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EU finds Volkswagen broke consumer laws in 20 countries: Report

Volkswagen has pledged billions of euros to compensate owners of VW diesel-powered cars but has so far rejected calls for similar payments for the 8.5 million affected vehicles in Europe. Photograph: (Getty)

WION Frankfurt, Germany Sep 05, 2016, 09.32 AM (IST)
The European Commission has found that Volkswagen broke consumer laws in 20 European Union countries by cheating on emissions tests, German daily Die Welt reported, citing Commission sources.

Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive are among the laws broken by the German automaker, which prohibits companies from touting exaggerated environmental claims in their sales pitches, and the Unfair Commercial Practises Directive, both of which apply across the EU, the paper said.

The European Commission said Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska has repeatedly invited Volkswagen to consider compensating consumers voluntarily, but the response from the carmaker was not very encouraging.

It also added that it was for national courts to determine whether consumers were legally entitled to compensation.

A Commission spokeswoman said Consumer Commissioner Vera Jourova had written to consumer associations across the EU to collect information in order to ensure that consumers are treated fairly. 

The spokeswoman said, "She will meet relevant representatives in Brussels this week.”

Jourova has been working with consumer groups to pressure Volkswagen to compensate clients in Europe as it has in the United States over the diesel emissions scandal last year.

In September last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that many VW cars in America had a "defeat device", or software, in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve results.

Volkswagen has pledged billions of euros to compensate owners of VW diesel-powered cars but has so far rejected calls for similar payments for the 8.5 million affected vehicles in Europe, where different legal rules weaken the chances of winning a pay out.

Jourova told Die Welt that she was still analysing feedback from the member states.

Die Welt cited sources as saying that Jourova would meet with representatives of the consumer protection groups in the coming days to discuss a strategy for claiming compensation from Volkswagen.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)
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