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Vauxhall emissions claim FAQs

Find out more information on the Vauxhall emissions claim and how you can join the action.

What is the claim about?

Leigh Day is investigating a potential group claim against Vauxhall over an alleged ‘cheat device’ fitted on some of their cars in order to artificially reduce emissions to pass EU tests.

Monitoring shows that when the vehicles are driven on the road, they emit many times more levels of toxic NOx gases than under test conditions.

This is extremely damaging, as increased levels of NOx contribute to air pollution which is reported to be the largest environmental risk to UK public health and is linked to as many as 64,000 early deaths a year.

We believe that this software is unlawful under UK law and we are planning on bringing legal claims for compensation on behalf of consumers who purchased those vehicles that were affected.

The claims are being investigated on behalf of people who leased or owned Vauxhall diesel vehicles. The claims could be worth up to 75% of the purchase price of the vehicle for each owner.

If you bought or leased a diesel Vauxhall vehicle, your vehicle may be affected and you can apply to join the claim. Please complete our online vehicle registration checker below, to confirm if your vehicle is potentially affected.

Join the Vauxhall emissions claim

What did Vauxhall do?

We are fighting for compensation on behalf of owners of Vauxhall vehicles who we believe were deliberately misled over the environmental performance of their vehicles.

In October 2018, the KBA (the German road vehicle authority) identified the presence of inadmissible defeat devices in a number of Vauxhall vehicles and found that “[due to these devices] increased NOx emissions can occur when the vehicles are in operation”. As a result, the KBA ordered a mandatory recall in Germany.

Despite this, there has still not been a recall in the UK. As a result, there are tens of thousands of unlawfully polluting vehicles still on the roads in the UK.

We believe that owners of the affected vehicles should be compensated because they were mis-sold these vehicles, which were advertised as being more environmentally friendly with lower NOx emissions.

Increased levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions are harmful to the environment and to the health of children and adults.

What is the current position?

This case is in its early stages but we expect it to follow the trajectory of the other emissions cases, including VW and Mercedes.

We intend to secure funding from commercial providers to ensure we have the resources available to instruct the best experts and barristers and to have a large enough legal team to ensure that our clients get the best service possible.

Can all Vauxhall owners bring a claim?

Only people who bought or leased an affected vehicle are able to bring a claim. If you think your vehicle is affected, or if you think you may be, but are not sure, please complete our online form and a member of our team will contact you.

Which vehicles are affected?

If you bought or leased a diesel Vauxhall vehicle, it is possible your vehicle may be affected. Please complete our online vehicle registration checker to confirm if your vehicle has potentially been affected.

Does this apply to petrol or diesel vehicles?

This claim only relates to diesel vehicles.

What do I need to do?

Complete our form as fully as possible. We will need you to provide us with your vehicle registration number so that we confirm if your vehicle is affected.

What is a VIN?

The VIN is a 17-digit number starting with a three-letter code. You should be able to find the VIN at various locations on your car. Frequently you can find your VIN number in one of the following locations: on the driver's side door jamb (sometimes on the passenger's side), under the windscreen on the driver's side, near the firewall of the vehicle or on the steering column.

What vehicle documents do I need to bring a claim?

You do not need to have any documents to start your claim with Leigh Day.

At some stage we will ask you to provide us with documents regarding the purchase of your vehicle including, for example, the contract of sale or other proof of purchase, finance agreement and/or lease agreement. If you have these documents, then please place them somewhere safe until we request them. Do not worry if you no longer have these documents, we will be in touch with details about how to request them.

What will it cost me?

We will be bringing these claims on a 'No Win-No Fee' basis. This means that we will deduct up to 35% (inclusive of VAT) of your damages if the claim is successful, but if the claim is lost you will not have to pay anything.

We provide two worked examples below to assist with understanding:

Awarded compensation: £7,500

After deductions, the minimum amount you will receive: £4,875

Awarded compensation: £2,500

After deductions, the minimum amount you will receive: £1,625

Our success fee, the insurance premium and the funders’ fees will never be more than 35% of your damages, irrespective of the number of claimants within the group.

Once you have checked that you are eligible to bring a claim, we will ask you to read through our funding agreement and sign the same. You will then be a client of the firm.

What happens if your claim is unsuccessful?

If you lose (that is, you get no money back from the Defendants), then you do not have to pay us anything.

We will arrange insurance to protect you against the risk of losing and having to pay Vauxhall’s legal costs.

Can I use my own legal insurance?

You may have other sources of funding your claim other than the funding package we are offering. For example: Legal expenses insurance. Many home insurance products include legal expenses insurance, either automatically or as an optional add-on. You should contact your insurers to check.

If you are a member of a trade union, you should check whether the union will fund you.

If you have such an alternative source of funding, then it may be cheaper for you to use it than the funding package we are offering. We are not offering to act via such legal expenses insurance/union funding, so if you wish to use it you may need to instruct another firm.

Can I bring a claim if I bought my vehicle on finance?

Yes, provided you bought an affected vehicle, you are able to bring a claim.

Can I bring a claim if I have a company car?

Yes, if the contract is in your name and the vehicle is affected, you are able to bring a claim.

Can I bring a claim if my vehicle is leased?

Yes, if the contract is in your name and the vehicle is affected, you are able to bring a claim.

I have sold my vehicle, can I claim?

Provided you are able to confirm that your vehicle is affected, yes. You will need to check your vehicle registration number and we will ask you to provide us with your vehicle purchase documents.

Can I claim for more than one vehicle?

Provided all the vehicles you want to claim for are affected, yes. We need you to complete a separate questionnaire for each of your vehicles.

Does it matter where I bought my vehicle?

No, it does not matter where you bought your Vauxhall vehicle as long as it was bought in England & Wales. You are eligible to bring a claim against the manufacturer whether you bought your vehicle from a Vauxhall showroom, from a private seller or from a third party dealer, or if you bought the car for business purposes.

How do I know whether I bought my vehicle from an authorised Vauxhall dealer/franchise?

Vauxhall has a nationwide network of dealers. There are different ways of knowing if you purchased from an authorised Vauxhall dealer/franchise e.g.:

  • Vauxhall give details of the dealership on their website 
  • A franchise dealership’s name is likely to include the ‘Vauxhall’ name or brand

What if I acquired my vehicle in Scotland?

We have determined that the interests of people who acquired their vehicle in Scotland are better served by bringing their claims through the Scottish courts. You are likely be better off using a Scottish law firm that has expertise in this area.

You can contact the Law Society of Scotland who may be able to help to find a suitable lawyer.

Time limits apply to claiming but we are unable to advise you on the time limits applicable in Scotland. We understand that the time limit for bringing certain types of claim in Scotland may expire five years after you bought your affected vehicle; the time limit for other types of claim may not expire until later. You should seek advice from a Scottish lawyer to confirm the position.

Am I able to claim if my vehicle is second hand?

Yes, you will still be able to claim whether your vehicle was bought new or second hand.

If I am about to purchase the vehicle, am I eligible?

The claims are centred around the argument that, had the purchaser known about the emissions issue/ defective parts, then this would have been a significant factor in their decision to buy the vehicle or to continue to make payments under a finance agreement.

If knowledge of the emissions issue makes little or no difference to your decision to buy the vehicle, then you may not be able to claim. Please do contact us directly on Vauxhall@leighday.co.uk if you would like to discuss your specific circumstances.

How long will the claim take?

At this early stage, it is impossible for us to give an accurate prediction of timescale. As with any legal claim, there are some things within our control and some things outside our control. Much will depend on the Defendants’ response to the legal claim.

In our experience group claims of this type may take two to five years to progress through the Court, but it could take longer. As a client you will be provided with regular updates, particularly in relation to the timescale for next steps which can be predicted more accurately than for the case as a whole.

What is the claim worth?

The types of legal claims we would recommend you bring will depend on your individual circumstances (such as when you bought your vehicle, whether you bought it from an authorised dealer and whether it was paid for using finance). As such it is impossible to say that all claims will be worth a certain amount.

For those clients who are eligible to bring a claim under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (“CPUT”) (those being people who bought their vehicle on or after 1 October 2014, via an approved dealer or using approved finance and for non-business use) are entitled to recover a discount on payments made, ranging from 25% to 100%. The compensation recoverable under other types of claim is more dependent on proving loss and a lower amount may be recoverable than under CPUT.

Has anyone won the claim yet?

This is the first time that these types of claims are being brought against Vauxhall in the English courts. Leigh Day is one of the country’s leading law firms and bringing group actions on behalf of consumers is one of our key areas of speciality. Leigh Day are joint-lead lawyers in a similar emissions litigation on behalf of Volkswagen owners and recently won the first round of the case against Volkswagen in the UK High Court.

Why should I instruct Leigh Day?

Leigh Day is one of the country's leading law firms, we are not a claims management company.

Bringing group actions on behalf of consumers is one of Leigh Day's key areas of specialty and we have been involved in some of the largest group actions ever taken in the UK.

We are joint-lead lawyers in the emissions litigation on behalf of UK Volkswagen owners, and recently won the first round of the case against Volkswagen in the UK High Court.

In that case we argued that Volkswagen had deceived car owners as to the compliance of vehicles with EU Emissions Regulations. Lawyers for the UK drivers argued that Volkswagen engines contained defeat device software which sensed when the vehicle was being tested and so artificially reduced emissions in order to pass that test.

Volkswagen has always argued that the software did not meet the legal definition of a defeat device and so was not illegal. However, in April 2020 the High Court in London found that the decision by the KBA, the German road vehicle authority, that the software was a ‘defeat device’ was binding in the English High Court.

We have also been instructed by thousands of owners of Mercedes, Renault and Nissan vehicles to pursue emissions claims against those manufacturers.

We will be bringing these claims on a 'No Win-No Fee' basis. This means that we will only deduct up to 35% (inclusive of VAT) of your damages if the claim is successful, but if the claim is lost you will not have to pay anything. This is a significantly lower fee than many firms and claims management companies who will charge up to 50% of your damages for the same claim.

Our success fee, the insurance premium and the funders’ fees will never be more than 35% of your damages, irrespective of the number of claimants within the group.

Contact the team

To make a claim, get in touch with our expert consumer lawyers today.

Join the Vauxhall emissions claim