners.

It could be that the anonymous ‘investors’ are not direct shareholders but have shares in a fund that owns the VW shares. Once more we are speculating because there is not enough reliable information.

The major players represented will, I suspect, be institutional shareholders “It said the lawsuits were representing a “true cross-section” of the investor base of the embattled company, from sovereign wealth funds and international asset managers to public and multinational company pension funds, including the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS).”

In my naivety I still wonder how the inevitable loss in company value ( tens of billions of dollars are involved) will really benefit anyone except those handling the claims. I’d find it much more appealing if the effort was devoted to identifying the individuals involved and penalising them all financially. However, not profitable for the professional predators.

I agree. This issue is a sideshow and an impediment to the main objective. It won’t help get people’s cars fixed quicker.