VW Emissions Scandal Problem

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Jul 26, 2018
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#1
My 2014 Jetta TDI was totaled in a freeway accident on June 14, 2016, a week before the initial claims settlement was to be released. On suggestion of legal council in communication with VW, I withheld turning over my vehicle to insurance until the settlement was released, in case I needed to still be in possession of the title. There was no way to know what to do at the time. The insurance company paid me out in the meantime for the totaled vehicle.

When the initial settlement was released in June of 2016, it stated that those who gave up possession of their titles after the date of the release would not be eligible. When I called VW at the time, they told me to hang on to it until further details were released. I waited as long as I could – about a month – before the insurance company had the car towed back to my house and in my parking spot.

I waited months until the official release, at which point VW claimed that if the car could run by its own engine, it was eligible for the buyback. My car, while suffering severe body damage, could still drive, albeit poorly (the hood was dragging). When I spoke to a VW representative, they said that it didn’t matter, the only qualification was the engine still running and it being able to drive around the parking lot. So I waited until March of 2017, when I had the appointment for the buyback.

The records show that I brought the vehicle in and VW almost took it back. However, after several hours they decided it would not be able to make it up on the truck, and so said they could not do anything. I called another representative, he informed me there was a special department handling totaled vehicles, and I would be eligible for the restitution under that.

Not once did anyone mention that the totaled vehicle needed to be transferred to the insurance company. I did in fact have my lawyer contact my insurance company (Progressive), to see if they could get the same offer for the salvage yard ($3500.) Progressive said they couldn’t do anything with the vehicle any longer, that I would have had to turn it over within a month of the accident, so I did the next logical thing – I called junk yards myself to get rid of the vehicle which had been in my driveway for a year, reminding me daily of the freeway accident.

I found someone who would buy it and pick it up the next day, and I thought everything was finally taken care of and I would be receiving the restitution in the months to come, only to be told in September 2017 that because I had sold it to a third party I was no longer eligible. This seemed highly unfair, as no one from VW during hours of communication and even at the dealership ever once mentioned this.

I then made a claim to the appeal court, which took another ten months to process, and from which I received a generic letter saying my claim was denied. I tried contacting the lawyer I had spoken with at VW, Tyra, who had been very understanding of my case, but her phone number no longer worked.

I am beyond frustrated. I feel whipped around and completely misled by VW, and all I would like is the restitution for the damage done by the scandal. I'm just hoping for someone at VW to realize how poorly my case was handled, and make the appropriate reparations. I do not want to hire a lawyer or file for small claims court for a settlement that I am being excluded from based on a loophole.
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#4
I am shocked you received a settlement check from the insurance company without handing over the title. That being said, click on the above link for the company contacts and look for VW, if we don't have them, put in a request.

I would shorten your post/ what will be your letter to only include the facts such as:
My vehicle was in an accident on June 14th, 2016 and determined to be a total loss by the insurance company.
I called VW on this date and was told to keep the title until further notice.
Official release of settlement was on this date.
I had a buyback appointment in March 2017.
etc.

One other thing, you mentioned appeals court, did you just mean VW's appeals process? If this has already been adjudicated in court, you may have to work up the chain of appeals. If this was just VW's process, then write to the executive contacts, one at a time, waiting 1-2 weeks in between each.

Keep the other stuff out of it, the person reading your letter will have had to sort through hundreds of e-mails already, so keeping it short and polite works the best.
Otherwise, I think small claims would be your best bet.
 
Likes: AmyMinderhout

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#5
I am shocked you received a settlement check from the insurance company without handing over the title. That being said, click on the above link for the company contacts and look for VW, if we don't have them, put in a request.

I would shorten your post/ what will be your letter to only include the facts such as:
My vehicle was in an accident on June 14th, 2016 and determined to be a total loss by the insurance company.
I called VW on this date and was told to keep the title until further notice.
Official release of settlement was on this date.
I had a buyback appointment in March 2017.
etc.

One other thing, you mentioned appeals court, did you just mean VW's appeals process? If this has already been adjudicated in court, you may have to work up the chain of appeals. If this was just VW's process, then write to the executive contacts, one at a time, waiting 1-2 weeks in between each.

Keep the other stuff out of it, the person reading your letter will have had to sort through hundreds of e-mails already, so keeping it short and polite works the best.
Otherwise, I think small claims would be your best bet.
If she received a check from the insurance company and was paid for the car - you can't double dip. Why should VW pay her again for the car? This doesn't make sense. It actually borders on fraud if she was already paid by the insurance company. That may be why her claim was denied. They would have a record in the history of the title of the car being totaled and the insurance paying her.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jul 26, 2018
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#6
To clarify: I'm not looking to double dip. The VW settlement is in regards to the cheating scandal on the emissions, and those who owned a VW affected by it were entitled to a restitution fee for having been lied to. Basically, I was trying to do whatever they told me in order to get the restitution, and at the end of the day they completely led me astray in this. It was a very specialized case, having been in the accident only days before the initial settlement release. For instance, if my car had been totaled out and I had turned over the title to Progressive two months prior, I would be receiving the restitution right now. None of this would've been an issue if the VW rep I spoke to hadn't told me to hold onto the vehicle. I spent over ten overs on phone calls with reps trying to work this out, and thought I had it figured out at the dealership, only to be denied a year later.
 
Jul 26, 2018
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#7
If she received a check from the insurance company and was paid for the car - you can't double dip. Why should VW pay her again for the car? This doesn't make sense. It actually borders on fraud if she was already paid by the insurance company. That may be why her claim was denied. They would have a record in the history of the title of the car being totaled and the insurance paying her.
Again, not trying to double dip. Trying to get the restitution for being lied to about the emissions. Owners of vehicles who's cars had been totaled received a $6000 restitution. I didn't receive one because I still had the title in my possession as of June 20th and VW made it sound like if I turned my vehicle over at that time I would get nothing. Therefore I held onto it until they released the official settlement, at which time VW had still not figured out what to do with totaled vehicles. At that point my option was to bring it down to the dealership, which I did. That's when they said I would still be eligible for the restitution, and then they denied it to me based on the title alone. Make sense?
 
Jul 26, 2018
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#8
I am shocked you received a settlement check from the insurance company without handing over the title. That being said, click on the above link for the company contacts and look for VW, if we don't have them, put in a request.

I would shorten your post/ what will be your letter to only include the facts such as:
My vehicle was in an accident on June 14th, 2016 and determined to be a total loss by the insurance company.
I called VW on this date and was told to keep the title until further notice.
Official release of settlement was on this date.
I had a buyback appointment in March 2017.
etc.

One other thing, you mentioned appeals court, did you just mean VW's appeals process? If this has already been adjudicated in court, you may have to work up the chain of appeals. If this was just VW's process, then write to the executive contacts, one at a time, waiting 1-2 weeks in between each.

Keep the other stuff out of it, the person reading your letter will have had to sort through hundreds of e-mails already, so keeping it short and polite works the best.
Otherwise, I think small claims would be your best bet.

Thank you, great advice. I will try this first. It's been very challenging to get anyone higher up the chain of command on the phone, so I will try emailing.
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#9
The emissions settlement would be different than the insurance payment. As I understand it, the emissions settlement was to either buy back the car or repair the car AND to pay an amount to each owner. To me, she is entitled to the additional amount as an owner of one of the vehicles covered. However, maybe by trying to go the buyback route is what is causing her issues?
 
Jul 26, 2018
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#10
Yes, from the beginning I've made it clear to VW that the only thing I was interested in why the restitution and not a buyback. However, because of the way their settlement was originally framed, this is what the VW reps told me to do. When I went to the dealership one of the reps even recommended I get a quick fix on the hood, drop a few grand into the totaled vehicle, to make it so they would buy it back. I told them no thanks, I was not interested in the buyback as long as they would compensate me for the restitution. It's really been such a mess!!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,789
12,762
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#11
Yes, from the beginning I've made it clear to VW that the only thing I was interested in why the restitution and not a buyback. However, because of the way their settlement was originally framed, this is what the VW reps told me to do. When I went to the dealership one of the reps even recommended I get a quick fix on the hood, drop a few grand into the totaled vehicle, to make it so they would buy it back. I told them no thanks, I was not interested in the buyback as long as they would compensate me for the restitution. It's really been such a mess!!
Ok now I understand. What kind of restitution are you talking about?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#12
I am not sure that this is something that can be addressed by customer service. This is a legal issue as done by the settlement. The restitution amount is set by the settlement and is different from the buy back issue.

The the problem as I see it is that this exact scenario is covered on the claim form, page 12, section 11

https://www.vwcourtsettlement.com/w...PSC/Approved Exhibit 3 - Long Form Notice.pdf -- paige


If you owned an Eligible Vehicle that was functioning and operable as of September 18, 2015, but was
subsequently totaled (and the title was transferred to an insurance company), you will be eligible for
benefits under the Class Action Settlement as described in this notice at Question 19.


The question of selling the car is covered under page 13, section 12

But if you sold your car after the September 16, 2016 opt-out deadline, you are bound by the Class Action Settlement but
are not eligible for settlement benefits.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 19, 2015
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#13
Quick question -- did you ever consult a lawyer -- the class members have lawyers appointed free.

I respectfully disagree that you should contact the execs -- they are not going to tangle with a legal settlement, you need to contact the lawyers for the class members
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#14
I am shocked you received a settlement check from the insurance company without handing over the title. That being said, click on the above link for the company contacts and look for VW, if we don't have them, put in a request.

I would shorten your post/ what will be your letter to only include the facts such as:
My vehicle was in an accident on June 14th, 2016 and determined to be a total loss by the insurance company.
I called VW on this date and was told to keep the title until further notice.
Official release of settlement was on this date.
I had a buyback appointment in March 2017.
etc.

One other thing, you mentioned appeals court, did you just mean VW's appeals process? If this has already been adjudicated in court, you may have to work up the chain of appeals. If this was just VW's process, then write to the executive contacts, one at a time, waiting 1-2 weeks in between each.

Keep the other stuff out of it, the person reading your letter will have had to sort through hundreds of e-mails already, so keeping it short and polite works the best.
Otherwise, I think small claims would be your best bet.
Respectfully disagree.

Execs are not going to interfere with a class action settlement. An attorney is needed.

And for small claims court -- questionable -- members of a class action suit give up the right to further pursue the company in a court of law. Only someone who specifically declines to be part of the class action can sue on the same grounds.

This is why I think she needs a lawyer, this is beyond the scope of consumer advocacy, And given the September 2018 deadline to get this done I think waiting for execs is not a wise use of time.
 
Likes: Just A Guy
Sep 19, 2015
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#16
She has consulted a lawyer.
Not a good one who actually read the documents where it says that totaled cars can be titled over to the insurance company and still be entitled to the restitution.

This long form claim has detailing the salvage issue was filed in July 2016. I do not know if it was amended later, or what documents were given to the class members but somewhere along the line the lawyers that should have been protecting and advising their class members (if they were consulted) messed up. This scenario has been addressed in the settlement process.

The class action lawyers got a lot of fees for this action -- $300 million and all court costs and they should be protecting people like the OP. This entire situation is terrible for the OP and I am angry on her behalf.
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#17
I agree with Christina. It seems she found more than the attorney who advised the OP.

I think you need to go back to the attorney who has been advising you and show them what Christina found. It seems all of this is covered in the documents.

You need a better attorney. This seems beyond our scope- it’s a legal issue.
 
Likes: jsn55