In the diesel affair, German consumer advocates have now launched the first model declaration action in Germany. They are going to court against Volkswagen, the lawsuit was filed in the night on Thursday. It is expected that tens of thousands of people will join the process. The lawsuit could also be relevant for Austria.
Online since today, 13:03
„Volkswagen has cheated and owes injured consumers for damages,“ said the board of the German Consumer Federation (vzbv), Klaus Müller. The more than 240-page document was faxed during the night through several attempts, and in the morning a court spokeswoman confirmed receipt of the lawsuit.
The instrument of the model declaration action is brand new and only in force since Thursday. Consumer advocates can sue for companies representing many victims. The consumers themselves bear no financial risk. The vzbv wants to reach with his complaint that diesel drivers who are affected by the recall at Volkswagen, for the loss of value of their vehicles will be compensated. The aim is that they get the purchase price refunded, said Müller.
Volkswagen is calm
Consumers are expected to see several tens of thousands of people join the lawsuit. Already there are about 40,000 inquiries and interested parties, it said on Wednesday. Even if not everyone really joined in the end, the number was „pleasingly large,“ according to Müller. According to the German motorists‘ club ADAC, which has organized the lawsuit together with the consumer advocates, the procedure is expected to open in mid-November at the Federal Office of Justice.
Volkswagen does not expect that the lawsuit will succeed. Customers in Germany would have no claims despite the „switching logic“ – that is, the blow-up device of the exhaust gas purification flown up in the diesel scandal – said the group. The vehicles are approved, technically safe and ready to drive.
Already 26,600 proceedings pending
In September 2015, VW had to allow manipulation of diesel engines. US environmental agencies had found that only in tests, the exhaust gas cleaning was fully activated, while the output on the road was much higher. The mandatory recall at Volkswagen affects 2.5 million cars.
Their owners and owners can now join the sample suit if they have not already gone to court alone. According to the Wolfsburg-based company, 26,600 cases are currently pending and around 7,400 have been issued so far. These remained largely unsuccessful at the state level. While the group is accused of seeking the settlement at the latest at the level of the higher regional courts, VW emphasized that the number of comparisons is relatively small. The exact number wanted to call but not Volkswagen.
Kolba: Austrians should join suit
Ex-list mushroom club boss and founder of the new consumer protection association (VSV) Peter Kolba advised the 340,000 concerned in Austria Meanwhile, to join the lawsuit. After publication of the complaint by 15 November at the latest, one can log on to the German Federal Office of Justice „free of charge and without risk“, said Kolba. By participating in the lawsuit, it could lead to an interruption of the limitation period for claims for damages, said Kolba.
In Austria itself, among other things, a procedure of the Association for Consumer Information (VKI) against Volkswagen is running. This last laid down against the group. In early October, the VKI announced that the lawsuit against Volkswagen would be extended.
Affected persons would have to enforce demands
„Drivers were held out by Volkswagen long enough. That’s enough, „said vzbv boss Müller. If the consumer centers win the model process, those affected must enforce the amount of the damages themselves and possibly even once again in court. However, the German consumer minister Katarina Barley (SPD) considers it possible that VW in this case is ready for compensation.
If it is clear that there is a claim for damages, the defendant company will „very well consider whether it can still be sued by each individual victim or whether it now quickly, easily and fairly compensated,“ she said.