At least one disgruntled Volkswagen customer thinks the courts in Canada did not go far enough in sending a message to the automaker that cheating won’t be tolerated.
“A corporation lied, cheated and defrauded consumers for profit,” said Charl Roy of Ottawa.
“This was an opportunity for our [class-action lawsuit] consortium to send a clear message to big business that these kinds of situations — cheating or lying for profit — is unacceptable. I really feel our legal system did not send a clear message,” Roy said.
“The penalty is a drop in the bucket for Volkswagen.”
Roy bought a used 2011 Jetta for $13,000, and based on the valuation of almost $10,000 plus the “sorry money” of $5,100, she will receive more than she paid.
She considers herself lucky.
“I really feel sorry for those who financed for long terms thinking they would keep the car forever and now that may not be possible because of the uncertainty of having (it fixed) by 2018,” she said.
The magnitude of the scandal led to a Canadian VW TDI Owners Facebook Group, which has more than 12,000 members. Some are satisfied with the settlement, but there is also disgruntlement and confusion about the online process to determine the valuation of their cars.
Most Volkswagen owners caught up in the scandal, however, think the settlement to be fair and reasonable, said a lawyer representing the class-action suit.
“This is by far the largest consumer settlement that has ever been arrived at in Canada,” said Charles Wright, a lead lawyer for the plaintiffs. “It’s the biggest and strongest remedy ever available to vehicle owners following the allegation or admission that there was a problem with their vehicles. It is somewhat unprecedented.”
“This was the kind of case where there were a lot of people who were upset and hoping somebody would represent them and bring forward the case,” Wright said.
“The vast majority of people think (the settlement) is fair.”
Buyers who purchased or leased Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel cars in Canada between 2009 and 2015 have several options, including selling the cars back to the company and receiving financial damages compensation, following a settlement that could cost the Germany-based automaker $2.1 billion.
Volkswagen Group Canada Inc. announced a settlement on April 21, following a class-action lawsuit that began in Ontario on Sept. 18, 2015, and expanded to include Quebec. The lawsuit originated on the same day the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) served notice that Volkswagen used software to circumvent laboratory testing for nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions that could emit 10-40 times the allowable limit in normal driving situations.