In the first of what could be many cases, a Volkswagen diesel owner has filed suit claiming that the automaker must buy back rigged turbodiesels at the original purchase price. The initial lawsuit was filed in Braunschweig, Germany as a sample case. As a sample case, the action may help thousands of European owners, Jan-Eike Andresen, told Bloomberg financial news. Andresen is from the legal-tech portal My-Right.de.
Major Difference In Laws
An important difference between the U.S. and German legal environment is the class-action lawsuit. Since Germany has no class action-style lawsuit capability, attorneys for Hausfeld an American law firm, filed the sample suit.
My-Right.de enables car owners to have claims heard without any of the risks that they traditionally face. In Germany, the legal system is loser-pay. Mr-Right.de, working with Burford Capital, promises two possible outcomes. Under the first, an owner would apparently receive a $5,200 – 5,000 euro – lump sum payment. Under the second, the website claims an owner would force VW to buy back a vehicle.
Hausfeld and My-right.de declined to specify the number of VW owners who have signed up, while also not putting any total values on claims. “VW has defrauded car owners for years,” Andresen said. The automaker “delivered nothing on what they promised to do to mend the issue.”
Quietly furious, consumer groups have been upset by Volkswagen’s refusal to pay European customers as it paid U.S. turbodiesel owners. Volkswagen bought back rigged turbodiesels, paying owners the value of their vehicles in September 2015 when the scandal broke. Further, U.S. owners received compensation payments of from $5,100 to $10,100. In total, VW paid $10.03 billion to settle with U.S. owners. VW has told European owners that since the legal rules are different, the automaker is only required to repair their vehicles.Details Listed In VW Settlement
In an emailed response, Nicolai Laude, a Volkswagen spokesman, emphasized that since owners won’t have any problems after the automaker fixes their cars, the suit is unfounded.
1,000 Owners Have Already Sued
Only 1,000 of the 2.5 million VW diesel owners in Germany have sued the automaker or dealers with about 250 successful while other suits rejected. Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper, indicated that in some of the suits VW and its dealers settled when the faced losing an appeal. Laude declined to comment.
My-Right.de is hoping VW will settle with what it hopes will be a German group or, possibly, one for all European consumers. The sample lawsuit relies on European Union laws. The group is seeking a European-wide ruling from the European Union’s highest court. “VW will only be able to reach the new start it is seeking if it extends its hand to its customers in a fair deal,” Andresen concluded.
Sources: Bloomberg, Automotive News