Volkswagen – What’s Happening
Global Justice Network attorneys were amongst the first attorneys in the United States to file class action lawsuits against Volkswagen seeking damages for Americans who own or lease diesel cars with “defeat devices”. The “defeat devices” Volkswagen designed and installed work by switching on the full emissions control systems in the cars only when the car is undergoing periodic emissions testing. In other words, the cars pollute except when they are undergoing testing, sort of like students cheating except when the teacher is looking right at them.
The cars were promised to be “clean” or good for the environment, but they are not. Buyers did not get what they paid for and are also worried about safety. The cars have lost value and owners feel cheated.
A lot of people, about 11 million of them, in many different countries are affected. Global Justice Network attorneys represent affected diesel car owners in different parts of the world.
Here are answers to some common questions.
Is My Car Affected?
Volkswagen has confirmed that 11 million cars are affected worldwide, with less than 500,000 of them in the United States of America.
It is not yet known exactly which models and year of make are affected in each country, although it is expected that this information will be reported soon. If you fill your car up with gasoline or benzene and not with diesel, don’t worry; from what we know so far, it doesn’t appear that your car has a problem.
But, if you fill up your tank with diesel, you might have a problem. According to what we know so far, cars from Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat produced between 2009 and 2014 with engine types 1.2 TDI, 1.6 TDI und 2.0 TDI may have “defeat devices” – and there may be others, too.
The manufacturers of cars containing the deceptive software have set up websites for owners to check to see if their cars are really affected; you will need to input your car’s VIN or vehicle identification number in order to check. The VIN is a 17-digit number that you can usually find in the front of your service manual or in the lower area of your car’s windshield on the driver’s side.
For Volkswagen cars outside the US or Canada, click here: http://info.volkswagen.de/de/de/home.html?tab=check-own-car
For Audi cars, information is available here: http://www.audi.de/de/brand/de/neuwagen/layer/serviceaktion.html#
For Skoda vehicles, information is available here: http://skoda-recallactions.skoda-auto.com/de-de/?s=W&cd=0
For Seat cars, click here:http://www.seat.de/ueber-seat/dieselmotoren/fin-nummer.html
So, what’s the real harm?
Unfortunately, there have been lots of pollutants released into the earth’s atmosphere due to the “defeat devices” and this is bad. But that is a discussion for another day.
Car owners who bought or leased a car with a “defeat device” were promised that their cars were “clean” or safe for the environment. Some paid extra to get this feature. The car they got though was not the car they paid for; the clean feature was designed to work only when the car was tested, not during normal driving conditions. Cars with “defeat devices” have now dropped in value.
It is expected that ‘defeat device” cars will be recalled. Even if repairs are made at no cost to the owner, it is likely that the “repaired” cars will consume more diesel than they did before the fix was made. Not only will this increase operating expenses, it will likely lead to a further reduction in the car’s value.
Owners feel duped, defrauded, and cheated. It’s not always so easy to compensate someone for those kinds of feelings, but it is a real harm nevertheless.
What about shareholders?
The share price of Volkswagen and related stock fell dramatically after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on September 18, 2015, issued a Notice of Violation of the U.S. Clean Air Act to three companies, Volkswagen AG (Germany), Audi AG (Germany), and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., regarding the improper use of software to get around the required emissions standards. Shareholders have a potential claim for losses.
Global Justice Network attorneys are investigating claims on behalf of shareholders in different countries.
What about Volkswagen distributors or dealerships?
People are now reluctant to buy cars with “defeat devices”.
Authorities in Switzerland have blocked the sale of Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, and Skoda diesel automobiles with “defeat devices” in Switzerland, effective immediately. Affected are cars produced from 2009 to 2014 with engine types 1.2 TDI, 1.6 TDI und 2.0 TDI. Recently manufactured cars of the type “Euro 6” may still be sold. Cars already on the road are still permitted pending further investigation. It is not yet known if other countries will follow Switzerland’s lead and bar future sales.
Obviously, automobile distributors and dealerships selling Volkswagen, Audi, Seat or Skoda diesel vehicles are suffering increasing financial losses and uncertainty.
What to do if your car has a “defeat device”
If you think your car might be affected, please contact us providing as much information as possible on our contact us form. We will request the assistance of a Global Justice Network attorney in your country (who speaks your language) who will advise you of your potential rights and options.
What to do if you are a shareholder?
If you had purchased either common or preferred Volkswagen stock between June 6, 2008 and September 20, 2015, and held the stock on September 20, 2015, we invite you to contact us for an initial, no obligation, no cost, evaluation. Please provide as much information as possible via our contact form.
Are there other types of potential claims against Volkswagen?
Global Justice Network attorneys are reviewing other possible claims on behalf of affected clients throughout the world.