5th Dec 2023

EU demands Volkswagen compensate all EU purchasers

  • The car company has said it expects to pay a further €1.2bn in 2021 in further settlements. But this figure would go up significantly, if it were to compensate all EU purchasers (Photo: Abdullah AlBargan)
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The European Commission and the EU Consumer Protection Authority (CPC) on Tuesday (28) September called on Volkswagen to compensate all purchasers across all member states for misleading them about vehicle emissions.

In a statement, the commission noted Volkswagen had sold 8.5m vehicles in the EU that had been outfitted with a defeat device to cheat emissions tests up until 2015.

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Until now, Volkswagen has only compensated purchasers in Germany, but the commission on Tuesday reiterated its position that such consumers across all EU member states should be compensated.

Didier Reynders, commissioner for justice, said on Tuesday: "Dieselgate broke six years ago. Still, up until now, not all consumers have been compensated. Courts have ruled against Volkswagen's unfair treatment of consumers, and yet the carmaker is not willing to work with consumer organisations to find appropriate solutions for consumers."

"Not only consumers residing in Germany, but all consumers need to be compensated," he said.

And on Twitter, he added that "All EU consumers must be treated fairly and the same way."

Volkswagen argues that consumers outside of Germany do not need to be compensated because the affected cars have been modified in the meantime to meet legal emission standards.

But the CPC disagreed and declared on Wednesday that consumers should also be protected against infringements that "have already ceased, but the harmful effects of which may continue."

Multiple national and EU courts have already rejected Volkswagens' legal defence.

Earlier this year, a Dutch court ruled that owners of a rigged Volkswagen, Audi, Seat or Skoda are entitled to €3,000. Owners of a second-hand such car are entitled to €1,500. In total, 150,000 people are warranted to receive compensation in the Netherlands.

Volkswagen has appealed the decision. "We believe that car owners in the Netherlands have not suffered any economic loss because of the issue", Volkswagen said in a statement.

Although the CPC cannot order the carmaker to pay compensation, it can ask the carmaker to commit to an "appropriate solution" to "close this chapter avoiding further years of litigation." Alternatively, Volkswagen can ask the CPC to come up with a solution.

According to the German carmaker, the 'Dieselgate' scandal has cost the company €31.3bn. Previously, the car company has said it expects to pay a further €1.2bn in 2021 for further settlements.

But this figure would go up significantly if it were now to compensate all EU purchasers.

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