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VW buybacks and lease terminations to begin

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Earlier this year, the FTC sued Volkswagen for falsely claiming that its diesel cars had low levels of harmful emissions. A federal judge approved the FTC order that requires Volkswagen to provide up to $10 billion to owners and lessees of VW and Audi 2.0 liter diesel cars. Here are some pointers for people who own or lease a 2009 to 2015 VW TDI Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Passat or Audi TDI A3.

  • You have until September 1, 2018 to submit a claim. You can change your mind about which option you want until you bring your car in to VW.
  • You can submit a claim on VWCourtSettlement.com, or call 1-844-98-CLAIM to request a paper claim form. In order to complete your claim, you will need certain documents, including the vehicle title and proof of registration.
  • After you submit your claim, VW has 10 business days to tell you whether your claim is complete. If your claim isn’t complete, VW will tell you what you need to do to complete it.
  • After your claim is complete, VW has 10 business days to review it and confirm that you’re eligible.
  • After you have been confirmed to be eligible, VW will send you an offer letter. If you accept VW’s offer, you will sign the letter, get it notarized and return it to VW. After VW confirms that it received your letter, you can schedule an appointment. You will be able to choose from different options. If you choose:
    • buyback, you will be able to schedule an appointment that happens within the next 90 days.
    • lease termination, you will be able to schedule an appointment that happens within the next 45 days.
    • an approved emissions modification, VW will notify you when a modification is available for your vehicle. Once a modification is available, you will be able to schedule an appointment within 90 days.
  • If your car was drivable on September 16, 2016, but isn’t drivable on the day of your buyback or approved emissions modification appointment, you’re still eligible for some compensation. Visit VWCourtSettlement.com or call VW at 1-844-98-CLAIM for more information.
  • You can choose to get your buyback or lease termination payment by check at your appointment, or have it deposited electronically to your bank account within three banking days. If you have a car loan, VW will apply your buyback payment to the loan and pay you any remaining amount. If, at your buyback appointment, your car’s mileage is more than the expected mileage range from when you submitted your claim, your buyback amount could be reduced. If that happens, you will get a check within three banking days.
  • When your buyback or approved emissions modification is complete, VW will give you an itemized receipt that shows the amount you received and explains any adjustment, such as mileage or a loan payment.

You can use the buyback money however you want. You don’t have to spend it on a car from VW or any other manufacturer. If anyone offers to buy your car outside the settlement, or pressures you to “Act now!”, walk away. If you see something that doesn’t seem to follow the terms of the settlement, please report it to the FTC.

Note: We edited this post on October 26, 2016 to clarify which payments you may get by check at your appointment. On November 17, 2016 we added information about offer letters and clarified appointment scheduling.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

That is exactly what a rep with VW told me back in August, that they WERE going to process these on a first come first serve basis, I originally applied July 28th. They Lied. We have asked FTC to investigate this but to no avail. I don't know if it is because they don't want to or can't be bothered to.

I've submitted all of the documentation within the timeframe stipulated to make my claim. I was told that I would receive notification of the next step within 2 weeks. After the two week period elapsed, I called them to find out the status on my claim. I was told I would receive an email with an offer option and a paper to sign for my restitution check "any day now." After a few more days, I called again and was told the same thing - "any day now." (Each time I call it's close to a 20 minute MINIMUM wait time.) I asked what steps I was supposed to take if I did not receive the email within a few days and the agent said, "Nothing. You will receive it." And I said, that's what I was told the last time I called but I still haven't received anything. I said I need to know what steps I'm supposed to take if I don't receive the email. She again said "nothing." Is this the game? Are they going to just keep putting me off so that they can conveniently lose my claim and not pay me, and I'm just supposed to do nothing?

Yes. It's a buyback scam, especially since no one (courts, judges, FTC, lawyers, etc) are actually monitoring that they stick to their own deadlines. I've been sitting on a TDI for 2 months now because we can't drive it. At least someone on here was able to get someone on the phone that slipped and said they were approved on the 11/3 (unfortunately, that person has probably been fired by now).

I uploaded the offer paperwork with notarized signature yesterday. The website has been easy to use throughout the process. Since I own the car I don't have any of the nuanced problems I have read about in some of these comments, sp perhaps my situation is easier. I think the offer was quite adequate. Bridget Small - thank you for your lucid and professional replies. (I don't work for VW or the FTC and I am not related to Bridget Small).

How long did it take for you to receive the offer letter from the time your paperwork was approved?

How? When did you submit your docs? I submitted my 10/12/16 and receive their email about they had all the correct docs on 10/31...today is 11/16 and still nothing.

That's really interesting as VW claims customer service told me on 11/17 that no final offers had been sent out yet.

We want to hear from you on the four week wait, Bridget.

VW’s automated phone system currently says the claim filing process can take up to four weeks. That is another way of saying the same thing this blog post says:

  • After you submit your claim, VW has 10 business days to tell you whether your claim is complete. If your claim isn’t complete, VW will tell you what you need to do to complete it.
  • After your claim is complete, VW has 10 business days to review it and confirm that you’re eligible.

Twenty business days take place over four calendar weeks.

But they are saying they have 4 calendar weeks to tell you if your claim is complete. And then another 4 calendar weeks to review and determine eligibility. That's 8 calendar weeks total. And not an answer.

We own a 2012 Jetta TDI & 2014 Passat TDI both still holding loans. I submitted documentation on 10/28 for both vehicles and received emails for both vehicles a few minutes ago (11/10) that all documentation has been approved for both cars.

Have you received an appointment date for the buyback?

My Claim was accepted on October 20, with the same information stating - we are now determining your eligibility and will mail you a final offer within 10 business days. I haven't received anything from VW other than the informational sheet which they mailed twice. My vehicle does have a loan attached. This appears to be a good way for them to save millions by bending the order timelines to ensure then longest possible time which will more likely than not save them millions by forcing owners who drive a lot (like myself) over mileage thresholds and damages sustained from accidents which they will then deduct from your offer. Kudos to the litigators who made sure they were handsomely compensated while the actual affected were yet again deceived and lied to.

On the October 22nd I received an email stating that all my documents are complete and they have all the information they need to determine if I am eligible. Well the site said at that point they will review my claim and provide a final offer within 10 days. It has been 11 days since the case was approved.

I was finally able to get into a person on the call line at lunch today. After beating around the bush for 20min or so she told me that my claim was approved on the 3rd of November. I am guessing that I now have up to 10 days from that date before I receive my offer?

Any way like many other people I am fine with waiting a reasonable amount of time but it would be nice to receive better feedback/timely updates on what is going on...

I talked to a representative of a VW Dealership today. He said he understood that first Buybacks will begin on November 17th. He has talked to this dealership VW representative.
My documents were approved on Oct 29. November 11 should be 10 business days. I haven't gotten the final approval yet. He also understood that each dealership will have a VW representative at their dealership until most Buybacks are done. Then there will be a floating representative going to several dealerships each week. It is a shame that VW told many, me included, that my Buyback should be done by November 1st when I began working on the settlement file. Very poor PR on their part.

Bridget, I summited all paperwork for our two vehicles online prior to settlement. On Sept 21st, I received emails that my submissions were under review. As of today I have a scheduled turn it date for one of the vehicles. The other still shows a under review as it has since Sept. 21st. It has been more than 10 business days since Oct 26th. I have not been informed that my document s are accepted or are deficient. I assume this is in violation of the court agreement. 844 98-Claim cannot tell me what has happened to that claim. What is my next next step to document this violation?

You may wish to file a complaint with the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. To report problems related to the VW settlement, select Other from the complaint categories on the first screen, and Automobile from the categories on the second screen. Be sure to include the words "VW" and "clean diesel" in your complaint. If you provide your email address, you will receive an automated email reply indicating we have received your complaint.

The auto-reply will relate to the category you chose (for example,  auto warranty).   Complaints submitted to the FTC Complaint Assistant become part of the Consumer Sentinel Database, a secure database available solely to law enforcement. Your report will be accessible to law enforcement personnel who have access to the database.

I had submitted all of my required paperwork, and received an email from VW on 10/22 that my paperwork was complete and that I would receive an email confiming my eligibility and final offer within 10 business days. I realize that the effective date is 11/1. Last week I called VW Claims, and spoke with a Claims Specialist who said my paperwork had went to the Claims Supervisor for approval on 10/28, so I should receive my offer by the end of the weekend. I called on Monday, and now the VW people say they have no access to our individual information, and that a supervisor will call back within 3 business days. That did not happen. I emailed the claims supervisor giving my specific time of the events, with my claim# and VIN, and here is the response that I received:

Thank you for reaching out to express your concerns. The Settlement Agreements went into effect on October 25, 2016, however, the Judge ordered that the claims review process officially commence on November 1, 2016 (five days after the effective date of the approved Agreements). As per the timetables set forth in the Agreements and the Long Form Notice, Volkswagen has 10 business days to determine that your claim is complete and eligible, and another 10 business days to issue an award determination. During the second 10 business day period, the Claims Supervisor (Ankura Consulting Group) conducts a review of your claim to verify eligibility and the award determination calculated by Volkswagen. In regards to your concern about the timeliness of processing your claim, Volkswagen is processing the claims as expeditiously as possible. The time it takes to process your individual claim may vary within the allotted 20 business day time period. The Claim Supervisor will continue to monitor each claim that Volkswagen receives, as well as Volkswagen’s timeliness with the review process, and will report to the Court and the parties accordingly.  If questions remain, or if you otherwise need to speak with the Claims Supervisor staff, please contact us at this email address. Thank you.

This "Independent" Claims Supervisor is giving misinformation. Yes, There are 2-10 day business periods, not 1-20 day business period. Even giving the benefit of the doubt that the effective date was 11/1, VW had already approved me in the first portion of the 10 business days. This "Independent" Claims Supervisor has had my case since 10/28, and is not following both the FTC or Court Orders. Since now it really looks like collusion, how long will it be before the FTC looks at this? How can members of the class action get answers to their specific claims? I have contacted the lawyers representing us, and filed a complaint with the FTC. There has been no movement on anyone's side, and the courts and FTC are letting VW violate what was ordered.

I submitted my paperwork early Oct. still haven't seen any activity on the web page concerning the validity of the documents I submitted, how long does 10 days take?

Bridget: I received an e-mail from volkswagen on October 29, 2016, stating that my application contaicns all the necessary documentation to determine my eligibility. Thet are now determining eligibility and will inform me whether I am eligible to participate in the settlement program. Today is November 10, 2016, and the 10-day period has expired, and i have not heard from them since. Its semms Volkswagen is not complying with the terms of the program.

You can report problems to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. Choose the complaint category "Other" on the first screen and "Automobile" on the second screen, and include the words "VW" and "clean diesel" when you reach the screen that asks you to explain what happened in your own words.

I submitted documents on 11/26. I have called to determine the status of the document review several times (sent fax and US mail).

The phone representative this AM offered very little information and indicated that there were two, ten day review periods consistent with what has been indicated by FTC; however, the person this AM did not seem to know that there needed to be notice after the first 10 days that the documents were either complete or needed more information.

I also asked about the escalating mileage and the conflict in guidance on the 10/25 guidance (www.vwcourtsettlement.com/en/#3) that indicates that once an appointment was made and the mileage was too high (over the stated claim amount) that another appointment would need to be made & conflicting guidance on this website and the court documents that indicate that a check or EFT would occur within three banking days of the Buyback with the adjusted amount. The VW rep this AM indicated that the FTC guidance was correct.

I called later in the afternoon to discern the status of the document review (still no updated status). The PM VW rep indicated that the www.vwcourtsettlement.com/en/# (new appointment necessary after initial appointment for buyback is kept)was correct. I asked if it was possible to adjust the claim mileage as the process would cause me to exceed the initial amount. The PM VW rep indicated that they could reset the information, but that would also reset all of the timelines (and need to sub it documents for review).

I pushed for clarification. the PM VW rep talked with supervisory staff and indicated that both situations were not correct (AM VW rep and PM VW rep initial guidance) and that there was capacity to indicate revised mileage with the Buyback Offer. The PM VW rep indicated that he had been incorrect. So ... I am hoping that my document review moves forward today (11th day?) and that I will not be delayed b/c my mileage was estimated for a Buyback date that could be as much as six months later than initially expected.

I have received the offer letter after choosing buyback option. I would like to wait a bit to see if the modification is approved. Is there any requirement on my part to execute and return the offer letter. I did not see anything in the offer materials that would diminish my offer if I waited a few months before returning it with a final choice selected. Is that the case?

From facebook: All righty, so today called VW the second time as I submitted my documents on September 26th everything was approved for review. Tick tock tick tock...called they are being reviewed....tick tock tick tock called today. This is what the rep was like, I do have her name, took four times to give her my VIN number as she said it was too fast I also was using names for the letters slowly. She kept asking if i was there on the line and then accidentally put me on hold...NOOOO. Whew she comes back on and ask are you there...YES. So I go through everything immediately she says it is 90 days. Ok What? I tell her that this is what I have DOCUMENTED and printed out in my folder of VW, I submitted my documents, all accepted on September 26th states in the portal 10 business day to hear back from VW for an offer. That would bring us up to Nov. 4th now it is Nov. 10th and I have heard nothing. She asked me if I have received an email I say No she says Well that is unusual. Then I say this is unacceptable and that many people are getting upset with VW on handling the buyback and how it is done. She says "Let me check my booklet" GROAN are you kidding me so when you call they have a step-by-step book on what to say to the now disgruntled VW Owners. She can't find out anything in her book so she says after I give her my reference number and a few times of please let me talk to a supervisor that one will call me in a few business days and that does not include weekends. I can hear her one key at a time peck....so I ask what is a few business days 3, 5, 7 or more and get the a few business days not including weekends. She starts to say have a nice day when I interrupt her to verify that they have my home telephone number she is like oh let me look and yes they have it. So now waiting on a few business days. May be time to contact the News Channels or large papers to alert them of how this is going for everyone. 90 business days is totally unacceptable. So tick tock, tick tock. How's everyone else's day going? 2011 VW Jetta Sportswagen SIGH DO SOMETHING FTC!!!

You can report problems to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. Once at the complaint portal, choose the complaint category "Other" on the first screen and "Automobile" on the second screen. Be sure to include the words "VW" and "clean diesel" in your report when you get to the screen that lets you tell your story in your own words. The information you provide will be added to a secure database that law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog are not included in the law enforcement database.

The amount of time this has all taken will most likely steer me in the direction of another brand. I was prepared to purchase another VW but the fact that they don't seem to have any buybacks schedules yet tells me they are milking every one of us. Goodbye vw. So tired of the waiting!

I have a question about the 2nd stage of this process. I have received the email that my documents were approved. I understand that they now have 10 business days to verify that I'm eligible. My question is this...when the email comes to say that I am eligible, does the offer letter I sign and have notarized come in that same email or is there another waiting period from the 'you are eligible' email to the 'here is your offer letter to have signed and notarized' email?

I commented earlier (not posted at time of this additional comment). I had a disturbing experience later in the afternoon. I spoke again with VW ... late PM VW rep. Late PM rep forwarded to a supervisor as they indicated that (after having fax for 11 days) that they found the gov id was found to be cloudy.

I indicated that I additionally sent by overnight US mail ten to eleven days earlier b/c the fax id would be dark. After about an hour the late PM VW supervisor indicated (after consulting with others) that VW would have disregarded the US mail that had the clear id as they already had documents by fax. They could not provide an answer as to where my overnight mail clarification would be (cost $23 to send).

I had no choice but to reset the clock for the review of documents by uploading documents tonight ... now they indicate they would attempt to review the documents in the ten day period allowed, but could not guarantee b/c of the volume of information being received. FTC ... is there any relief for the loss of documents and/or not keeping to court ordered timeframes? Note: I now have an additional 10 days to wait as VW indicates that the review clock has been reset with the upload of documents

VW told me my documents were complete on 10/21. I called after 10 business days and I was told that after they review your documents, then a 3rd party has another 10 days to review them and they don't update you on that step. They then said that after the third party reviews them they have another 10 days to tell you if you are eligible and give you a final offer...so they are claiming they have 30 business days to give you a final offer on the phone. I was told that the 3rd party had finished their review on 10/31 - so if they don't give me a final offer by tomorrow, then they are past all their required timelines - even the inflated ones.

This is ridiculous. Their communication is awful and the hold times is awful and you get canned responses instead of them actually looking at your file.

Im really confused. I turned in my documents on 10/ 11 still under review. I get that nothing starts til nov. 1. Ive called several times, because im seeing staments about a relase form for banks. On every call i asked do i need to send one in, i have a loan with vw credit. They tell me no. Im fine and approved even though i havent recived anything saying that. And portal says im still under review. I call on the weekends in morning they also say since its the weekend you should here somthing monday. That was 2 weeks ago. Im gona be really upset if i need a release this whole time and they've been telling me im good.

Briget, Today is nov. 11th. If we turned in our documents on 10/11 and were recived on 10/12. According to the November 1st. Starting date should be hearing from them no later than the 15th correct. At least to be approved? Than another 10 working days to be eligible than another 10 to recive offer?

Although VW may have accepted your documents before October 25, VW is permitted to take 10 business days from November 1, 2016 to say whether your claim is complete.

Then, after your claim is complete, VW has 10 business days to review it and confirm that you’re eligible.

There are other steps you need to take. For example, you need to get an offer from VW and read it. If you agree with the offer, you have to sign it and get it notarized and return it to VW. VW will tell you how to return it. Please check with VW for the most accurate and up-to-date information about the process. I am not explaining all the steps here.

Bridget Small - There is a serious disconnect between the process outlined in the settlement and how the settlement is being conducted.

On Oct 27th, I received an email from VW stating my documentation was accepted and within 10 days I should receive my offer from VW. Today, 11/11/2016 I called to learn the status of my offer.

I spoke with someone who could check the status of my claim. She said once VW accepts my docs, it goes to the 3rd party auditor who has 10 days to validate the docs are valid and tell VW to process an offer. The VW rep then explained VW has an additional 4 weeks(!) to send me an offer. Which translates to I should have an offer no later than 12/07/2016! This is well outside the timelines mandated by the FTC.

I will also file a formal complaint on the FTC website and with customer counsel. However, this needs to be examined - the FTC needs to follow a number of claims start to finish. We are not being protected.

My status: loan and all docs read "complete" in portal Just called the VW number and was told that from October 26 they have 20 business days to review eligibility which the representative told me VW has until November 23rd.

I asked rep to make notes that she stated this to me on my account. So Bridget Small is not interpreting the settlement information correctly. Basically my docs were uploaded and complete Oct 22nd and have an email that says they are determining eligibility...but that doesn't matter.

Only from October 26 plus 20 business days which will be November 23rd will they begin to upload offer letters and make appointments for all. This doesn't seem on an individually based portal situation or it doesn't matter when you uploaded or when your docs rolled over to complete. November 23rd is the day they begin the process of offers and appointments.

As I stated above, I received my buyback offer on 11/4. I signed it and uploaded the document and am now waiting on being able to set my appointment. What I would like to know is what is the time frame from the time that I accept the offer to the time I am allowed to set an appointment. I spoke with someone from at the claims site last night and was told 10 business days at the most. I asked where in the settlement documents this can be found and no answer was given. So I ask here again, what is the allowed time from when you sign your offer to the time you are allowed to set an appointment?

I understand the October 25th date and timeline but saying that we wait 20 business days is annoying. I get it, it's business and it's law and yadda yadda. Problem is, some of us have a car that is requiring replacement parts.

No one wants to pay $1400+- on a car they are going to turn in soon. As for me, my timing belt and compressor needs replacements. I really don't want to fork up over $1000 for that belt when I'm going to be turning it in. Plus, suddenly it has a nitrous error relating to the fix I was notified about in a postcard sent from VW along with it telling me I'm out of AdBlue but I'm not. I don't care about the them making cars that pass German standards and not US laws.

Take this car back before it's too late. This brings up another question. If people's cars aren't driveable but they're still paying their loan, does that affect the buyback? If it's true that they're working with owners because lessees and loans, this is going to be a while.

"Under Review" still

Well, yesterday was my 10 business day. Disappointment again. I'm sure I am not the only one. I think that over the time from September 2015 to the present, most owners have shown patience. What we don't like is given false information about getting the Buyback done. Deadline come and go. No information why this happen. No effort to give new information to the owners. They have shown by the post here that they are in violation of the settlement terms. So why is the FTC not seeing this and are not doing anything about it?

Although VW may have accepted your documents before October 25, the FTC Order provides that VW is permitted to take 10 business days from November 1, 2016 to say whether your claim is complete.

If your claim isn’t complete, VW will tell you what you need to do to complete it. After your claim is complete, VW has 10 business days to review it and confirm that you’re eligible.

I received my letter this morning, off to find a notary song can upload them and get this over with.

Just to help the rest of us out, do you remember the date that VW confirmed all of your documents were received, making your claim "complete?" I know this would help me and probably others have a better idea when they might actually get around to sending us our offer. Thanks for any info!

FYI- Documents added 25 October - they approved the documents on the 4th of November and I recieved my offer today. I have already submitted the notarized copy shortly after I received them. Hope this helps.

As directed ("You must send ... the enclosed notarized release ....") I signed and returned the notarized release. Four days later, VW rejected it. I called to ask why, and I was told the notary form provided did not satisfy California law -- and the notary should have told me so. So why provide an incorrect form to Californians when we are the majority of the class? Somebody screwed up, and I'm wasting time and money because of it. Again. I'm guessing it's California Civil Code 1189(a)(1) language that's missing ("Any certificate of acknowledgment taken within this state shall include a notice at the top of the certificate of acknowledgment in an enclosed box stating: 'A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.' This notice shall be legible.")

How is the final approval sent to the owners, regular mail or e-mail. I have received an e-mail stipulating that my dicuments are correct. Also when will the buyback commence.

After your claim is complete, VW has 10 business days to review it and confirm that you’re eligible for the settlement. After VW confirms that you're eligible, you must get, process and return an offer from VW. After the offer is returned, you will be able to schedule a buyback appointment.

I need to change my name on the claims portal due to getting married. They sent an email stating that they could unlock my claim and it would take 2 business days. I called for the third time this morning and the rep on the phone stated that it should not matter if my maiden name is on the account, since that name is still associated with me. After explaining that I have now gotten denied 3 times, it needs to be changed. His only offer to me was to reset my account, which means I would have to start over. I told him if that is what I need to do, let's do it. He then proceeds to tell me that it will take 3 business days for that to happen. Every time that I have called has resulted in a different story.

Bridget, If we have to wait for a modification to see our money it is unfair. If the modification takes VW months or years then they win. Still waiting. Also, in the meantime, I have 3 recalls, including airbags, that VW still hasn't fixed! I have had my car in for service multiple times and none of the recalls are available yet.

My ten days for info received and being reviewed has been over. Why haven't I been contacted? Does VW need to add more staff? My car is in perfect condition, I don't want to keep driving my car and keep adding mileage or incur 'Murphys Law' and something happens to me while driving the car.
Is there any end in sight? Is all this info I've been reading, real?

Although VW may have accepted your documents before October 25, VW is permitted to take 10 business days from November 1, 2016 to say whether your claim is complete.

If your claim isn’t complete, VW will tell you what you need to do to complete it. After your claim is complete, VW has 10 business days to review it and confirm that you’re eligible.

Is the FTC looking into our *clearly documented* inability to receive any sort of reliable communication from VW regarding processing times? As consumers we have no option but to wait. No one can tell us with any certainty when our offer will be sent - even after the deadline VW set has expired. VW should be forced to hire more employees to process paperwork, because they clearly are not able to handle the number of consumers who deserve compensation NOW. 900 employees is NOT enough manpower to process 480,000 vehicles. Why is the FTC not doing its job and quickly addressing these issues?

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