A Grantham man has joined a group to sue Mercedes over their role in the ‘dieselgate’ scandal, in which Mercedes is alleged to have used defeat devices to avoid complying with the law regarding diesel car emissions.
Affected diesel Mercedes vehicles were made between 2008 and 2018, and drivers can join the claim whether they purchased their affected vehicle new or second hand. It is estimated that 600,000 Mercedes vehicles in the UK may have been affected, with a potential one million individuals able to make a claim.
The value of each claim may reach £10,000.
Local residents can check if a vehicle they own, or have owned in the past, was impacted by the scandal and if they are eligible to join the claim, here: https://bit.ly/3ErtmzD
Grantham man Keith Raby is working with national consumer rights law firm Slater and Gordon to bring the claim. The claim is expected to become a group action litigation, with tens of thousands of affected consumers working together to hold Mercedes to account.
Slater and Gordon currently represents around 14,000 claimants across the country and are also joint lead solicitors in the Volkswagen dieselgate claim. The claim is fully funded by Asertis, an independent litigation funder, allowing people to seek compensation from Mercedes without risking their own money.
Following the emissions scandal Mercedes recalled vehicles in order to provide them with a software update known as a ‘fix’ to make the vehicles comply with emissions regulations. In a survey of Slater and Gordon’s claimants, 25% of those who have had the ‘fix’ have experienced reliability issues since it was applied. Whilst 31.8% of those who have had the ‘fix’ have lost confidence in their car’s reliability, 15% of those who have had the ‘fix’ believe their car has since become less safe. 81% of those who have had the ‘fix’ do not think that Mercedes were transparent with them about potential issues that may arise following the ‘fix’.
Mr Raby who has recently joined the group litigation against Mercedes commented: “I was shocked to learn of Mercedes’ use of defeat devices in their diesel cars and am keen that all of us who have been let down by Mercedes should receive the compensation we are due. It was especially disappointing to see that Mercedes colluded with other car manufacturers to suppress technology that could have reduced the vehicles’ emissions and protected the environment.”
Gareth Pope, the lawyer in charge of the claim at Slater and Gordon, commented: “Our clients will allege that Mercedes knowingly installed unlawful defeat devices in hundreds of thousands of UK vehicles that allowed them to pass emissions tests designed to protect human health and the environment while still being highly polluting on the road.
“As a result, our clients will allege that they have been deceived into purchasing these polluting vehicles for more than they were worth. As part of the deception, our clients will also allege that Mercedes participated in a cartel with other German manufacturers, including Volkswagen, to suppress the development and implementation of cleaner emissions technology in order to maximise their profits.”
In June 2018, Mercedes was found by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) to have installed cheating software in their diesel engines to avoid regulatory requirements and was forced to recall 774,000 vehicles across Europe. These ‘defeat devices’ limited emissions during testing, underrepresenting the true emissions released on the road. This resulted in Mercedes diesel engines not complying with regulations on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler, was fined €870m in September 2019 for negligent violation in relation to their avoidance of emissions regulations. Daimler has settled an investigation in the United States for a reported $1.5bn, as well as settling a class action case against them for $700m. The KBA also ordered Mercedes to recall approximately 90,000 affected vehicles in England and Wales, as well as Mercedes issuing voluntary recall notices. Despite all of this, Mercedes has expressed its intention to fight the claims launched in the United Kingdom, forcing UK customers to take Mercedes to court in an attempt to secure compensation.
In July, the European Commission found that Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen Group, which includes VW, Audi and Porsche, had breached antitrust rules by colluding to avoid further developments on lowering NOx emissions in diesel vehicles. Over the course of five years, the manufacturers colluded to avoid competition on improving the technology beyond what is required by law despite the relevant technology being available.
As well as environmental and ethical reasons for holding Mercedes to account, there is also the very real possibility that owners have overpaid for a vehicle which doesn’t comply with emissions regulations and which may now need to be fixed. In certain circumstances, it appears that the ‘Fix’ implemented by Mercedes may have contributed to declining performance of vehicles, or even left motorists stranded by the roadside.