Carmel man files class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen

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A Carmel man has filed a class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen claiming the automaker lied about the car he bought.  It is the latest move following allegations that Volkswagen came up with a scheme to cheat on emissions tests.

"I'm very upset,” said Tom Richards.

He is not happy after learning the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI he bought was rigged with software designed to cheat on diesel car emissions tests.

“We filed a class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen for their defeat device that they put on their vehicles and some Audis from 2009 to 2015 which essentially made sure they would pass regulatory tests when the engines were tested but when they were operating normally, they would defeat the EPA's requirement and actually produce emissions 40 times what the EPA said," said attorney William Riley with Riley Williams & Piatt, LLC.

Richards says he bought the vehicle because the salesman said it got good gas mileage and was environmentally beneficial.  Something that is not entirely true.

"I've had a couple VW's before and very pleased with the cars that I've had.  But this one now, it's not what I want. It's not what I bought.  It's not what I want," said Richards.

"Volkswagen decided to lie to 11 million American consumers and I don't know how many Hoosiers.  But, the vehicle was engineered to lie.  And that's really the true story here. They set out to do something incredibly wrong," said Riley.

Volkswagen's CEO told a congressional hearing a few engineers came up with the scheme to cheat on emission tests and that management did not know about it.

"I would like to offer a sincere apology and we are determined to make things right," said Volkswagen CEO Michael Horn.

"If they lied about, what's going to prevent them from lying again?" wondered Richards, who has owned other Volkswagen vehicles.

"I was already sold on the fact that my previous car was a Volkswagen, so I was there.  It was a very good salesperson. I'm not one to do much more than kick tires. But, when I read it in the paper, then I knew, this is not right.  That's the bottom line."

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Richards believes his car has lost value.  Who would buy it now? 

"People who bought this variety of Volkswagens and paid a premium for the diesel vehicles with supposed good emissions, ended up with something that is not what they bought.  And, even though there is a recall, this recall is not going to end up making these vehicles as fuel-efficient as they were sold because they're going to have to go back and retrofit them and make them work the way they said.   They're not going to have the mileage they sold these people on," said Riley.  "It's also going to cause people to trade them in, sell them to other individuals.  The value of their vehicles has gone down.  He wouldn't have purchased this vehicle at all, if he would have known that he was being lied to." 

"If the recall, which I'm reading to, that will drastically effect the mileage. It'll make it sluggish.  It'll turn it into a very undesirable car," said Richards.

Richards has asked an attorney to file a lawsuit against the automaker.

"This is not only a legal violation, but it's also a violation of consumer trust," said Riley.  "This is not a situation where they found out later that they designed something incorrectly. From the very get-go, Volkswagen decided that they would defeat emissions control and they operated on it from the beginning, up until they were finally caught. "

Richards is now concerned that his Volkswagen may be harming the environment.

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"I feel every time I get in it now, I am violating something.  I feel bad because I feel I'm polluting more, I was hoping to go the other direction,” said Richards.  "Our environment needs to be repaired.  That company needs to jump in and do it.  "I feel somewhat betrayed because I've learned this wasn't just a happenstance. This was planned.  This was purposely planned in order to sell cars without going through the process of helping the environment," said Richards.

The class-action lawsuit seeks costs, restitution, damages, including punitive damages.