Car buyers suing Volkswagen over its “clean diesel” deception just got an important ally in their fight - the U.S. government. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen Group in Federal District Court in California, alleging the company falsely advertised that it was selling “clean diesel” vehicles, when in fact, the cars emitted a lot of pollution, but were rigged with software designed to fool emissions testers.
The FTC’s lawsuit was filed in the same court as one of the main consumer lawsuits against VW, which could push the company to settle all of their civil legal issues in one fell swoop. There is also a federal criminal lawsuit pending against VW, which was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency.
I own a Volkswagen, Audi, or Porsche. What should I do?
If you own a Volkswagen, Audi, or Porsche, the first thing you should do is figure out if your car is involved in the scandal. Right now, only the following diesel models have been cited by the EPA for emissions violations:
- Audi A3 (2010-2015)
- Audi A6 Quattro (2014-2016)
- Audi A7 Quattro (2014-2016)
- Audi A8/A8L (2014-2016)
- Audi Q5 (2014-2016)
- Audi Q7 (2009-2016)
- Porsche Cayenne (2014-2016)
- Volkswagen Beetle, Beetle Convertible (2013-2015)
- Volkswagen Golf (2010-2015)
- Volkswagen Golf SportWagen (2015)
- Volkswagen Jetta, Jetta SportWagen (2009-2014)
- Volkswagen Passat (2012-2015)
- Volkswagen Touareg (2009-2016)
If you are not sure whether your car is included in this list you can go to the Volkswagen website and enter your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to determine whether your vehicle has one of the emission test-cheating devices in it. (If you don’t know where to look to find your VIN, check your owner’s manual, it should tell your where to look.)
If your car is on the list of polluters, it is still safe and legal to drive. It will take some time for the company to find and deploy a fix for the emissions issues, and at that time the car will be recalled so the fix can be installed. In the meantime, VW is offering a “Goodwill Package” to people who own vehicles impacted by the scandal, but there is some concern that accepting the gift will limit your ability to file a lawsuit against the company in the future.
If you are interested in joining the legal actions against Volkswagen, you should talk to an attorney.
Even if your car is not on the list, you should keep an eye on this story as it develops. The brand has been so damaged by this scandal that it is possible there will be future litigation over the lost value of other vehicles built by the company. There may also be additional incentives offered to all Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche owners.
If you have further questions about the emissions scandal, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Lemon Law lawyer.