A federal judge has just approved the largest automotive industry settlement in US history. Volkswagen’s has settled with regulators and owners of 475,000 diesel vehicles to the tune of nearly $15 billion. The German automaker says it will begin buying back the vehicles in mid-November.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco approved the settlement on Tuesday, marking the latest development in a scandal that has rocked VW since September 2015, when it acknowledged using software in its diesel vehicles to cheat exhaust emissions tests and make them seem cleaner than they were.
Earlier in 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Volkswagen for falsely claiming that its diesel cars had low levels of harmful emissions. The FTC order requires that Volkswagen provide up to $10 billion to owners and lessees of VW and Audi 2.0 liter diesel cars.
If you own a VW diesel vehicle, model year 2009-2015, there are a number of steps and deadlines involved in filing your claim. The FTC has released the following guidelines for people who own or lease a 2009 to 2015 VW TDI Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Passat or Audi TDI A3.
- You have until September 1, 2018 to submit a claim. You can change your mind about which option you want until you bring your car in to VW.
- You can submit a claim on com, or call 1-844-98-CLAIM to request a paper claim form. In order to complete your claim, you will need certain documents, including the vehicle title and proof of registration.
- After you submit your claim, VW has 10 business days to tell you whether your claim is complete. If your claim isn’t complete, VW will tell you what you need to do to complete it.
- After your claim is complete, VW has 10 business days to review it and confirm that you’re eligible. Then, you can schedule an appointment. You will be able to choose from different options.
- If you choose:
- buyback, you will be able to schedule an appointment within the next 90 days.
- lease termination, you will be able to schedule an appointment within the next 45 days.
- an approved emissions modification, VW will notify you when a modification is available for your vehicle. Once a modification is available, you will be able to schedule an appointment within 90 days.
- If your car was drivable on September 16, 2016, but isn’t drivable on the day of your buyback or approved emissions modification appointment, you’re still eligible for some compensation. Visit comor call VW at 1-844-98-CLAIM for more information.
- You can choose to get your payment by check at your appointment, or have it deposited electronically to your bank account within three banking days. If you have a car loan, VW will apply your buyback payment to the loan and pay you any remaining amount. If, at your buyback appointment, your car’s mileage is more than the expected mileage range from when you submitted your claim, your buyback amount could be reduced. If that happens, you will get a check within three banking days.
- When your buyback or approved emissions modification is complete, VW will give you an itemized receipt that shows the amount you received and explains any adjustment, such as mileage or a loan payment.
You can use the buyback money however you want. You don’t have to spend it on a car from VW or any other manufacturer. If anyone offers to buy your car outside the settlement, or pressures you to “Act now!”, walk away. If you see something that doesn’t seem to follow the terms of the settlement, please report it to the FTC.