Volkswagen diesel buyback: some buyers still waiting


2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI

2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI

In October, a federal judge signed the final agreement covering the majority of cars affected by the Volkswagen diesel-emissions scandal.

That allowed the Volkswagen Group to start issuing buyback offers for half a million vehicles sold by the VW and Audi brands from 2009 through 2015 that were fitted with 2.0-liter TDI diesel engines.

But four months later, some of the 475,000 VW TDI owners covered by the settlement are still waiting to complete buybacks.

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Volkswagen customers who financed their cars through third-party lenders are experiencing a slower response from the automaker, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Those lenders' privacy concerns have slowed the paperwork process, a lawyer for the Volkswagen plaintiffs told the paper.

Elizabeth Cabraser, lead counsel for the consumer plaintiffs, said she has experienced "recurring issues" with third-party lenders, such as local credit unions or banks.

2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Street Edition

2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Street Edition

Those lenders are sometimes leery of disclosing customers' loan amounts to Volkswagen representatives, she said.

Cabraser said VW has sent letters to third-party lenders, and she has advised customers seeking buybacks to contact their loan providers to give them advance notice.

Once lenders confirm that Volkswagen's inquiries are legitimate, they have generally been responsive, she said.

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As of February 14, more than 360,000 owners and lessees had submitted a claim, A Volkswagen lawyer said during a court hearing that week.

VW has given offers to more than 300,000 of those claimants, and almost 250,000 of those offers have been accepted, the lawyer said at that time.

Of those, 125,000 had been completed at the time of the statement.

2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI

2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI

This is not the first issue to crop up during the buyback process.

A November report included customer complaints of delays in claims processing, difficult in reaching claims hotline staff, and staff's inability to provide clear answers to questions.

Since then, VW has increased staff and training, as well as the number of buyback appointments, Cabraser, the plaintiffs' attorney, said.

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The majority of 2.0-liter TDI owners are expected to take buybacks, although Volkswagen offers the option to wait for modifications that would allow cars to meet emissions standards.

However, modifications have only been approved for about 67,000 of the newest models, all from the 2015 model year.

They all have the newer "EA288" 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine.

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