Currently reading: Owners’ legal actions against Volkswagen in UK and Europe join forces
A British law firm is collaborating with European owner groups against Volkswagen in the wake of the Dieselgate emissions scandal

A British law firm representing 41,000 Volkswagen owners in the UK affected by the Dieselgate emissions scandal has joined forces with Dutch lawyers representing 180,000 owners.

The two are collaborating to secure compensation for Volkswagen drivers who are taking action against the brand over the scandal.

The groups are working together against Volkswagen and parts supplier Bosch, who yesterday faced accusations of having created the software that allowed cars to cheat official emissions tests. 

Damon Parker, head of litigation and founding partner of the British law firm, Harcus Sinclair UK, said: “Financial compensation is not the only issue. They wish to prevent corporations thinking that they can deceive customers and harm people’s health and the environment with impunity.”

Speaking with Autocar, Parker added: "The objective is to hold company to account and get financial compensation. It’s not particularly about money; nobody’s going to make huge sums, what they’re doing is registering a protest. If people feel they’ve been deceived and lured into buying something with eco quality; a Bluemotion VW for example, they may as well have bought something else which costs them less."

The objective of pairing up with European groups, Parker said, is "strength in numbers, sharing information, jointly presenting a united front". 41,000 affected UK owners have registered interest since January 2017, with between 30 and 40 on a quiet day and 200 on a particularly busy day signing up to the firm's site for legal proceedings against VW. There's potential for several hundred thousand affected owners through potential partnerships in Europe to band together in this way though. 

Volkswagen’s stance towards affected European owners has steadfastly been that of no compensation, despite payouts and buy-backs being offered to customers in the US. Volkswagen has said that this is due to a different, more extensive and time-consuming recall in the US. 

The Dutch foundation of 180,000 Volkswagen owners was founded shortly after the Dieselgate scandal broke, but has fruitlessly attempted to reach a settlement with Volkswagen. It claims to be the largest consumer claim in Europe, and is also working in partnership with similar foundations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Volkswagen is currently working to fix 20,000 of the 1.2 million affected cars per week in the UK, and has rebuffed suggestions that the fix applied to cars worsens fuel economy and causes breakdowns following its installation. 

Volkswagen has issued the following statement in relation to the matter: "As we have always maintained, we intend to defend these claims robustly. There is in any event no evidence of any adverse impact on the residual value of the affected vehicles as a result of this issue nor with their performance following the implementation of the technical measures.

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Our customers are our top priority. To date we have implemented the technical measures in 665,000 vehicles in the UK with the overwhelming majority of affected customers being satisfied.

It is our view that the instigation of legal proceedings in England is premature for a number of reasons, not least because the implementation of the technical measures in the affected vehicles is still on-going.”

Read more: 

Volkswagen dieselgate emissions scandal: 20,000 UK cars being fixed a week

Volkswagen denies its Dieselgate fix causes breakdowns

Bosch created Volkswagen Dieselgate cheat software, study alleges

VW emissions scandal: one year on

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RayCee 17 June 2017

Do they care?

If governments were concerned about the welfare of the people, then they would act against corporations who pollute with deceit. As it is, they are more concerned with keeping in with a powerful European country. Also corporations wield huge influence and they know they can rely on governments looking the other way. It's a corrupt world but we don't usually see it unless something like this happens.

As for owners getting compensated, it would be fair but European laws are lax on such things. The arrogance VW is showing indicates they think they will get away with it. What amazes me is VW is still selling so many cars in Europe. The apathy of the consumer! I personally do not deal with companies that exhibit the attitude VW has. Even if European law cannot touch them, sufficiently lost sales would force them to do something. A sizeable donation toward cleaner air in Europe would at least show they realise the seriousness of what they have done.

fadyady 13 June 2017

US precedent

"They wish to prevent corporations thinking that they can deceive customers and harm people’s health and the environment with impunity.” - that's what really matters for any European with conscience. When an individual breaks a law he gets punished. Why should a company - no matter how big, crafty, politically well connected and financially powerful - be allowed to get away with their criminal actions? VW made - according to my estimate £200 billion through this huge far reaching fraud. Volkswagen US has paid $20 billion in fines and costs. But VW Europe is getting away by throwing scraps to the May-Merkel governments.
LP in Brighton 13 June 2017

Why should owners be compensated?

They have not actually lost anything unless they can prove their vehicles have lost value because of the scandal. This would be difficult since it is likely that Volkswagen diesel RVs will be no worse than competitors' - and in any event, with the majority of cars purchased on PCP, the used value is guaranteed.
As I see it this is a public health issue, and if anything it is the public at large who should receive compensation, not the car owner.