Conciliation attempt in Belgian court ends with “No” from Volkswagen

On the 14th of November, Euroconsumers’ member Test Achats compelled Volkswagen in front of Belgian court to urge them to finally start compensation talks to the benefit of Belgian (but also Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese) consumers. After a series of High Court legal decisions confirming Volkswagen’s fault and the need to compensate consumers accordingly, and after the car company agreed to compensate German and UK consumers, Test Achats turned to the legal vehicle provided by Article 731 of the Belgian Judicial Code to initiate a formal conciliation procedure.

Although the Brussels court compelled Volkswagen’s board of directors and CEO Oliver Blume to attend the court hearing in person, the Volkswagen group chose to answer by sending their legal counsel with a clear message: No, we don’t have any intention of compensating Belgian consumers for the damage inflicted upon them because of the Dieselgate fraud. As a result, the case in Belgium will take its normal legal course with a hearing on the merits in May 2023.

Euroconsumers calls on the new Volkswagen CEO to thoroughly reflect on whether the company wants to continue along this path of discrimination. Why are German and UK consumers worthy of getting compensation, while Belgian, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese consumers are not getting the same level of respect? Does the Volkswagen group consider some VW customers to be of lesser importance?

Likewise, it is worth reflecting on the millions of euros the Volkswagen group chose to spend already on lawyer and legal fees over the past seven years, and the many more to come, by intentionally stalling consumer justice. It is incomprehensible that the money has not been used to grant European consumers their rightful compensation. It would have served better VW’s customers, the environment, and the VW shareholders.