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VW diesel scandal: green light for collective action from abroad

Status: 13/06/2022 20:44

In the VW emissions scandal, tens of thousands of foreign diesel buyers sold their credits to service provider Myright. The BGH has now decided that this is legal – buyers can hope for compensation.

Thousands of foreign diesel buyers who have assigned their claims against VW to online service provider Myright can hope for compensation again. Unlike previous Braunschweig courts, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled in the model case of a Swiss client that Myright met all the requirements to ultimately collect the claims through class action.

The German Financialright GmbH, which stands behind Myright, does not have to demonstrate any special competence in Swiss law. This means that you can now check the content of individual complaints. (Company VIa ZR 418/21)

About 36,000 customers are complaining, according to VW

Myright works against a commission in case of success and advertises that even customers without legal protection insurance run no cost risk. According to VW, several class actions are pending in the German courts for a total of around 36,000 customers. These include two lawsuits for over 2,000 Swiss and approximately 6,000 Slovenian clients.

At the midday hearing, the President of the Court, Eva Menges, surprisingly also commented on other formal obstacles that the collective actions of the German victims had previously failed in court. She had indicated that her Senate also sees no problem with Myright on these points. However, these aspects were no longer discussed during the short verdict. It therefore remains to be seen whether she will appear in the detailed written verdict.

Stefan Zimmermann of Myright spoke of a “milestone for consumer protection”. In any case, for Switzerland and Slovenia, the business model was confirmed to the extent that “we can finally discuss with VW what compensation the customer is actually entitled to”. As for German customers, it now all depends on the exact wording of the sentence.

VW expects “the lawsuit to be closed”

VW, on the other hand, announced that in the specific case it was expecting a “dismissal of the lawsuit at a later date”. “Because according to the Swiss law applicable to the case, the claims made do not exist”. So far, no Swiss court has upheld a claim against Volkswagen.

Also checked for residual damage

In a second diesel case from Baden-Württemberg, the Karlsruhe judges also commented on the so-called residual damage for imported cars. (Company VIa ZR 680/21)

Remaining compensation may be due to affected persons who have not sued for compensation in good time. According to the first BGH rulings, however, the prerequisites for this are only given for new cars, not for purchased used cars.

This time it was a car imported from another EU country with zero kilometers on the clock. Here the highest civil judges have decided that the residual damages can be considered. The prerequisite, however, is that neither the dealer in Germany nor the intermediary abroad bought the car from VW at their own expense and risk regardless of the order.

The Higher Regional Court in Stuttgart must now negotiate again and clarify the open issues.

Tens of thousands of individual buyers have received compensation

The class actions are not to be confused with the already completed model declaratory action brought against Volkswagen by the consumer advice centers. This process resulted in an agreement that benefited over 245,000 diesel owners.

Tens of thousands of individual plaintiffs have also received damages from VW. They had all bought a diesel with the scandalous EA189 engine, which had been manipulated in such a way that emission limits were only met in official tests.

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