A court in Amsterdam has ordered car manufacturer Volkswagen to pay owners of cars found to have manipulated software €3,000 in compensation for loss of value.
In 2015 it was discovered that VW had installed software in many of its diesel models which gave a more favourable reading of emissions than was actually the case.
Now the Dutch court has ruled that the difference between the apparent and the real values means the cars are worth less now than they appeared to be, and has granted all purchasers €3,000 compensation for loss of value.
For purchasers of second-hand cars in the category, the compensation amounts to €1,500. The total compensation in the Netherlands alone could amount to €450 million, according to estimates.
The compensation case also includes cars equipped with the VW software, including badges such as Skoda, Audi and SEAT.
The judgement directly affects some 150,000 owners who joined up to the class-action suit. The judge ruled that a car bought in good faith ought to be assumed to comply with the rules, which the cars concerned did not.
That’s a breakthrough for owners in the Netherlands, but what about Volkswagen owners in Belgium?
The Dutch case is an important precedent for Belgian can owners who were prey to the same type of fraud, according to Simon November of the consumer organisation Test Achats.
“We have also been involved in a lawsuit against the car manufacturer since 2016, to obtain compensation for Belgian buyers. Negotiations with Volkswagen turned out to be nothing. Next year in February, the case should be dealt with on the merits in court,” he said.
As well as the Dutch case, lawsuits against Volkswagen have also been successful in Germany and Italy.
“Very recently there was a ruling in Italy where 63,000 Volkswagen owners received a total of €200 million in damages,” November said.
“We are therefore pleased that the court in Amsterdam has convicted Volkswagen and said that there was fraud.”
An appeal against the judgement is being considered.