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VW has to pay damages to German diesel buyers

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Volkswagen is generally obliged to pay damages to car owners affected by the diesel scandal. Complaining buyers who want to have the money back for their car have to count the kilometers driven, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe decided on Monday. At the trial almost three weeks ago, the judges had already indicated that VW would probably be obliged to pay compensation.

For the plaintiff in the specific case, a man from Rhineland-Palatinate, this is a partial success. He wants the full price of just under 31,500 euros back. Under the hood of his used VW Sharan is a type EA 189 diesel engine – with software that ensured that the vehicle complied with the exhaust gas limits on the test bench, but not on the road. In the fall of 2015, the fraud was exposed on a large scale. Millions of cars were affected.

VW: Around 60,000 diesel lawsuits still open

The Koblenz Higher Regional Court had awarded the man a good 25,600 euros plus interest in return for his car. In contrast, both sides have appealed. VW is of the opinion that the claimant and all other diesel buyers have not suffered any damage. After all, the car was fully usable at any time.

According to VW, around 60,000 diesel lawsuits are still pending before the courts nationwide. The BGH judgment should be an important guideline for most of these proceedings. Because the central question, whether the buyer is entitled to compensation or not, has been answered completely differently by the lower authorities.

Not everything has been decided with the judgment. The BGH will look at other cases in more detail in further proceedings – for example whether VW customers are entitled to compensation if they only bought their car after the diesel scandal became known. The Karlsruhe judges have scheduled the next three negotiations on VW lawsuits in mid and late July.

The decisions of the Federal Court of Justice no longer have any effect on the comparison that the consumer advice centers negotiated with VW on behalf of several hundred thousand diesel owners.

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