ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A proposed class-action lawsuit filed by consumers in federal court alleges Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Audi of America, Inc. and their German parent companies defrauded and endangered them and others by selling vehicles labeled as Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) that were actually pre-production models that did not comply with U.S. motor vehicle regulations and should never have been placed on American roads.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Case Number 1:19-cv-00331), alleges the Volkswagen scheme tried "to yet again defraud consumers by illegally titling, marketing and selling so-called certified pre-owned vehicles to unsuspecting customers who would have never otherwise purchased these cars or who would have paid less for such vehicles had the truth been known."
The lawsuit adds, "Specifically, Volkswagen misrepresented the certification, prior use and mileage of these vehicles to induce the fraudulent sale of these CPO cars . . .when in fact, Volkswagen knew that these pre-production cars violated Federal Safety Standards and could not be legally sold in the United States."
The court action further accuses Volkswagen of mislabeling pre-production cars as "CARFAX 1-Owner vehicles" that were actually "press vehicles" driven hard by automotive journalists and corporate pool-fleet cars driven by "a myriad of other individuals prior to being resold to consumers."
The legal action was filed on behalf of representative plaintiffs in New Jersey, Colorado and Washington state by attorney Michael J. Melkersen, who has served as counsel of record for more than 1,000 opt-out litigants against Volkswagen in the so-called "Dieselgate" scandal, and was the first lawyer to both get to trial against Volkswagen and to obtain the first and only known settlement from Volkswagen prior to the Dieselgate Class Settlements. Additional class representation is provided by Motley Rice LLC.
"Not only has Volkswagen knowingly sold cars in violation of applicable safety standards, Volkswagen tried to hide its misconduct by committing Federal Odometer Fraud by lying to consumers about when and how the mileage on these cars occurred," said Melkersen. "By providing a secret data feed to Carfax that manipulated how and when the mileage would appear in the Carfax vehicle history reports, Volkswagen and Audi were able to use Carfax to perpetrate this mileage-fraud scheme."
Pre-production cars are often built with non-standard parts or using assembly practices that may not meet U.S. safety standards. They can't be certified to comply with federal motor vehicle standards and are normally destroyed or exported. The lawsuit alleges that in order to boost sales Volkswagen diverted the vehicles to its CPO program. Then, when it faced the likelihood of public scrutiny, Volkswagen engineered a "sneaky recall" that was delayed for two years until May 2018 and offered to buy back far fewer vehicles than the number allegedly sold illegally under the CPO program. (NHTSA Campaign Number: 18V329000)
Melkersen said concerned consumers who purchased a Volkswagen or Audi CPO vehicle between 2011 and present day should check their Carfax report. If the report shows the cars were originally titled in Michigan with 10 miles but were serviced on multiple dates before titling, or if there is more than a three-month gap between the date the vehicle was imported and the date it was first titled with only 10 miles, they are likely victims of the odometer fraud and should contact Melkersen on the hotline set up for victims at 844-220-0996. Owners of the few hundred vehicles Volkswagen officially notified for recall and who are dissatisfied with Volkswagen's buyback offer should also consult the hotline for more information.
Michael J. Melkersen, Esq.
Tel. (540) 740-3937
SOURCE The Law Offices of Michael J. Melkersen, P.C.