MARTIN Lewis has issued an urgent warning to motorists who could be owed £1,000s in compensation.
If you've been the registered owner of a diesel car or van between 2009 and 2020, you could be entitled to cash.
Drivers of vehicles made between 2009 and 2020 in England and Wales can join a group legal claim over diesel emissions – whether they bought it or paid on finance.
Martin Lewis' MoneySavingExpert (MSE) has warned those considering signing up to a claim to be wary of the pros and cons.
The issue first emerged back in 2015 after millions of VW owners were allegedly deceived into buying cars with software that cheated emissions tests.
The company admitted that one million cars worldwide, including eight million in Europe, had the devices installed.
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Ultimately a settlement was reached but the controversy, now known as "Dieselgate" has since spread to other vehicle manufacturers.
Lawyers claim car manufacturers fitted "defeat" devices to their models that "cheated" the emissions tests to meet legal environmental standards for cars.
They believe the drivers were mis-sold cars, which may have been polluting up to 40 times the legal amounts of nitrogen dioxide, and are now worth less than the purchase price.
Some of the affected brands include Audi, BMW, Citroen, Volks Wagen, Mini, Ford, Fiat, Renault, Volvo, Mercedes, Hyundai, and Peugeot.
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If you owned a car that was made by one of these manufacturers within the time frame, you could be entitled to potentially thousands if:
- You'd never have bought the vehicle had you known about the alleged emissions flaws.
- You paid more for it than you otherwise would have. For example, because you paid a premium for what you thought was a more environmentally friendly car, whether new or second-hand.
- If the car or van had to be fixed to comply with emissions standards, the fix itself may have led to worse fuel efficiency or worse performance – potentially lowering its value or creating added costs, for which you may be able to claim damages.
MSE explained: "Of course, the manufacturers disagree – for example, VW argues consumers haven't suffered any financial loss.
"It'll be for the courts to decide who's right."
One of these legal claims was previously settled by the VW group out of court – which will see the car manufacturer pay out £193million to more than 90,000 motorists in England and Wales.
Pros and cons of signing up to a claim
The consumer site has warned that while marketing put out by law firms may make claiming seem like the most obvious thing in the world, there are some real pros and cons to consider.
If you think you could be owed cash signing up to one of the group claims is the only realistic way you'll have your case heard, this is due to the high costs involved in taking it to court by yourself.
Because there are multiple claims against roughly 20 different brands, it's really important to do your research.
It can be really easy to join a claim and we've seen reports from drivers online who have received over £1,000 back – although these haven't been verified.
While it isn't likely you'll have to pay anything if the claim loses, it's not impossible so there is some risk involved.
Plus, compensation is not guaranteed and you could end up with not very much at all – and it can be a lengthy process.
For example, law firm Pogust Goodhead suggests you might be able to claim up to £10,000 for a Mercedes.
But according to MSE, most lawyers say payouts aren't likely to be that high.
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It's really important to only sign up if you think you actually have a valid case.
For more information on how to sign up and what claims are ongoing currently against which brands, head over to MSE's guide for the full details.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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