California Volkswagen owners accuse carmaker of fraud

With a name that translates into English as “the people’s car company,” since its formation in 1937, the German motor vehicle company Volkswagen eventually grew to become the biggest carmaker in the world. However, when news of the company’s deceptive practices related to emissions-rigging software became public earlier this fall, Volkswagen’s reign at the top came to an abrupt end.

Today, Volkswagen has admitted to installing the emissions-rigging software in some 11 million vehicles worldwide. In the United States, the company estimated that a total of 482,000 vehicles contain the software which makes it appear as though a vehicle is within emission limits when in fact the cars emit anywhere from 10 to 40 times over the permissible levels.

In the state of California alone, an estimated 70,000 people own the affected Volkswagen vehicles and recently, a consumer fraud lawsuit was filed on their behalf. In the lawsuit, plaintiffs are attempting to obtain a refund for the lost value of their vehicles or replacement vehicles. While Volkswagen has offered to fix the dirty vehicles, the company admitted that doing so would likely take between 12 to 24 months.

For California drivers, the state requires regular emissions testing and it’s illegal to drive a motor vehicle that doesn’t pass a test. According to the website, several other states also require regular emissions tests and similar lawsuits will likely be filed throughout the country.

Attorneys for California VW car owners contend that it could cost upwards of $6.9 billion to compensate the U.S. car owners. In the coming months, we’ll continue to provide updates about the Volkswagen emissions scandal and any related legal proceedings pertaining to allegations of consumer fraud.

Source:, “Consumer fraud lawsuits could force VW to buy back diesels that cheat on emissions tests,” Tom Krisher, Oct. 19, 2015, “May 28: This Day in History,” Nov. 5, 2015

Forbes, “Volkswagen: The Curse Of The World’s Biggest Carmaker,” Micheline Maynard, Sept. 21, 2015