TALKS involving European consumer protection officials are being planned to discuss possible compensation for owners of cars caught up in the VW ‘dieselgate’ affair.
European consumer commissioner Vera Jourova is to meet consumer groups and Volkswagen in the coming weeks to discuss the issue – and ensure that the issue of payouts is fully explored.
The European Commission is currently assessing whether Volkswagen’s actions have caused breaches of two regulations: the Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive; and the Unfair Commercial Practises Directive.
Both directives apply across the EU and include clauses that require companies not to exaggerate claims regarding products’ environmental credentials in sales pitches.
Jourova commented: ‘These pieces of legislation set high standards for all the member states to enforce in case these rules are breached. It seems to be the case in so-called dieselgate.
‘It is not my intention to come with strong action without fair communication with the company. I cannot say I am going to take a stricter approach. I want them to look at the valid legislation and see what they have to do.’
Volkswagen has pledged compensation to buyers of affected vehicles in the United States, amounting to $15 billion, but has yet to accede to requests to do the same in Europe as the different regulations make the legal case less clear.
For its part, the company has rejected claims that is has breached EU directives. Volkswagen added: ‘Notwithstanding, in the meantime we are in regular and constructive dialogue with the Brussels authorities and institutions.’
It has been almost a year since news of the dieselgate scandal first broke in September 2015, when a variety of Volkswagen vehicles fitted with diesel engines were found to have been fitted with a ‘defeat device’ to allow the cars to pass new and more stringent Euro 6 emissions regulations in test conditions but revert to more polluting modes in road use.
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