Richard Lutz is still wary of any promises that Volkswagen offers…
Two letters pop through my underused postbox. Both are from Volkswagen, the car company that illegally placed a secret device into my Passat that cheated emission controls.
The first is a missive from Mr Alex Smith, director of the U.K. arm of the car firm. He tells me in a form letter that my car will undergo “technical measures” to take the devious device out of my engine. It could happen as late as 2017.
A second letter comes from a VW franchise offering me an MOT annual check for £49. Last week I had it done in my local garage for £39.
On the same day that these two letters appeared, the car firm agreed to pay out billions of bucks to US VW owners. So Americans get a lump sum or a buy back deal. Britain gets a safety check more expensive than the going rate and a tedious letter from a suit.
I called VW to ask if they will buy back my car. They refused. The US and UK operate under different laws, they said. And operate different emission tests. So… no dough.
I call the law firm that is representing me and 9,000 other angry owners. We are all part of a group action to force the company’s hand. A solicitor for Leigh Day dismisses VW’s defence. “It is clear that whatever damages apply to the US also applies to VW customers around the world,” she says.
And she adds: “Volkswagen’s responses to our letters are unsatisfactory and we are preparing our group action court proceedings.”
I take heart. But with obvious hesitancy. VW was quoted this week as saying: “To us, the customer is key.”
I wait for the door to be unlocked. And, I’m telling you one thing, I’m not holding my breath.