Friday

20th Oct 2017

Four European consumer groups team up to sue VW

  • Consumer campaigner Pachl: 'Volkswagen has really not shown that it cares about its customers'. (Photo: Brett Levin)

Consumer organisations from four European countries are working together to demand compensation for people whose diesel cars, made by Volkswagen Group (VW), are equipped with an emissions cheating code in the software.

The groups - from EU member states Lithuania, Slovakia, and Slovenia, and non-EU Switzerland - announced on Tuesday (12 September) that they would work together with an international law firm to sue VW in Germany.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  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.

"The goal is to sue VW in a German court in order to obtain compensation," the Brussels-based European umbrella organisation of consumer groups, BEUC, said in a press release.

Almost two years ago, it was revealed that VW had committed worldwide fraud on emissions tests.

However, while the German industrial giant has agreed to give US consumers several thousands of dollars in compensation, the European owners of affected diesel cars receive nothing.

"Volkswagen has really not shown that it cares about its customers," BEUC's Ursula Pachl told EUobserver in an interview last week.

She said that not much has changed in VW's attitude towards compensating Europeans over the past two years since the scandal broke.

VW's strategy in Europe is divide and conquer, said Pachl. It is able to do that because there is no overarching European legislation on consumer compensation in cases like these.

"It will be much cheaper for Volkswagen to compensate a few Spanish and Italian consumers, than to have to deal with a European claim, which we don't have the instruments for," said Pachl.

Her organisation has campaigned for several years now to introduce in Europe what they call collective redress - a mechanism known in the US as class action - whereby people can combine their lawsuits.

Through the international action announced by the four European consumer groups, a workaround method is being adopted.

BEUC said in its press release on Tuesday that through the pan-European cooperation "consumers will be able to hold VW accountable without economic risk".

The European Commission has been asked to come up with some form of collective redress, an option it is still investigating.

Meanwhile, Pachl praised EU consumer affairs commissioner Vera Jourova for her attempts to persuade VW to provide Europeans with compensation.

"We certainly appreciate the fact that she tried to make this effort," said Pachl, noting that Jourova was probably "surprised" by VW's uncooperative attitude.

She also praised consumer authorities who, last week, came together in a joint letter to Volkswagen, telling it to finish repairs on the cars within a month.

"It's very late, but okay," she said. "We really can welcome it".

VW is also being sued by consumer groups in Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

EU urges consumer groups to go after VW

European consumer groups met in Brussels to discuss strategy and tactics on how to have Volkswagen Group compensate owners of cars with cheating software.

Investigation

VW diesel repairs could take until 2019

German car company has fixed 5.4 million of the 8.5 million European diesel cars that were equipped with emissions-cheating software. Some consumers have decided to shun Volkswagen Group forever.

EU agencies defend research ahead of glyphosate vote

As the renewal of the weedkiller glyphosate is a hot potato on the EU agenda, with a vote in the Parliament on Thursday, the role of two closely-involved EU agencies has come under scrutiny.

News in Brief

  1. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  2. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict
  3. Dutch PM: Brexit is 'still a bad idea'
  4. Commission to issue proposal on civil protection
  5. Tusk: 'No space' for EU intervention in Catalonia
  6. Austrian PM calls Brexit talks speed 'big disappointment'
  7. PM Muscat: journalist murder 'left a mark' on Malta
  8. Belgian PM: No crisis with Spain over Catalan remarks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEJC Applauds the Bulgarian Government for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  2. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  3. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  6. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  7. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  8. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  9. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  10. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  11. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness

Latest News

  1. May on mission impossible in Brussels
  2. EU seeks to shut down sea route from Libya
  3. Digital debate will be first test of Tusk's new policy crowbar
  4. EU Parliament: EU migrant quotas do have a future
  5. EU countries praise Tusk's new summit plans
  6. Commission employs double standards in Spain
  7. Legal study sounds alarm on 'Baysanto' merger
  8. Health MEPs want to phase out glyphosate by 2020