Over the past two months there have been ongoing revelations from Volkswagon in relation to apparent cover ups and hiding of information. Volkswagon have conceded in Germany and in the United States that their employees have devised products and schemes to mask the extent of the emissions created by their cars. It is estimated that in Ireland approximately 9,000 cars may be involved.
Initially, Volkswagon accepted that they had produced software to mask the level of Nitrous Oxide which was emitted from its cars. In an Irish context, this is significant. The software installed lead people to believe when they were purchasing cars that were “greener” than they actually were.
On 8 November last, employees at Volkswagon admitted that there was a second problem which concerned Carbon Dioxide. Volkswagon accepted on 10 November that Carbon Dioxide was an issue and that they had a second problem. This is extremely significant in an Irish context. Carbon Dioxide (or CO2) underpins the level of tax which you pay to the Revenue when you are buying a new car. It also underpins the annual motor tax that you pay to Mayo County Council or other Local Authorities.
The fact that Volkswagon have accepted that the published rates of CO2 emissions were incorrect creates a problem for Irish owners of Seat, Audi, Volkswagon and Skoda cars. For those who have cars affected, it means in theory that they are not tax compliant, in that there has been an underpayment of Vehicle Registration Tax and Motor Tax. This is not the fault of the motorist and it is not the fault of the dealers. It is very much the fault of the manufacturer, in this instance the Volkswagon Group.
As things stand now, the authorised dealers of Volkswagon products in the County are completely blameless. They were not and could not have been aware that the products that they were selling were not compliant. Like everybody else, they have only become aware since 10 November that an issue has arisen. They are now left to deal with customers on a one to one basis. They have to explain why the problems have arisen and try and find solutions.
Given the complex nature of these particular issues, which involve European Law, Tax Law, Contract Law, Tort Law and Consumer Law, it is impossible to expect any of the authorised dealers to be able to provide a full solution.
The issue has to be taken up directly with the manufacturer.
Since the 10 November we have been involved in assisting owners of Seat, Audi, Volkswagon and Skoda cars as to what the best course of action should be. It is important that if you feel that you are affected that you should immediately take advice and ensure that all options to try and remedy your problem are explored.
For further details, please contact – https://www.odwyersolicitors.ie/contact/