The Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal is letting owners of affected models turn them in for cash in a huge buyback program. They can also opt to have the vehicles repaired if Volkswagen comes up with a solution the Environmental Protection Agency approves. Some owners are looking to cash in even further by stripping their cars before turning them in for the buyback.
The roughly $15 billion settlement sees buyback prices of anywhere from $12,500 to $44,000 depending on the model or a free repair along with a $5,100 to $9,852 payout. There are plenty of people who are very happy with those numbers, especially those who have older models, but there are also plenty of people who are angry.
Angry Volkswagen owners are holding a grudge over not getting what they paid for and the potential negative impact their vehicles had on the environment. Their solution is to take the buyback, but to completely strip down their cars first so they get a few extra dollars and Volkswagen gets only a shell of a car.
The owner of a 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI stripped his car shortly before his appointment to turn it in for the buyback and posted pictures of his work on Instagram. It seems like Volkswagen caught onto his plan as his appointment was postponed a short while later because stripping the car wasn’t in “the spirit of the buyback.”
Depending on your point of view, stripping the car you were sold under false pretenses may be exactly in the spirit of things, but the government is standing with Volkswagen on this one. U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer warned owners not to strip their cars before their buybacks.
He made the statement during a court hearing when Volkswagen attorney Robert Giuffra complained about a small number of owners stipping their cars. The judge agreed that this was a step too far and that the settlement was designed to give owners compensation for cars as they were being driven, not as stripped out carcasses.
Even the Federal Trade Commission supports Volkswagen with attorney Jonathan Cohen saying they’re “absolutely against bad-faith behavior by consumers.” He also made it clear that this doesn’t give Volkswagen a free pass to turn down cars that aren’t in perfect condition. Normal wear and tear is fine. A lack of doors, wheels and other important parts is the problem.
No matter how much satisfaction it might bring owners to strip their diesel Volkswagens before their buybacks, they run the risk of having their buybacks refused and getting nothing for their efforts.