A German umbrella organization, VZBV, which represents 41 German consumer groups has filed a class action lawsuit against Volkswagen over the emissions scandal. They have accused the carmaker of “deliberately and unethically causing damage” to two million drivers. VW has admitted to tampering with 11-million vehicles in the so-called dieselgate scandal — and customers want reparations. VW admitted in 2015 to manipulating 11-million diesel vehicles to appear less polluting under test conditions than in real driving.
Consumer association Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZBV) told the news network, BBC that German drivers feel betrayed and are out of pocket, due to the diesel emissions scandal. “The damage for every consumer can be several thousand euros and there is no sign of the car industry to compensate for the damage they have caused,” VZBV spokeswoman Sarah Hoare said. “The legislator has provided us with a new type of legal means, which we are using without delay so that consumers are no longer left alone with their damages” Sarah added.
So far, diesel-gate has cost VW more than €28bn in fines, recalls and compensation. But most of the financial pain has come in the US, where VW has not only bought back almost half a million cars from customers but paid up to $10,000 per vehicle in compensation. In Germany, the company has paid less with fines totaling up to €1.8 billion. But under a new law that came into force on Thursday, this week means that consumers can now bring a collective action against a company. Under German law, this was earlier not possible. Also, we should let the reader know that the new Social Democratic coalition party that was formed in Germany had promised to bring in new rules that will help consumers take action against Volkswagen.
You might be asking why after 3 years are these consumer groups becoming active. This is because of the law coming into action now and the statute of limitations to prosecute VW is 3 years after diesel-gate happened in 2015. Many car owners who had to give back their old car a get a new car feel cheated and have lost money in the process. Some also cannot own anything.
What do you think? Is this case justified? Do you think Volkswagen should compensate all owners?