Owners of VW cars affected by the dieselgate scandal have until 26 October to make a claim for compensation, it has been confirmed.
The High Court Justice confirmed the deadline for the group litigation order on Tuesday.
An estimated 1.2 million UK models are believed to be affected by the German car-maker’s misconduct when it was found to have fitted diesel cars with ‘defeat devices’ to reduce emissions during official tests.
Claim deadline: Owners – and former owners – of VW models affected by the dieselgate scandal have until Friday 26 October 2018 to sign up to claim for compensation, the High Court Justice confirmed this week
The impacted cars include Volkswagens, SEATs, Skodas and Audis manufactured between 2009 and 2015.
The deadline of 26 October was ordered by the HM Courts and Tribunal Service on Tuesday.
It leaves owners – and previous owners – of these vehicles just over 150 days to make a claim that lawyers say could result in compensation of up to 100 per cent of the car’s purchase price.
Owners who haven’t already put their name down can do so by signing a Group Action petition.
The VW dieselgate scandal is likely to become the largest group action the UK has ever seen.
To cope with the enormous volume of owners, a Steering Committee has been created, led by consumer action law firms Your Lawyers, Slater & Gordon and Leigh Day.
The scandal was first revealed in September 2015 after Volkswagen was discovered to have installed illegal software in its EA189 diesel engines.
Some 1.2 million UK cars are estimated to have been fitted with illegal defeat devices. This includes Volkswagens, SEATS, Skodas and Audis
The devices would activate during type-approval European emissions testing cycles, but not operate under normal driving conditions.
Volkswagen must be held to account for its reprehensible actions and we need as many people to join the action as possible
Aman Johal, director of Your Lawyers
That means the pollution produced while in the hands of consumers is significantly higher than that during official tests.
Harmful output – namely nitrogen oxide (NOx) – was found to be up to 40 times higher than law permits.
It’s these toxic emissions that are believed to be linked to thousands of premature deaths across the world every year.
More than eight million vehicles across the globe have been impacted in total and the scandal led to the car maker having to strike a $17.5billion (£14.1billion) deal with US owners to buy back around 350,000 affected vehicles and compensate owners.
These models are now being held in dieselgate ‘car graveyards’ across the United States.
The class action steering committee taking on VW said it will fight for owners to hold the manufacturer accountable for its actions in the UK to the same extent as in the US, including a multi-billion-pound settlement
Volkswagen AG has paid more than $7.4 billion to buy back about 350,000 vehicles in the US. It is now storing thousands of models in what have been dubbed ‘car graveyards’
However, there are no similar plans to reimburse owners in the UK, with the under-fire car manufacturer claiming that the issue could be remedied with a software update that would be applied to all impacted models.
These fixes have led to more criticism, with cases of updates causing new issues, proving not to reduce emissions and – in the most extreme situations – resulting in a number of near-death experiences for some owners.
The class action steering committee said it will fight for owners to hold Volkswagen accountable for its actions in the UK to the same extent as in the US, including a multi-billion-pound settlement.
What the group litigation order aims to prove
1. Whether VW knowingly or recklessly made false representations in relation to vehicles manufactured with EA 189 engines affected by the NOx issue, with the intention of deceiving Claimants, on which those Claimants relied and were caused to suffer loss.
2. Whether there was any breach of the implied term of satisfactory quality in contracts relating to affected vehicles between Claimants and VW.
3. Whether Claimants have any right to redress in relation to affected vehicle under Part 4A of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
4. Whether there was an unfair relationship between Claimants who entered into finance agreements with the VW in respect of affected vehicles such that a remedy ought to be ordered.
5. Whether VW acted in breach of obligations under EC Regulation 715/2007 in relation to affected vehicles so as to give rise to an actionable claim in damages as a breach of statutory duty or a sui generis tort.
6. Whether Claimants have suffered any recoverable loss in respect of any cause of action above.
Source: HM Courts & Tribunals Service
Aman Johal, director of Your Lawyers, said: ‘The group action against Volkswagen is now live and I urge owners and former owners of affected vehicles to sign up.
‘Volkswagen must be held to account for its reprehensible actions and we need as many people to join the action as possible in order increase the pressure upon Volkswagen to do the morally right thing and compensate owners and former owners.
‘As a lawyer who has put my life and soul into fighting Volkswagen ever since news of the scandal first broke, I pledge that I and my firm will fight for as long as is required to achieve justice for English and Welsh consumers.’
A VW spokesperson responded saying: ‘Our consistent position has been that the instigation of UK legal proceedings was both premature and unfounded, and that we will robustly defend any such litigation.
‘There is no legal basis for customer claims in connection with the diesel matter.
‘Our UK customers have not suffered any loss or damage as a result of the NOx issue.
‘The vehicles are safe and roadworthy, and perform as advertised.
‘The required approvals are available and have not been withdrawn.
‘Implementation of the voluntary service campaign is ongoing.
‘The residual value of the vehicles has been not affected as a result of the diesel issue.
‘We have implemented the technical measures in over 840,000 vehicles in the UK (out of 1.2 million affected) and in approximately 6.4 million vehicles across Europe, with the overwhelming majority of customers in question fully satisfied.’
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