The European Commission (EC) has told German car manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) to compensate customers across the European Union for misleading them over vehicle emissions, known as “dieselgate” when it was exposed six years ago.
Together with the Consumer Protection Cooperation, the EC said VW breached EU consumer protection law when it sold diesel vehicles fitted with devices to cheat emissions tests.
VW has only agreed to compensate its vehicle owners living in Germany at the time of purchase, but the EC has called on the company to extend this to all affected consumers across all EU countries.
Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice, said: “Up until now, not all consumers have been compensated. There have been court rulings exposing Volkswagen’s unfair treatment of consumers, and yet the carmaker is not willing to work with consumer organisations to find appropriate solutions for consumers.
“Not only consumers residing in Germany, but all consumers need to be compensated,” Mr Reynders said.
VW is expected to pay €750m to more than 230,000 of its vehicle owners in Germany.
But VW told the EC that compensation to EU consumers outside Germany is not justified because all affected vehicles have been recalled to meet legal requirements.
The EC said it is “mounting the pressure” on VW to change its stance.
Speaking to AFP, Mr Reynders said VW faces reputational risk if it does not pay out across the EU. “It’s really a trust question for consumers,” he said.
Mr Reynders added that VW should voluntarily pay compensation of about €3,000 per vehicle in line with average court orders in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.