Dieselgate started in 2015 when it was discovered that Volkswagen implanted fraudulent software to show lower emission of harmful fumes when its cars are being tested. After much pressure, Volkswagen started to install what was supposed to be corrective new software.
However, a recent Euroconsumers’ survey showed that 45% of the cars which underwent the software update that Volkswagen proposed as a remedy to the Dieselgate scandal face problems (such as increase in fuel consumption, loss of power and/or mechanical problems). In Belgium although 23% of garages recognised that the problem was related to the software update, 78% of the car owners impacted by VW’s fraudulent practices had to pay for repairs to the tune of an average amount of 859 euros!
Test Achats, the Belgian consumer organisation and its sister organisations in Spain, Italy and Portugal conducted a survey of 10,600 VW car owners. The survey shows that more than 4 out of 10 car owners of those who made the update of the software reported a negative impact on their vehicle including an increase in fuel consumption, a loss of power and even mechanical problems. The new survey shows that the update of software has not rectified matters. The survey showed that consumers experienced problems also with the EGR valve which regulated the emission of nitrogen dioxide.
It is shameful that VW continues to refuse to pay compensation while it does not seem to be able to fix the fraudulent software it installed in its cars.
It should be remembered that in the United States, VW paid 15 billion dollars to its customers as compensation. Not only that but legal action had been taken against VW officials.
In contrast, in Europe nothing of the sort took place and no compensation is planned for Europe. The European Union institutions are complacent and do not intend to take any action to defend consumer rights against the interests of a big European company such as VW in spite of the fact that apart from implanting fraudulent software to give the impression that the diesel emissions are low they have funded ‘unjustifiable’ diesel fume tests on humans.
European consumers, including many Maltese, are frustrated that the European Union Institutions seem to be impotent with regard to this issue. The Consumers’ Association Malta is writing to the Maltese MEPs to put pressure on the European Parliament to take initiative and take action for the benefit of European consumers and ends this saga once and for all.