The figures are now out for Ireland and Cantillons Solicitors have been inundated with queries from concerned car-owners. Volkswagen Group Ireland has now announced that some 79,348 vehicles in Ireland will be recalled and affected customers will be contacted in the “near future” to correct the vehicle.
In recent weeks, we have all become aware of an issue with Volkswagen vehicles where diesel emissions were altered with software to pass emissions tests. This affects Irish customers and vehicles.
Cantillons Solicitors recommend that if you think your vehicle is affected, you should put together some information now that might be needed if legal proceedings are issued at a later stage;
1. Car Make and Model
2. Year of Manufacture
3. Date Purchased
4. From whom purchased
5. Purchase price
6. Reason for Purchase
7. Average weekly fuel cost ( and keep receipts)
8. Annual car tax
9. Any sales documents
If a person’s car is affected, they are likely to be called to make modifications to the vehicle. If this occurs, it would be important to keep a record of all the contact with the dealership and find out exactly what is the refit/rectification. It is advisable to have the vehicle examined before and after any corrections are made.
The misrepresentation of those vehicle emissions is not only a blatant breach of contract but also a breach of Legislation. The cars were fraudulently misrepresented to customers. They do not comply with the description by which they were sold.
Many of the car-owners who have contacted us bought these vehicles because of the lower tax bracket associated with the lower emissions. If this recall and rectification impacts the cars’ emissions, it may impact on what Irish drivers pay in motor tax.
The Department of Environment have said that it is keeping the matter under review. There is the possibility that if revised vehicle registration certificates are issued with higher emissions rates, this would affect the rates of motor tax applicable. This may give rise to a claim for compensation for the increased tax payable.
Customers may also be entitled to seek compensation for any increased fuel costs, depreciation of vehicle value, out of pocket expenses and costs associated with future repair, including car hire whilst repairs are being carried out. If Customers had paid a premium for these types of vehicles first day, there may be a refund in the difference in price available.
There might well be the question of Exemplary damages. These vehicles were deliberately and consciously modified to defeat emissions tests tailored to ensure a cleaner environment. Reports suggest that the vehicles might put out up to 40 times as much nitrogen oxide (NOx) as they are supposed to. This is regarded as a nasty pollutant that can exacerbate health conditions. Exemplary damages are a penalty available to the Courts when a defendant's conduct is so grievous that it is appropriate to punish that defendant. Claimants certainly should include such a claim in any proceedings brought against the vehicle manufacturer or seller.
If you have any queries please contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at 021 – 4275673 or [email protected].
* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage of any award or settlement.