When you first purchase a car you are told certain facts, figures and features about the vehicle. To find out later that some of those figures were modified causes a growing problem, which Volkswagen is just starting to deal with.
Volkswagen is offering $500 in cash and $500 in VW dealer credit to owners of its diesel cars, a first step in compensating them in the wake of a global emissions-test cheating scandal.
The “goodwill package” is a stopgap measure while the automaker works on a way to fix the cars, which contain software designed to evade U.S. pollution regulations.
The automaker says customers don’t have to give up their right to sue the company — as thousands already are — but some attorneys are disputing that and warning customers not to sign an arbitration clause required to get the money.
It is a complete end run around the litigation that is in place,” said Amy Williams-Derry, an attorney with Keller Rohrback, one of the law firm’s pursuing class action litigation against the automaker. “They are trying to buy off plaintiffs who have already sued and consumers who would benefit from a class-action recovery.”
Some of the hundreds of cases already filed seek to have VW buy back the vehicles for the full price the customers originally paid.
To get the money, VW customers must visit www.vwdieselinfo.com, enter their Vehicle Identification Number, their mileage and contact information. They will also have to take their car to a dealer to activate the gift cards to prove that they own the vehicle.
Customers will also get access to a free 24-hour roadside assistance program for three years.