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Volkswagen Emissions FAQS

What is the claim about?
In September 2015 the Volkswagen Group confirmed that up to 11 million of their diesel vehicles sold worldwide were fitted with software that could enable the vehicle to cheat emissions tests.  1.2 million of these  vehicles were sold in the UK. It is our case that this software is illegal under UK law and we are bringing claims for compensation for consumers who purchased affected vehicles.
 
Why should I instruct Leigh Day?
Bringing group actions on behalf of consumers is one of this firm’s key areas of specialty.  We have carefully devised our litigation strategy in this case and believe that our approach offers our clients the best opportunity of achieving a favourable outcome whilst securing the maximum amount of compensation.
 
The key advantages of instructing this firm are:

  • The claim we are bringing is easier to prove and it is not necessary to prove that our clients have lost money as a result of Volkswagen’s conduct;
     
  • We are seeking to recover 50% of the purchase price of the affected vehicle. This means that you may receive substantially more compensation than via other types of claim, although that is not guaranteed;
     
  • We are acting on a “no win, no fee” basis, meaning that you do not have to pay us anything if the claim is unsuccessful and we will be arranging insurance to protect you against the risk of losing and having to pay a share of the defendant’s costs.

Who can bring a claim?
All people who bought an affected vehicle have a potential claim and we are exploring all options for everyone. However, for the moment we are only taking on clients who satisfy the following criteria:
 
  1. Bought an affected vehicle as a consumer (that is, not for business purposes); and
     
  2. Made one or more payments for an affected vehicle (new or used) on or after the 1st October 2014 to an approved Volkswagen dealer or Volkswagen Finance. This includes where:
  • You paid an approved Volkswagen dealer for the vehicle on or after 1 October 2014 with the help of a bank loan or credit card;
 
  • You entered a hire purchase or personal contract purchase (PCP) contract with Volkswagen Finance before 1 October 2014, but made one or more payments after that date.

What will it cost me?
We will act under a conditional fee agreement (CFA), popularly known as “no win no fee”.
  • If you lose (that is, you do not get any money back from the defendants), then you do not have to pay us anything.
  • If you win, the majority of our fees and expenses should be paid by the defendants. All fees and expenses (including VAT) that we can’t recover from the defendants are capped at 30% of your compensation, so you will get a minimum of 70%. The more people who join the claim, the more likely you will get more than 70%.
 
  • We are in the process of arranging insurance to protect you against the risk of losing and having to pay the defendants’ legal costs. You will only have to pay for the insurance if you win, subject to the 30% of compensation cap.
 
What is the legal basis for the claim?
 
Leigh Day are looking to bring claims for clients against Volkswagen Financial Services UK and Volkswagen dealerships under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (as amended) (“the CPUT Regulations”). Unfortunately, the CPUT Regulations only allow claims to be made for people who made a payment for their vehicle on or after 1 October 2014.
 
It will be alleged that Volkswagen engaged in one or more “prohibited commercial practices” by installing defeat devices in the affected vehicles, by wrongly claiming compliance with applicable regulations and the New Car Code, and by presenting the affected vehicles in a way that was likely to or did deceive the average consumer about the main characteristics of the vehicles.
 
If successful, a claimant may recover a percentage discount on the payments they have made after the CPUT Regulations came into force.

The percentage discount awarded depends upon the courts assessment of how significant the prohibited practice was in the consumer’s decision to purchase their vehicle. The discount is 25% for practices that are “more than minor” and 50% for practices that are “significant”. It is our intention to claim for a 50% discount on behalf of our clients, given that the use of emissions cheating software circumvents protections put in place to protect human health and EU law, and is on any view more than minor.
 
What if I don’t qualify under the CPUT Regulations?
You will not qualify to bring a claim under the CPUT Regulations if you:
  • Made the payments to a non-approved Volkswagen dealer or a finance company other than Volkswagen Finance; or
     
  • Paid the full price or made all payments to the Volkswagen dealer or Volkswagen Finance before 1 October 2014.

We are exploring all avenues to obtain redress for people who cannot make a CPUT claim. To that end:
 
  • we are considering how best to present and manage the claims of those vehicle owners that do not fall into the CPUT category; and
     
  • we are considering how best to protect those claimants from having to pay Volkswagen’s costs in the event the non-CPUT claimants are unsuccessful.

Which cars are affected?
The diesel models affected include Volkswagen cars and other Volkswagen-owned brands such as Audi, Seat and Skoda as well as Volkswagen commercial vehicles. The affected models are:
  • Fitted with a 1.2l, 1.6, or a 2.0l EA189 engine; and
  • Complied with Euro 5 emission standards and were sold between 2009 and September 2015.

How can I check if my car is affected?
You can confirm whether your vehicle is affected by checking the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) details of your car on these sites:

You can find your VIN in the front of the service book or at the bottom of the windscreen on the left hand side (as you look into the vehicle from the outside).

The VIN will look like this: WVWZZZ1JZXW000010

Can I still bring a claim if I have sold my vehicle?
Yes. No longer owning your vehicle does not prevent you from being able to bring a claim under the CPUT Regulations.
 
Should I have my vehicle repaired?
We are currently unable to advise whether the “fix” Volkswagen is offering customers will be effective and whether it will affect performance. It is up to you whether you agree to it.
 
 

 

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