By now, most all of us have heard of the Volkswagen TDI Clean Diesel emissions scandal. To recap, Volkswagen has admitted it intentionally rigged the emissions systems in its Volkswagen and Audi 2.0 liter TDI diesel engines so the emissions controls would only be activated if the emissions systems were being tested. At all other times, the emissions controls would be inoperable. This intentional rigging of the emissions systems has resulted in these “clean” diesel engines emitting many times the legal limits of recognized pollutants.
So what is Volkswagen’s response to its customers for its truly despicable behavior? According to Volkswagen, its customers need to have “patience” while Volkswagen addresses the issue. Once Volkswagen has determined a remedy, its customers will be notified. There is no timetable for the remedy, but the remedy will eventually come and the vehicles will be put in compliance with state and federal emission regulations. In sum, Volkswagen states that it is “committed to do what must be done . . .,” although there is no explanation of what that ultimately is.
Unfortunately for Volkswagen, the remedies for its customers will likely go well beyond the mere placing these vehicles in compliance with state and federal emissions regulations. For example, how about a remedy for intentionally deceiving its customers who purchased and leased these vehicles? How about a remedy for the obvious loss in value (resale or otherwise) of these tainted vehicles? How about a remedy for warranty breaches related to these vehicles and their intentionally defective emissions systems? It is highly unlikely that Volkswagen’s voluntary “remedy” will include compensation related to any of these issues.
Fortunately for California consumers, several consumer protection laws (California Lemon Law; Consumer Legal Remedies Act; etc.) exist that may provide owners/lessees of these Volkswagen/Audi vehicles with legal remedies. If you own or lease one of these vehicles and would like to speak to an attorney about your legal rights, please contact us and we would be happy to provide you with a free consultation.