“We strongly believe UK consumers will have a claim against Volkswagen for the premium they paid for a ‘clean’ diesel car as well as costs associated with the recall and increased running costs,” – Bozena Michalowska-Howells, Leigh Day
The lawyer representing more than 1,200 Volkswagen owners has lambasted the German car maker – describing its latest statement, in which it announced a recall of the cars to start in January, with some models requiring ‘serious interventions’, as ‘lamentable’.
Bozena Michalowska-Howells from the Consumer Law and Product Safety group at law firm Leigh Day, slammed VW CEO Matthias Müller’s announcement in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, calling it a ‘waste of breath’ after revealing very little information.
Michalowska-Howells said: “The way in which this is being handled by Volkswagen is staggering. Rather than responding to very serious concerns from their customers, they are providing the minimal information.
“The latest lamentable statement, given today to a German newspaper, does reveal that some customers will need serious interventions to parts of their vehicle. Which cars and what interventions?
“How will anyone be able to buy or sell an affected car without knowing this essential information?”
Last month, Leigh Day, which represents clients all over the world, including in Scotland, started the first stage of legal action against VW, sending a letter to the company demanding a full refund of the premium consumers have paid for their ‘clean’ diesel cars and compensation for other related losses.
The letter, addressed personally to the new VW boss and lawyers for the group, claimed that Volkswagen represented their clean diesel cars as compliant with EU emissions regulations, offering low fuel emissions and giving good fuel economy.
Sent on September 29 2015, it read: “However, if it is found that defeat devices have been used in our clients’ vehicles, this undoubtedly amounts to a misrepresentation and a breach of contract.”
The letter went on to suggest that the German car manufacturer enters into negotiations to set up a settlement scheme “…so as to ensure that vehicle owners are appropriately and speedily compensated whilst minimising legal costs.”
Michalowska-Howells added: “We strongly believe UK consumers will have a claim against Volkswagen for the premium they paid for a ‘clean’ diesel car as well as costs associated with the recall and increased running costs.”