Policy & Politics
Published on March 4th, 2017 |
by James Ayre
March 4th, 2017 by James Ayre
Despite the approval of the Volkswagen TDI vehicle buyback settlement 4 months ago (for diesel cars that are equipped with defeat devices allowing for illegally high emissions), some owners are still waiting for their paperwork to go through.
Specifically, those who financed the purchase of their vehicles with third-party lenders (local credit unions, banks, etc.) have reportedly been experiencing “lags in response” from Volkswagen. This is due primarily to lenders being wary of sharing information about the loans that would violate privacy policies.
Let’s go through some background here for a minute before going further:
- A US judge approved the current $14.7 billion buyback settlement affecting vehicles with 2-liter diesel engines last October.
- The settlement affects around 475,000 vehicles.
- To date, over 360,000 owners and lessees have submitted claims.
- Volkswagen has now given offers to around 300,000 of these people.
- Around 250,000 of these offers have been accepted.
- And around 125,000 of these accepted offers have been completed.
- By the terms of the settlement, 85% of the after vehicles need to be removed from the roads of the US (bought back) or modified to meet regulations by 2018. If these terms aren’t met then the company will be required to pay a fine.
The Los Angeles Times provides more on the story noted at the top: “Elizabeth Cabraser, lead counsel for the consumer plaintiffs in the VW case and lead settlement class counsel for the 2- and 3-liter vehicle settlements, said she has seen recurring issues with third-party lenders who are sometimes leery of disclosing drivers’ loan amounts when asked by Volkswagen representatives.”
“There has been very steady improvement as the program has rolled out,” Cabraser commented. “Most of the transactions are happening very promptly.”
Those who are encountering problems can contact the plaintiffs steering committee’s response team at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 948-2181.
The Los Angeles Times coverage also included two customer stories that seem worth covering here:
“Jamie Caffrey, 36, used a third-party lender to get a loan for his 2014 Jetta TDI Sportwagen. He registered for the buyback over the summer and then uploaded all of his paperwork in October when the online claims filing system went live.
“Caffrey, a real estate investor who lives in Hollywood, said he has waited for months to get a buyback offer. Volkswagen later contacted him to ask for additional paperwork, but when he recently called to check the status of his application, he said he was told that the document had been accidentally rejected and that he would have to resubmit it. …
“VW driver Adam Hooper, 35, said he understood that the process was a ‘pretty big logistics nightmare,’ but that the company should have increased its communication with customers to let them know how the claims process was progressing.
“Hooper, who had a 2013 Passat, said he registered on the claims portal over the summer but did not receive a buyback offer until late December. He finally turned in his car last week.”
Hooper commented: “It just seems like there were a lot of misses in how it was all handled. They had an opportunity to kind of do it right and retain some brand loyalty, but … I don’t think I will ever have the desire to buy another Volkswagen.”
He’s certainly not the only one who thinks that way now, if the comments sections on earlier articles I’ve written on the topic are anything to go on. Assuming things are as bad as they seem, I have to wonder why the company botched things so badly.
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