AG: Volkswagen to pay $26M to Washington over consumer fraud

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

From the Office of the State Attorney General

Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced a more than $26 million agreement with Volkswagen over its deceptive marketing of its “clean diesel” vehicles, plus restitution for consumers and billions in investments in clean technology development and environmental mitigation.

The $26.1 million recovery is believed to represent the third-largest Consumer Protection recovery in Washington’s history.

In related litigation, hundreds of millions of dollars will be returned to Washington consumers as restitution, and Volkswagen will either buy back or repair affected vehicles.

“Consumers specifically sought these supposedly green vehicles in an effort to make a better choice for the environment, only to discover Volkswagen deliberately deceived them,” Ferguson said. “Volkswagen pulled a bait-and-switch on Washington consumers, and our agreement holds them accountable.”

The announcement is part of a series of state and federal agreements that will provide cash payments to affected consumers and require Volkswagen to buy back or modify certain VW and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles.

AG Ferguson, along with attorneys general of five other states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Tennessee), co-led a multi-state coalition of states and jurisdictions investigating the allegations against Volkswagen. The group raised numerous consumer protection claims, which are resolved by today’s agreements. They also resolve actions against Volkswagen brought by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), California and car owners in private class action suits.

As a result of the agreement with the attorneys general, Volkswagen will pay the states $1,100 per car for repeated violations of consumer protection laws, for a total of $570 million nationwide.

This includes $24,387,000 to Washington for the 22,170 affected vehicles sold in the state. Washington will also receive an additional $1,739,120 for its role as a leader in the investigation, for a total of more than $26 million.

Volkswagen will also pay $20 million to the states for their costs in investigating this matter and to establish a fund that state attorneys general can utilize for future initiatives, including investigations concerning emissions violations and automobile compliance.

Under the agreements, Volkswagen is required to implement a restitution and recall program for more than 475,000 owners and lessees of 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, of the model year 2009 through 2015 at a maximum cost of just over $10 billion. This includes 22,170 vehicles in Washington. See the list in the full article here.

The agreement preserves all claims under state environmental laws. Consequently, Washington maintains the right to seek environmental penalties from Volkswagen for its violations of environmental and emissions laws and regulations. The full details of the agreement are available online.


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