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Volkswagen: Beyond the Stench of the Emissions-Cheating Scandal

Jun 11, 2017

What is the status of the environmental claims against Volkswagen?

Richard Branson got it right when he said, “Your brand name is only as good as your reputation.”

It can take decades to build a reputation and only moments to destroy it. So when German automaker Volkswagen was exposed for “its decade-long scheme to cheat on diesel emissions tests”, its reputation went in the tank. And there it has largely stayed since 2015 when the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) made its first accusations against the automaker.

In a nutshell, as we’ve reported previously on this blog that the automaker was the subject of consumer fraud and other state and federal civil lawsuits stemming from the intention rigging of about “600,000 cars equipped with devices that illegally circumvented emissions rules” . Worse, during this time of intentional cheating of rules specifically-designed to help the environment, Volkswagen reportedly marketed these vehicles as environmentally-friendly—allegations that championed the case for consumer fraud against Volkswagen. Beyond the actions against the company, six executives are facing individual criminal charges for their “role in the scandal”.

In the latest of many efforts by the disgraced automaker to revive its reputation and regain the trust of “consumers, regulators, and the public”, Volkswagen recently settled lawsuits with 10 states, including Pennsylvania and New York, for damages caused to the environment in those states as a result of the emissions-cheating systems. This marked the first time a state level (as opposed a federal level) suit was successful.

The settlement may be a step in the right direction. Regulators have ever-so-slightly loosened the total ban on Volkswagen diesel engine cars that was instituted when the cheating came to light. After the slap on the automaker’s wrist, Volkswagen was allowed to return a limited number of diesel vehicles to the American market—with updated and compliant emissions systems, of course.

Another part of Volkswagen’s legal obligation is to bring up its number of all-electric, non-diesel vehicles from 1 to 3 by 2020. While headway is being made in the United States, there are European claims to resolve as well.

Consumer protection statutes are designed to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive conduct in consumer transactions.

If you feel you’ve been the victim of consumer or dealer fraud or are driving a lemon, the experienced attorneys at Timothy Abeel & Associates can help. Call us today at 888-611-5481. You may be entitled to a new car, a full refund, or a cash settlement.

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