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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

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To submit a complaint to the FTC, go to FTC.gov/complaint. Once there, you can choose the category "Scams and Rip-offs" from the list on the left on the first screen, and choose "Other" on the second screen.

Or, you can choose the category "Other" from the list on the left on the first screen, and choose "Automobiles" on the second screen. Be sure to include the words "VW" and "clean diesel" in the  complaint when you tell the story in your own words.

The information you provide will go into a secure database used by law enforcement. The comments you put here on the blog do not go into the law enforcement database.

 

I would like to know when the 'offer letter' that has to be notarized arrives.
Is it attached with the email that states 'stage 2: 'your eligibility has been confirmed' email OR is there a 10 day (or more?) wait from when you get the 'you have been confirmed to be eligible' email to when you receive an email with 'the offer that has to be notarized?

My claim has been complete since October 27, that is when i received the email and went to the website and it stated that my claim was complete and under review.... uh Ms. Small it is now been 10 business days and no notification from vw about my claim.... I have already filed a complaint with the ftc.. since my claim was marked complete on Oct.27 10 business days would have been the 9th of Nov.. According to your parroted replies on hereI should be getting to the next step today.

I've been waiting since 11/4 for VW to review my signed and notarized offer. There appears to be no timetable for this process. I have asked the question several times on this site, and either the question does not get answered or even posted. So it appears as if VW has an unlimited time to review signed offers as I have yet to get an answer and the FTC forgot to get this included in the settlement. Just because you get an offer within 20 business days does not mean you get to set an appointment. There is no telling how long that delay will be.

I am replying to myself on this because I did find in the consent order the following: "Immediately upon either notification that a consumer is eligible under Subsection C.3 above or the Effective Date, whichever is later, allowing that Eligible Consumer to schedule a Buyback."

So, based upon that, VW seems to be in violation because it is past the effective date and obviously it is not immediate (at least to my way of thinking immediately would be returned by at least 11/7). Bridget Small please reply.

I'm in the same boat: accepted their offer by fax six weeks ago and am told that they are still "waiting in my fax." Is there a prescribed timetable for this step under the consent decree?

I used uploaded the notarized approval letter a over the weekend and GOOD NEWS I received word I could schedule an appt on Monday morning. Now the BAD NEWS, I have searched 100 miles around my location and it looks like most dealerships are showing 3 (three) appointment openings on only one or two days of the week starting in December and many of the days have already filled. (We decided to bit the bullet and will take a JANUARY 2017 opening.) I'm NOT impressed!!

Norman: 2 questions for you-- 1) If you don't mind me asking, is you car paid off or do you still have a loan. 2) How long after you received the email that you 'were eligible' did you receive your 'offer letter' that needed to be notarized?

JANUARY.... that is absurd.

I am glad I finally found there are other people who are having the same issues as me.

I am not following what Bridget is saying. They have 10 days to tell me that my documents were approved from Nov 1. They told me they were approved on Oct 14, here we are on Nov 14 and I still haven't received anything. Is she telling me that not only did we have to wait well over a year to actually get any information but now I have to wait up to 8 weeks for VW to buy it back.

This whole process has been a joke. I don't want a canned response from the FTC or VW, or a letter printed on VW letterhead saying how they are embarrassed.

I don't care how embarrassed they are. I want a little piece of paper with the Volkswagen name on it written to me that I can put in my bank account and get rid of this car that has been collecting dust in my driveway for over a year. Because heaven forbid we used a car they sold us under a huge umbrella of lies.

Bridget Small and the FTC are wrong. My docs were marked complete October 22nd and still have nothing.

Good evening Bridget Small, I too have 2 TDI vehicles that will go through the buyback program. I have many concerns and I am hoping you can help.
1) My portal account states that all of my documents have been approved and I am waiting for my final offer. From what I am reading, I should receive my final offer 10 DAYS after November 1? if that is correct I still have not received my final offer. When should it come??
2) Why are we being penalized for the delay of VW? Why will our buyback amount be adjusted for mileage? My cars are not being traded in. They will not be resold. This is very unfair and it feels like we have no recourse. This timeline is totally unreasonable.
3) Why will it take 90 days to set up an appointment to return my vehicles? I do not understand these ridiculous timelines.

We can not get answers. When you call the help line the people answering the phones are reading a script. They are not knowledgeable and give inconsistent information. The Q and A on the webpage is not helpful.

If your claim was complete on November 1, VW had 10 business days to let you know you were eligible.

The Order doesn't say it takes 90 days to set up an appointment. It says that a buyback should be completed within 90 days of the day you pick up the phone/ go online to set an appointment.

I uploaded my signed and notarized offer letter this weekend. I received notice it was accepted and I was able to make an appointment for the buy back today. There is only one dealership nearby handling the buy backs, apparently, and it appears that they are accepting appointments only one day each week. I took the first available - December 28th.

Has anyone else with an extended warranty figured out what to do about it yet? I assume I'm going to have to contact the warranty company, but I've been putting it off, hoping VW would address it somehow.

My documents were accepted October 27th and as of today, November 15th, I have not received an offer. I do have a loan on my vehicle with a regional bank and they have yet to receive a call for a payoff on my loan. I think this is unacceptable. VW is not complying with the 10 business day requirement and FTC should check into this situation. As far as I've read on line everyone who has an outstanding loan on their vehicles has not received an offer. All my paperwork were submitted and accepted before November 1st. FTC please check on this situation. Even when I called VW Claims number they have no clue. Thank you

Although VW may have accepted your documents before October 25, under the FTC Order, VW is permitted to take 10 business days from November 1, 2016 to say whether your claim is complete. When your claim is complete, VW has 10 business days to review it and confirm that you’re eligible.

Bridget - hasn't it now been 10 business days?

I say we go to the press with this soon!!!

I agree. There seems to be nothing out there taking about the inept handling of this. I understood the court timelines but this is outrages.

Has anyone gotten the buyback date yet and actually received settlement?

I have an appointment for December 28th. It was the first available when I scheduled.

Have an appointment 28 Dec for my Passat but have had no movement on my Jetta claim. Have called but cannot get anything out of the claims people other than "you should get something any day now."

VW approved my docs more than 10 days ago. They are now in VIOLATION of their court order.

Although VW may have accepted your documents before October 25, under the FTC Order, VW is permitted to take 10 business days from November 1, 2016 to say whether your claim is complete. When your claim is complete, VW has 10 business days to review it and confirm that you’re eligible.

Bridget      If I am looking at my calendar correctly then yesterday was 10 business days from November 1st. That being said why have those of us who submitted documents and received notification prior to November 1st. still heard no responses from VWGoA. By your statements we should have received notification that our claim is complete by yesterday (November 14) and should be receiving offers on or before Decmber 1st, is this correct. I would appreciate it if you would had some more specific dates to the timeline. Again I urge the FTC to ask VWGoA to do better at keeping all of us informed. From looking at the Facebook group it appears as if some people are now beginning to schedule appointments but we can not figure out what order claims are being processed.

Bridget, this makes no sense. They accepted the documents and said that the claim was COMPLETE. From the date that they said the claim was COMPLETE they should be held to the 10 business days to confirm eligibility. This is where people are frustrated. I called the number today and they said that it was impossible that any claims were accepted before 11/1, which is a lie, because I received my email on 10/28. If they mistakenly approved some before 11/1, they should still be held to the 10 day rule. And yes, I have filed my complaint per your guidelines. I'm just sick of reading the same response, that doesn't even answer the question that are being asked.

Chrissy, I understand that you're frustrated, and not satisfied with the information you're getting. Thank you for filing a complaint at FTC.gov/complaint so we have your report.

On October 25, 2016, a federal district court judge in San Francisco signed a $10 billion settlement order, starting the formal process for owners of certain Volkswagen and Audi 2.0 liter diesel cars to receive compensation for the vehicles they bought. 

The settlement allows VW five business days from the date the Court entered the Order (that is, October 25, 2016), to make relief available to consumers. Those five business days ended on November 1, 2016.

Although VW may have accepted your documents before October 25, 2016, under the Order, VW is permitted to take 10 business days from November 1, 2016  to say whether your claim is complete. After your claim is complete, VW has 10 business days to review it and confirm that you’re eligible.

Thanks for your reply Bridget. My documents were accepted and I received verification that my claim was complete on 10/28. This is where the disconnect is. But I don't think that it will be connected here. I'll continue to file complaints until Volkswagen holds up their end of the deal; I was told on 10/28 that my eligibility would be verified and an offer sent within 10 business days. This has not happened. The date of 11/1 keeps being brought up, but it does not apply to my situation because they told me my claim was complete before that date. They had until 11/1 to start, but they started early. That is not my fault. They should be held to the 10 day standard from the date that they sent the email that the claim was complete - in the email, it specifically said that I would hear from them within 10 business days. It's simple.

This is ridiculous and possibly criminal. Still waiting for 1 st round approval it has been 4 weeks.

Although VW may have accepted your documents before October 25, under the FTC Order, VW is permitted to take 10 business days from November 1, 2016 to say whether your claim is complete. When your claim is complete, VW has 10 business days to review it and confirm that you’re eligible.

I submitted my documents on the 13th of October. Its now 15 days after the 1st of November. I have _not_ received an email or any form of notification stating that they have everything they need to verify my claim. Its been more than 10 days now.

Hello, Bridget. I am also in the waiting game as everyone else is. I called the VW line yesterday, 11/14 and was told that I would get my offer by 11/16. Let's assume that VW does not follow through on time... What repercussions can consumers claim other than making a complaint on the FTC website? Do we get additional restitution?

Ms. Small, with all due respect, you continually repost this same reminder, but in many cases the post you affix it to falls outside of the terms you describe.

For example, I see you post this in response to many folks here who are in the same shoes as my own: informed in writing by VW after 11/1 that the claim is COMPLETE, and that eligibility will be determined within ten business days. But then that ten business days/2 calendar weeks period expires with NO FURTHER COMMUNICATION.

Please pay us the courtesy of not chanting the same inapplicable information over and over. It serves no purpose except to further discourage already frustrated class members.

Bridget - would it be possible to get a new category added to the Autos section of the FTC complaint website specifically for the VW Settlement? I filed a complaint at the end of last week only to receive an email back from the FTC suggesting that I check their link on Auto Warranties...while the email states the complaint was reviewed, I personally don't feel like it was reviewed.

I encourage everyone to file official complaints. My strategy will be daily until my buyback is done.

If you provide an email address when you file a complaint with the FTC, you receive an automated email reply indicating we received your complaint. The auto-reply is related to the category you chose.

Law enforcement personnel have many methods for searching complaints and reports. If you included the words VW and clean diesel in your complaint, the people who review complaints will more easily find it.

I don't know whether it's possible to add a category to Sentinel. I'll forward that request to my colleagues.

Bridget,
If we were told that our claim was complete before Nov 1st is VW still given 10 days for the complete claim process or does the 10 day eligible part start Nov 1st?

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

And, after your claim is complete, VW is permitted to take 10 business days to confirm whether you’re eligible.

 

Claim complete on 11/1. Got email on 11/14 with my offer and get it notarized. Uploaded 11/14. Got my appoint scheduled for 12/15. SO Now I have to wait another whole month to take care of this. I have a car picked out but it is doubtful the car will still be available.

Thanks for that info! Do you have a loan on car or is it paid for?

Sadly what will happen to many is.... no cash-in-hand before year end and then come Jan1st, no car deals to be had costing more for the same purchase that could have been made in December for less.

What recourse do we have if they don't adhere to the timeframes that were mandated? I got an acknowledgement of review of my documents on 10/28, so I am in theory, past the 10 business days for them to confirm my eligibility. Also, when calling their help line yesterday, the claims center was "down" so they couldn't help with anything, the hold message today says it will take a month to get your offer, but after 25 minutes on hold, it disconnected me.

I look at it this way. Few years back purchased a 2012 A3 TDI, told it has better emissions than the gas version, 2hrs later max I am driving my A3. TWO HOURS. Now it takes WEEKS to basically reverse the process? You provide ID, Ownership Info, Sign stuff...can anyone explain (VW ?) why the buyback process has the speed of something from 1960? This is 2017....electronics.... So I hear? Net-Net, I want my A3 gone, want the cash, want another car, and lets move on! (BTW my A3 is a 9.5/10 car, under 45K miles and had planned on keeping it had this mess not come up....needless to say I'm not a happy camper with VW at the moment)

"When your claim is complete, VW has 10 business days to review it and confirm that you’re eligible." My claim was marked "Complete" October 22nd....OK go further extend that to October 25th...or October 26th...Bridget...it has been over 10 days now for them to determine eligibility, for any of those dates. What now??????? File a complaint with FTC? Who will do nothing? This is terrible.

Although VW may have accepted your documents before October 25, under the FTC Order, 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.

And, after your claim is made complete, VW is permitted to take 10 business days to confirm whether you’re eligible.

 

I Submitted my documents Dec 06....now Dec 22 and my documents are " still under review". The only number VWGoA has is an automated system. This is far beyond 10 days!

It's shocking that the FTC has taken the anti-consumer view that consent decree, which says 10 days from acceptance, lets VW send acceptances early and then wait more than 10 days because they need not have started until 5 days after approval.

It is not easy to line up the timing on a new car purchase. We have relied on this settlement.

It is outrageous that the FTC has not petitioned the court to clarify its badly worded decree and notice. Settlement line operators are spreading misinformation. It's the FTCs job to fix that.

And if those of us who submitted documentation on or before November 1st, I trust the FTC will actually do it's job and ask the court to hold VW and/or the settlement administrator in contempt.

Again, this is not idle whining. This is about our reliance on the orders timeline. It's causing real harm to those of us waiting for certainty before we confirm a replacement car.

Thank you for your comment. The comments you make here on the blog are not included in the Consumer Sentinel Database.

To add your complaint to the database, please go to FTC.gov/complaint.  Once there, 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). The full text of your complaint will be accessible to law enforcement.

Complaints submitted to the FTC become part of the Consumer Sentinel Database, a secure database available solely to law enforcement.

If we were told that our claim is complete before Nov. 1st which process clock starts on Nov 1st? The claim is complete or that you’re eligible?

I just spoke with a representative over lunch. She was very nice for what that's worth. When she pulled my claim information she remarked "Oh, it looks like we've had everything we need for quite some time (October 20th). You claim is currently with the assigned third party reviewer to verify you're eligible. They have ten days to make that determination which didn't technically begin until November 1st. So, you should be receiving your offer this week or at the latest next week. Following your submission and verification of a notarized offer you will be able to make an appointment. The verification process could take up to 3 business days."

So if they've technically had my information since November 1, 2016 then excluding the postal/banking holiday last Friday - Today is the 10th business. I'm not holding my breath on that. Especially since I was given a gray response of sometime this week or next week at the latest..

Everyone needs to file complaints through this website. It is absolutely ridiculous how VW is getting away with dragging their feet like this. The FTC needs to be flooded with complaints so they actually do something about VW not complying with the timelines agreed to within the settlement.

If a person received their notification that their claim was COMPLETE, VW is under obligation to send the offer within 10 days. They are not doing this and their representatives at 1-844-98-CLAIM are providing misinformation and lies to the consumer. This buyback is a joke and a total scam.

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