DIESEL motorists could be entitled to thousands of pounds in compensation thanks to a PPI-like emissions scandal.
In 2015, millions of Volkswagen Vehicles were allegedly sold with software that cheated tests measuring nitrogen oxide pollution.
The Dieselgate fallout – which resulted in a record £193million settlement for 91,000 claimants – shed a light on many other manufacturers who are now accused of using the same trick.
Glasgow-based Thompson’s Solicitors has taken eight car giants to court for selling engines with “cheat” devices between 2009 and 2020.
The firm’s Patrick McGuire has already been contacted by more than 35,000 Scots – who owned or rented a diesel car in the time frame – and believes there are many more who could be entitled to a payday.
He says: “They (the car companies) were playing around with engine software to basically have the vehicle on site when it was officially tested for its emissions.
“And when it realizes that, it cheats its performance to reduce NOx emissions compared to how it works in the real world.”
“Over the past 18 months, more evidence has come to light showing that a whole host of manufacturers were doing the same thing more than a decade ago.
“Behaviour has sailed under the radar and nobody has focused on these manufacturers.”
Individuals cannot realistically go it alone against the auto giants.
That’s why consumer advocates like Money Saving Expert Urge diesel owners to join class action cases like those being handled by Thompsons.
In Scotland, the legal mechanism for enforcing collective redress did not come into force until 2020.
This has allowed law firms to argue that cars and vans emit more harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution than advertised, effectively meaning the vehicles have been mis-sold to customers
In December last year, the Volkswagen Group settled out of court for £11.9million for vehicles fitted with EA189 engines.
This means around 7,800 claimants in Scotland will receive an average Dieselgate payout of around £1,500 – but between a third and half of that will go to the law firm.
Other motor brand attorneys are checking, among other things AudiBMW, Chrysler, Citroën, Fiat, fordHyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Mini, Mercedes Benznissan, peugeot, PorscheRenault, Seat, Skoda, Vauxhall and Volvo.
Patrick adds: “If you look at the full list there have been hundreds of thousands of these vehicles sold in Scotland dating back to the late noughties.
“Millions of vehicles will be affected and anyone who has been scammed by a first hand or second hand dealer who had this device will have a claim.
“The number of people and vehicles involved is enormous, as is the amount of compensation that manufacturers will pay. It easily gets into the hundreds of millions of pounds.”
But Money Saving Expert also warns that the “no profit, no fee” legal claims could still leave motorists liable for legal costs if a court rules in the manufacturer’s favour.
HOW TO MAKE CLAIMS
HERE IS your guide to engine damage:
IF you have bought or leased a car or van from one of several top brands, you may be able to join one of several active group rights claims.
These include Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Mini, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Seat, Skoda, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Volvo.
These entitlements apply to vehicles first registered between 2009 and 2020 – even if you no longer lease or own them.
Registering with a law firm is free – but there can be risks. Read the fine print.
Claims can take up to five years or more.
Payouts could end up being thousands of pounds
– but compensation is NOT guaranteed.
If you get cold feet, you have 14 days to withdraw your claim without penalty – after which you may have to pay attorneys’ fees.
In practice, this would likely be covered by the law firm’s ATE – After the Event Insurance – but coverage is limited, leading the website to claim “it’s not bulletproof”.
Patrick admits, “The numbers for a person aren’t life changing, nor are they at a level where they’re not worth it.
“We will be aiming for four-digit totals, which will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.”