Saturday

23rd Sep 2017

EU urges consumer groups to go after VW

  • Consumer organisations feel Volkswagen has produced misleading advertisements (Photo: Volkswagen Belgium)

Thirty-one European consumer organisations met in Brussels on Thursday (8 September) to discuss ways to seek compensation from Volkswagen Group (VW), which had equipped 8.5 million diesel cars in Europe with cheating software.

The meeting was “an important first step”, said Christian Wigand, spokesman for the European Commission.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • EU commissioner for justice, Vera Jourova (l) thinks Volkswagen may have breached EU consumer rules (Photo: European Commission)

The talks were hosted by EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova, who earlier this week said it seemed VW may have broken two pieces of EU legislation - the consumer sales and guarantees directive and the unfair commercial practices directive.

The meeting “helped the European Commission to gather the information necessary to ensure the relevant EU legislation is properly enforced and it gave consumer organisations the chance to exchange information and best practices to be more effective in dealing with this case,” said Wigand.

It included consumer associations from the UK and the Federation of German Consumer Organisations.

In the United States, VW recently reached a settlement agreement with American consumers. The German company will cough up €9 billion for a compensation fund.

The cash can be used if VW customers want to return their cars. In addition, most owners of cars with cheating software will receive between €4,600 and €9,000 each.

Not Europeans, though.

Almost a year after the scandal broke, VW has maintained that it does not need to compensate European consumers.

Legal action has been relatively slow compared to other regions in the world, but during the summer, the Italian Competition Authority slapped a €5 million fine on VW for misleading adverts. It was the largest fine it could give.

A source with knowledge of the meeting said that it provided a space for the consumer authorities to be “inspired” by their counterparts from other EU countries.

Brussels-based consumer lobby group Beuc Thursday called it “reassuring that the European Commission is taking the side of consumers on the issue of receiving compensation for Volkswagen’s emission fraud”.

“National authorities in Europe have faltered for too long while consumers in the US, South Korea and Australia have seen governments act in their interest,” Beuc said in a press release.

According to spokesman Wigand, the pan-European “cooperation will be continued in the coming months”.

Investigation

VW: EU's action plan is 'nothing new'

Consumer affairs commissioner Jourova said Volkswagen has "committed to an EU-wide action plan", but the promise contains little news value according to the carmaker itself.

Investigation

EU bank accused of muzzling watchdog

An ongoing review of the the European Investment Bank's "complaints mechanism" could make the oversight branch less independent and less effective.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch state appeals ban on taking air-polluting measures
  2. May proposes 2-year transition period after Brexit
  3. May to call on EU's 'sense of responsibility'
  4. Catalonia has 'contingency plans' for independence vote
  5. Last German polls confirm Merkel's lead
  6. EU to step up sanctions on North Korea
  7. Tusk calls 'euro summit' in December
  8. Report: May to seek two-year EU transition

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  2. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  3. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  4. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  5. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  6. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  8. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  9. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  10. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  11. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel
  12. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Urges Bigger Global Role for Emerging Economies