In the suit filed Sept. 18, 2015 – the first filed against VW regarding its use of fraudulent software – an owner of a CleanDiesel Volkswagen accused Volkswagen Group of America of fraudulent concealment, false advertising and violations of federal and state laws. Hagens Berman has filed another lawsuit with clients from more than 20 states on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, and expects to have cases on file for every state by the end of this week. The firm expects to have representatives from all states following an unprecedented response from the first filed complaint.
After receiving over a thousand inquiries from outraged owners of VW and Audi “CleanDiesel” cars, the firm is continuing to expand its lawsuit and is seeking information from affected owners in all 50 states. If you own one of the vehicles listed below, contact our legal team now.
According to the EPA, Volkswagen installed its deceptive software, called a “defeat device,” in at least the following diesel models of its vehicles: Jetta (model years 2009 – 2015), Beetle (model years 2009 – 2015), Audi A3 (model years 2009 – 2015), Golf (model years 2009 – 2015) and Passat (model years 2014 – 2015).
The lawsuit states that during normal operation, these vehicles emit NOx at up to 40 times the standard allowed under U.S. laws and regulations. During emissions tests, the software in the Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles detects testing, and turns on full emissions controls, but only during the test.
“The half-a-million people who own these cars are furious, and with good reason,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman. “Not only did they pay more for something they never received, but they’ve been victim to a tremendous act of deception. Volkswagen marketed these cars as clean, even calling them ‘CleanDiesel,’ while knowingly implementing this software to cheat emissions tests. And it chose to target the group of consumers who care most about being environmentally conscious.”
Berman, who was lead counsel in the $1.6 billion Toyota settlement for plaintiffs who suffered loss of vehicle value, and took on GM following its ignition switch defect recalls, said, “The economic loss in this case against Volkswagen rivals that of GM and Toyota.”
The firm has continued to receive responses from consumers who feel that Volkswagen has committed consumer fraud, leaving them with either an illegally polluting car, or a recalled, underperforming vehicle. In both cases the car is now worth less than what they originally paid. In angry emails from CleanDiesel owners, consumers have stated:
- I paid a premium for a Golf TDI because I was promised that it was “Clean Diesel.” I was told that the emissions were better than a standard gas automobile. In addition, I was also promised high fuel economy. I now feel I have been defrauded by these claims.
- I trusted VW on the performance, handling, efficiency, resale, historic durability of diesel, and ‘eco friendliness’ of this car and I feel completely deceived. I’m concerned that when it comes time for ‘the fix,’ I will be left with a crippled vehicle that has absolutely no power or resale value. I’m embarrassed to drive this on the road.
- We strive to protect the environment and feel that we have been completely taken advantage of by VW’s false and misleading advertising.
- I am leasing a diesel VW Golf. I made a $7,000 down payment and am currently paying almost $350/mo for this car. It turns out this car is not at all what I thought I was buying. I would never have spent so much on a car with such high emissions of harmful gases.
From reference to Volkswagen’s MSRP on its website, vehicle owners who purchased Volkswagen’s diesel vehicles paid anywhere from $1,000 to $7,000 more for vehicles with the diesel engines, as opposed to the same models with standard gas engines.