American VW diesel owners could get $5,000 pay-out

Volkswagen said it would tell customers how to get their cars corrected
Volkswagen said it would tell customers how to get their cars corrected
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Since the Volkswagen ‘diesel-gate’ scandal broke last year, some have speculated affected owners could be due a windfall as the automotive giant looks to compensate customers.

German newspaper Die Welt cited anonymous sources this week when it reported a deal had been struck between Volkswagen and the US government to compensate North American customers to the tune of $5,000 after the firm was found to have cheated on environmental regulations.

It is not yet clear whether this compensation will go toward the cost of replacing engines, or whether the firm will foot the bill for repairs separately.

But what does that mean for Volkswagen owners in the UK?

Well, Volkswagen has said British owners of cars affected by the emissions issues will NOT receive compensation, arguing it is a ‘very different situation’ to that in the US.

Transport spokesman Lord Younger said drivers were unlikely to suffer losses, but that could not be established for certain.

“The Competition and Markets Authority has not opened a formal investigation but is continuing to assess whether there is evidence of consumer harm.”

“The Government view is that Volkswagen could be liable to compensate consumers for any actual losses they suffered.”

A Volkswagen UK spokesperson commented: “The reports circulating on compensation for US customers are - at this stage - speculation, as the details on the deal are yet to be announced.

“The situation in the US is different to the situation in Europe because emissions regulations stateside are more stringent, and it will be a more costly process to bring affected engines up to standard.

“In the UK, we estimate affected vehicles can be brought within regulations standards within 30 minutes of labour time. In some vehicles the issue can be resolved with a software update, while others can be fixed through a combination of a software change and an adjustment to the airflow meter sensor.”

Volkswagen UK’s boss has previously apologised ‘unreservedly’ for the emissions issues.

But while it appears disruption to UK customers will not be as extreme as it is in the US, our consumer columnist, James Walker, of Resolver.co.uk, thinks consumers could have grounds to complain: “If Volkswagen is found to have deliberately mislead customers about the emissions or fuel economy of its diesel engines, it will come out.

“At that point a Volkswagen owner may well have cause to seek some form of redress, as their cars may have cost them more than was promised to run, as well as being worth less on the secondhand market.”