Government statement calls for customer compensation, criticises firm's response to scandal and threatens legal action
17 October 2016

The British government has launched a scathing attack on the VW Group for the dieselgate emissions scandal, both for its initial cheating and its subsequent efforts to fix any wrongdoing, and as a result it is considering prosecuting officials from the firm and pushing it to pay compensation to affected UK car owners.

In a response to the Transport Committee’s Special report on the scandal, the British government concluded that VW’s response had been “unacceptable”, that “the treatment of UK consumers has not been acceptable and that vehicle owners should be compensated for the inconvenience” and concluded that “prosecuting authorities from across Europe are liaising and co-ordinating their investigations. The Department is engaged in this process.”

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The statement made clear the government would not go into further details on the likelihood of prosecuting VW Group officials, saying “it would be premature and potentially damaging to any prospective legal action to comment further at this point”.

However, it went on to say: “The government will continue to fight for compensation for UK consumers and continue our work to ensure that Volkswagen’s serious action of cheating type approval tests is met with the appropriate consequences.

“The government has also made clear in its most recent engagement with VW that in relation to costs incurred by the taxpayer and proposed fixes for affected vehicles, respectively, financial reimbursement and warranties are matters of high and urgent priority.”

It added: "Prosecuting authorities from across Europe have met to discuss and coordinate their investigations. Officials have been part of those coordinating efforts and continue to monitor the progress of those investigations. This is a complex area as the wrongdoing by the multinational Volkswagen Group is likely to have taken place in various jurisdictions. We understand that investigations in Germany (where the Volkswagen Group is based and the relevant engines were developed) require the review and assessment of vast amounts of material. The government wants to ensure that the Volkswagen Group faces appropriate legal consequences for its manipulation of emissions tests and is continuing to consider how best to do this. We have not ruled out opening our own investigation."

VW has consistently denied that affected UK and European owners should be compensated, stressing that their cars will be fixed free of charge and with no performance or efficiency losses. It is also believed that the European Union legislation on emissions testing were so lax that VW could argue its defeat devices did not break any laws.

However, the British government statement continued: “The government strongly agrees that the treatment of UK consumers has not been acceptable and that vehicle owners should be compensated for the inconvenience, uncertainty and worry caused by Volkswagen’s cheating as well as for any loss in the value of affected vehicles which may become apparent.

“We also find it unacceptable that Volkswagen has avoided this issue for so long and has failed to adequately engage with customers on this matter and respond to their valid concerns. Ministers have summoned Volkswagen UK to a further meeting in order to reiterate these views and remind Volkswagen that they expect the company to treat UK consumers fairly.”

The British government statement also appeared to back owners planning to take private legal action against VW. In response to a recommendation made by the Transport Select Committee, the statement added: “The government notes the Committee’s comments regarding the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and agrees that vehicle owners may have recourse under the Act. The government is not privy to the content of contracts between vehicle owners and the relevant dealerships and so is unable to comment further.

“However the government would make clear that the Department of Transport has engaged, and will continue to engage, with consumer groups and legal firms and stands ready to provide any reasonable assistance to consumers who seek compensation directly from Volkswagen.”

The Department for Transport told Autoar “The government takes the unacceptable actions of VW extremely seriously. That is why we have taken swift action to protect the UK consumer. We were the first country in Europe to complete our own tests (April 2016) to ensure the issue was not industry-wide.

“We continue to push VW to take action to compensate the UK consumer. Transport Minister John Hayes met with the MD for VW UK, Paul Willis, recently to reaffirm the Government’s calls for compensation and press for a fix to affected cars to be carried out as quickly as possible.”

VW has yet to respond to the British government’s comments.

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Comments
17

17 October 2016
VW state "their cars will be fixed free of charge and with no performance or efficiency losses" does anyone know of a magazine that has done tests on a Diesel golf before and after the fix. All the mags I know are a little scared of losing VW revenue to do it.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

17 October 2016
Both I and wife have the affected engines in our manual cars and havent been in for update . However reading other sites it appears that the software fix causes major glitches with tiguans with dsg . I'm sitting tight at the moment . Agree with xxxx, more info would be useful .

17 October 2016
Well with Brexit going tits up and looming economic disaster the government need to get funds from anywhere

17 October 2016
Bolida wrote:

Well with Brexit going tits up and looming economic disaster the government need to get funds from anywhere

Not to mention falling unemployment and booming share indexes helping the pensions holes caused by the elite who are now worried about their European property portfolio.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

17 October 2016
a good time to buy a new VW, you think I could get one dirt cheap?
Red Devil

17 October 2016
Just when the Volkswagen dirty diesel scandal seems to be cooling down elsewhere our government decides to raise the flag. Well good luck to the millions of buyers of faulty Volkswagen products under the sale of goods act which in my humble opinion applies since the cars are not as described. To quote my Darth vader owning pops in law he won't get it fixed since after the fix it won't be what he paid for. I bet most other owners have similar views and are under no compulsion to get theirs emissions spewing wagons fixed since its not mandatory. May's government if serious should make the fix mandatory and should verify that the fix actually fixes anything. If it does not bring emissions down or affects driving characteristics while doing so then the government should step forward asking VW to replace the innumerable vehicles on public department fleets or move it's custom elsewhere.

17 October 2016
Why should the customers get compensation, I own one of the vehicles that's affected, hasn't cost me anything, if anything technically it has saved me money because had the real CO2 figures been what my car was taxed on I would be paying more! Also seen as the fix isn't mandatory I will not be bothering to get it fixed so literally the only way this has affected me is because I had to open and read a letter from VW advising me I was affected! VW should be punished for their blatant lies but the customers shouldn't be getting anything, they haven't lost anything!

17 October 2016
Very simple question - can any UK customer or government authority tell me how they were cheated?

My understanding is that the VW cheat device altered NOx values to pass US government emission laws. In what way was the UK motorist cheated? Did VW cheat on C02 emissions that affect VED? Did they cheat on mpg tests? (we all know those EU tests are next to useless anyway). Did they cheat on stated power output or any other stated performance results?

Given everything I've read so far, I still can't understand where VW group cheated UK customers.

17 October 2016
scotty5 wrote:

Very simple question - can any UK customer or government authority tell me how they were cheated?

My understanding is that the VW cheat device altered NOx values to pass US government emission laws. In what way was the UK motorist cheated? Did VW cheat on C02 emissions that affect VED? Did they cheat on mpg tests? (we all know those EU tests are next to useless anyway). Did they cheat on stated power output or any other stated performance results?

Given everything I've read so far, I still can't understand where VW group cheated UK customers.

If people based PART of their decision on emissions then yes they were cheated, Morally at the very least.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

17 October 2016
scotty5 wrote:

Very simple question - can any UK customer or government authority tell me how they were cheated?

My understanding is that the VW cheat device altered NOx values to pass US government emission laws. In what way was the UK motorist cheated? Did VW cheat on C02 emissions that affect VED? Did they cheat on mpg tests? (we all know those EU tests are next to useless anyway). Did they cheat on stated power output or any other stated performance results?

Given everything I've read so far, I still can't understand where VW group cheated UK customers.

Hi Scotty, the government have effectively been defrauded hundreds of thousands of times by fitting devices that place their vehicles into lower duty bandings, thus reducing the income to the government.

Nearly all fleet and most personal buyers would have been swayed by the tax class of the car. If you have two cars you're equally keen on then it's easy to have a situation where your purchase is swung by the level of duty you'll have to pay. Now with the second they've not necessarily been cheated but people were deceived.

Then there's other manufacturers (if there are any that haven't done similar things!) who could argue that they lost out sales due to VW cheating the duty banding system.

46 cars and counting

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