And here is my open letter to Volkswagen Canada:
Ok Volkswagen, let me get this straight, you knowingly defrauded your customers, got caught and have the audacity to propose mileage and depreciation into your settlement negotiations? Are you kidding me?
Yes, buying back all of the vehicles that you sold under false pretences will be expensive. Perhaps you should have considered that before you marketed your “clean diesel – like really clean” diesel. So clean that it actually exceeds emission standards by up to 40 times the allowable limit. Oh wait, exceeding these pollutant standards with excess Nitrogen-oxide is not a good thing. But you manufactured and installed a cheat device in these vehicles as the the perfect solution. Oops, you left those details out of your marketing literature and sales agreements.
So, if I understand correctly, you launched an aggressive marketing campaign stating that your TDIs had ‘like really clean’ characteristics, when in fact they did not.
Yet what I am struggling to understand is why you are having such a hard time determining an appropriate restitution plan for your customers?
In Ontario, the Consumer Protection Act clearly states your original obligations as a vendor:
False, misleading or deceptive representation
14. (1) It is an unfair practice for a person to make a false, misleading or deceptive representation. 2002, c. 30, Sched. A, s. 14 (1).
Examples of false, misleading or deceptive representations
(2) Without limiting the generality of what constitutes a false, misleading or deceptive representation, the following are included as false, misleading or deceptive representations:
1. A representation that the goods or services have sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics, accessories, uses, ingredients, benefits or qualities they do not have.
Yet somehow this scandal has turned into an extended behind closed doors debate, where the consumer has been left with their not so clean vehicle and the further risk of mileage and depreciation penalties when you finally decide to make it right.
The true fact of the matter is that you lied – plain and simple. What you advertised and ultimately sold to your customers is NOT what they received. Yet somehow you expect that, in my humble opinion, the negligible hush money gift cards are an acceptable bandaid for your radio silence?
Make it right Volkswagen. It’s time.