ACM and European Commission press Volkswagen to solve consumer problems surrounding the diesel scandal swiftly
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has, together with other European consumer authorities, called on Volkswagen to accommodate swiftly all owners of diesel cars with modified software. In the Netherlands, far from all owners of such cars have been informed clearly about the following aspects:
- why their car need to be repaired;
- what can or will happen if they do not have their cars repaired, e.g. what will happen to the warranty?;
- the fact that the repair is free of charge, and that the warranty will be extended;
- what they should do if problems arised after the repair;
Volkswagen must further guarantee that the repair of the car does not affect the driving characteristics and the overall performance of the car.
The European consumer authorities are of the opinion that Volkswagen has not sufficiently fulfilled the promises that it had previously made regarding the repair of cars. For example, Volkswagen promised that all cars would be repaired by the fall of 2017. Through a so-called ‘common position,’ they have therefore called on Volkswagen to take action. Volkswagen has one month to indicate how it will solve these consumer problems in various European countries. After that deadline, member states, including the Netherlands, may take enforcement actions.
In September 2015, Volkswagen informed that 170,000 cars had been sold in the Netherlands in which software had been installed that was able to manipulate the emission tests. That is why the software in all of these cars must be revised. Volkswagen should inform owners sufficiently and clearly, so that they are able to make a well-informed decision on whether or not they will have their cars repaired. In most EU countries, including the Netherlands, far from all harmed consumers have been approached, and, therefore, not all cars have been repaired. Volkswagen now has one month to let European authorities know that they will provide clarity to harmed consumers after all, and how Volkswagen intends to do so.
In late-2016, ACM also launched an investigation into Volkswagen in connection with possible violations of consumer protection rules. ACM expects to publish the results of this investigation later this year.