The UK High Court has requested that legal paperwork be submitted in respect to a group action from former Mercedes diesel car owners, or leaseholders. The issue is one of emissions claimed vs reality, according to a car trade publication. It’s another step along the road and might mean that former Mercedes diesel owners get some sort of compensation. More here.
If the court action is successful, then you could expect other car companies like Vauxhall/Peugeot/Citroen, Fiat/Stellantis and others to agree a settlement on diesel claims. Still a long road ahead however.
In general, only make a claim if you really feel you can prove a financial loss after buying a diesel car in the past, as far back as 2009. Also, be prepared to pay about 40-50% of the compo to the legal firm representing your claim. There’s some very useful advice at MoneySavingExpert, as you might expect.
Well advertised law firm MyDiesel Claim (aka PGMBM) has announced an out-of-court settlement on VW Group diesel cars. There are a few T&Cs worth noting here. The settlement only applies to owners of certain VW-Audi-Seat-Skoda cars, with certain engines fitted, which had the so-called `defeat device.’
This software gizmo allegedly helped particular diesel engines pass emissions tests. These tests were carried out in the past at a particular engine rpm – so if you optimise combustion at the optimum point in the rev range, hey presto, you have a lower emissions figure.
Let’s move on, what happens next?
Here’s the statement from PGMBM;
PGMBM has announced today an out of court settlement agreement on behalf of our Claimants with the Volkswagen Group in the Volkswagen NOx Emissions Group Litigation. The Volkswagen Group have made a payment totalling £193million to circa 91,000 Claimants in the action.
The claims first became public in 2015 in respect of the two-mode software installed in certain Volkswagen Group vehicles with EA189 diesel engines. The agreed settlement resolves the claims that were being brought against various Volkswagen Group and dealer entities in that group action in England & Wales.
The Guardian reports that on average owners will receive about £2100 each. However, all legal costs are being settled by VW-Audi and paid directly to law firms. So expect the legal bills to be totted up and examined for a few months before 90,000 people get paid out. That cash will come from the law firms, not VW Group, so don’t expect to get paid before the end of this summer, maybe later.
In a few decades, we likely won’t see cases like this as diesel cars are slowly being pushed out of the market. In the UK the ban will come to effect in 2030. In New Zealand by the year 2040.
This doesn’t mean you can’t drive a diesel car, it only means you cannot buy it from a regular shop. You will be able to purchase and drive a secondhand vehicle so long as it passes registration renewal. It’s similar to how online casinos are regulated in New Zealand. Their land-based companies cannot offer this form of entertainment, but people can still play on foreign sites such as iCasinoreviews.info. Incidentally, most online casino game providers offer many car-themed slots for car fans. Thus, it is difficult to say whether this law will really significantly reduce the number of diesel cars.
It’s also possible that some owners will find a settlement of say £2000 means that they will actually receive about £1200 after legal fees, depends on the contract signed when making the claim.
Can I Join The Compo Party Now?
Good question and the answer is probably not. There was a deadline for claims made regarding the VW defeat device, and this was December 31st 2021. But if you own another diesel car, say a Mercedes, Ford, GM, Peugeot-Citroen etc then maybe – maybe – you could sign up to join the group claims action. Just because VW has settled it doesn’t automatically follow that every car manufacturer will be held liable for using similar software devices/settings.
In the USA, Stellantis, who own Fiat-Alfa Romeo, have pleaded guilty to using a similar diesel device. But that doesn’t mean they face the same legal action in Europe, or the UK, which have entirely different sets of consumer laws from the USA.
Your best case scenario is that you still have sales emails saying a diesel car will save you money, plus you can prove you sold a diesel car at a huge loss after say 2-5 years of ownership. But depreciation was huge in the past on all new, or nearly new cars, both petrol and diesel.