The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal – Are there legal emissions?
As anyone who has been keeping an eye on the news recently will know, the VW group has been engulfed in a huge scandal over emissions cheating devices in their vehicles.
The scandal involves special software placed in VW cars (and many more like Audi, Seat, Skoda which all use VW diesel engines) that was intended to trick emissions tests for nitrogen oxide in the United States.
But what implications does it have for you?
The company has admitted to the German authorities that the same software used in the U.S was also fitted to cars here. Volkswagen is planning on recalling up to 80,000 vehicles in Ireland alone and up to 11 million worldwide the company have themselves disclosed.
What impact will the recall have on my car?
The impact after the proposed fixes is at this stage unclear.
VW has not said how the removal of the cheat software will impact on fuel economy or CO2 emissions.
If it does raise the amount of CO2 emitted then you could be liable for higher motor tax costs in the future.
According to the Department of the Environment the level of emissions are determined by a Certificate provided by the manufacturer. They have said that “Should revised Vehicle Registration Certificates be issued for such vehicles in order to reflect the actual level of emissions relating to them, this would affect the rates of motor tax applicable.”
Many people bought their cars on the basis of the low tax bracket that they believed that they would be in.
The engines may also use more fuel that they did prior to the recall.
Dealers may be reluctant to take in an affected car in part exchange. Strong resale value was always a major factor for people in purchasing VW group cars and owners could see the effects of the scandal when the time comes to sell their cars.
Another impact for you as an owner could be a potential loss of value of your car.
What can I do about it?
News about the scandal is still breaking on an almost daily basis and the situation is constantly evolving with the effects still unclear.
At this point, we would urge anyone who thinks that they may be affected to gather records of their ownership. This would include any paperwork that you have showing your ownership, receipts of tax paid on the car, fuel bills and anything else that might be relevant.
Anything that can show a cost to you as the consumer will be helpful in proving your case later.
If a person’s car has been affected, they are likely to be called by Volkswagen to make modifications to the vehicle.
It is important to keep a record of all contact that you have with Volkswagen Group Ireland and the dealership.
You may have received a letter from Volkswagen telling you that your car is subject to the recall, but if you have not, Volkswagen has set up a website that allows you to check if your car has been impacted. It can be accessed here – https://www.campaigncheck.ie
What about my legal rights?
When selling products to consumers, manufacturers are required by law to ensure that the products are of merchantable quality, fit for the purpose intended and are in line with how they are described.
If after the recall, Volkswagen products no longer meet the high standards of fuel economy and emissions that were claimed previously, Volkswagen could be liable for fraudulently misrepresenting their products.
Low emissions, strong resale value, and good fuel economy: if any of these were a real and substantial reason in leading you to purchase a Volkswagen group car then you may have a claim for misrepresentation and breach of contract.
At this point it is difficult to assess what the loss will be to you as the owner, but we are maintaining a database of clients who are interested in pursuing or exploring the legal aspects of this fraudulent misrepresentation. If you would like to be added to the list simply email us at [email protected].