Seven months on since VW’s emissions scandal came to light, UK consumers are being left in the dark. So today I was in front of the Parliament’s Transport Select Committee and called on the Government to take urgent action.
It’s completely unacceptable that VW customers are still none the wiser on what the fix will be, what the impact will be on their car, and therefore whether they’re entitled to compensation.
Without this information, no one knows if they can bring a legal claim against VW.
Not only are our campaign supporters angry, VW customers feel conned.
Angry and rightly so
In our survey of Which? campaign supporters over the weekend, 94% of nearly 30,000 people told us that car manufacturers are not being fair to UK consumers. And three quarters of those said the Government must now take action against VW.
And they’re right too. During today’s Transport Select Committee, I pressed the Government to take urgent and immediate action.
Even though there has been further testing by the Government and VW, those impacted by the scandal are still none the wiser. Assuming it has the answers to our questions, the Government must stop sitting on any evidence that can help fully inform VW owners.
Why won’t the Government publish the full results of all of its testing, for each vehicle, including the detailed methodology? Why won’t it reveal whether there are any discrepancies between their results and the manufacturers’ including whether any vehicles tested breached the lawful emissions limits?
Was the defeat device identified by the Government in the Skoda vehicle a prohibited defeat device and VW therefore broke the law?
What work has the Government done to verify the effectiveness of the fix to the VW defeat device and does it affect the performance, fuel economy or emissions of the vehicles?
These are all important questions, and are ones I pressed for the Secretary of State for Transport to answer.
Action from the Government
It’s been quite a different story in the US. The US Government acted quickly to hold VW to account. Yet in the UK progress to date has been woefully slow.
And separate to the legal debate about compensation claims, people simply cannot understand why VW has offered US consumers a goodwill payment whilst refusing to provide this for UK customers affected by the very same issue.
The Transport Secretary must now intervene and stand up for UK consumers. Are you with me?
Update 15 July – Transport Committee report
Following an inquiry into the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the Transport Select Committee today said Volkswagen has been deeply unfair to European customers by only offering significant compensation to US owners.
The report also criticises the Government for being far too slow to act, and says it should investigate and consider prosecuting Volkswagen for the use of defeat devices in its vehicles. The Committee has called upon the Department for Transport to ensure that car owners are not out of pocket in any way as a result of the emissions scandal or Volkswagen’s fixes to affected vehicles.
The report comes off the back of our calls for action from the UK government. Earlier in the year, Richard Lloyd called for the Government to stand up for UK consumers and take action when giving evidence to the Committee’s inquiry. He also shared findings from our investigations on fuel emissions and views from our affected supporters.
Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Louise Ellman MP, today said:
‘Volkswagen Group has acted cynically to cheat emissions tests which exist solely to protect human health. Volkswagen’s evidence to us was just not credible but the Government has lacked the will to hold VW accountable for its actions. There is a real danger that VW will be able to get away with cheating emissions tests in Europe if regulators do not act.
‘Vehicle owners have been refused goodwill payments. That is despite VW inflicting a great deal of uncertainty on its own customers along with the prospect of declining residual values and the inconvenience of having to undergo repairs.’
Alex Neill, Which? Director of Policy and Campaigns said:
‘Today’s findings from the Transport Committee echo what UK consumers have been saying since the scandal was first uncovered. VW drivers have been treated unfairly and the Department of Transport has not done enough to hold VW to account.
‘The lack of action sends a message that companies who employ underhand tactics can get away with it. The new Transport Secretary must urgently get to grips with this issue and ensure that UK customers are treated fairly.’
If you agree that the Transport Secretary must urgently take action, please sign our petition.