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Danny Katz,
CoPIRG

Volkswagen Customer Asks Dealership & Headquarters to Buy Back Defective Diesel Car

Seeks Full Compensation for Driving Polluting Vehicle
For Immediate Release

Denver—Marcus Moench, a Boulder resident, drove to the Gebhardt Volkswagen dealership and asked the dealership to buy back his 2010 Jetta Sportswagen TDI diesel car at the full original purchase price, not the current “blue book” value, to compensate for the harm of being deceived into driving a polluting vehicle.

“I am one of the nearly half a million customers in the U.S. who was deceived into purchasing a Volkswagen diesel car that was programmed to cheat emissions tests,” Moench said. “I signed up for a green car and they sold me a polluting lemon so I want all my money back.”

The EPA says Volkswagen designed some 482,000 “clean" diesel cars to get away with violating the law. They built elaborate software — called a “defeat device” — to turn on emission controls during testing and turn them off during regular driving, emitting as much as 40 times the legal limit of smog-forming pollutants. As many as 11 million cars worldwide are equipped with the “defeat device.”

“Volkswagen dealerships have a great opportunity to stand with their customers and call on Volkswagen to buy back these cars for their original price,” said Danny Katz, Director of the CoPIRG Foundation. “The dealers didn’t build the defeat devices that misled nearly a half a million Americans. But they did sell the cars and they can fight for their customers and ensure VW does the right thing – give customers their money back.”

This action is part of the CoPIRG Foundation’s “Make VW Pay” campaign to hold Volkswagen accountable for deceiving half a million U.S. consumers into buying pollution-spewing cars that led to massive, undeserved profits. Key elements of this campaign include:

1. Volkswagen must offer to buy back all “defeat device” diesel cars with full rebates to customers. VW cheated customers in selling them a product that was different than advertised in material ways. 

2. The EPA must demand tough penalties: For VW’s violation, the law calls for penalties up to $37,500 per car — or $18 billion total.

3. Congress must put an end to the auto industry’s “get out of jail free" loophole: Auto industry lobbyists have won and defended a loophole in the law that makes it harder to prosecute their executives for intentionally violating the law and putting the public at risk. It’s time to close that loophole and any others that threaten consumer safety or wallets. 

4. The Department of Justice must stop allowing tax write-offs for wrongdoing: We’ve fought against tax write-offs for JP Morgan, BP and other companies when they were forced to pay penalties for violations of our laws. We’ll keep fighting to end these write-offs for VW, GM and other companies.

“VW must pay full penalties under law and grant full rebates to the customers it deceived into buying pollution-spewing cars that led to massive, undeserved profits,” said Katz.

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CoPIRG Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organizations that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. On the web at copirgfoundation.org.

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