FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Attorney General Andy Beshear is warning Kentuckians who own a Volkswagen or Audi 2.0-liter Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI®) diesel-engine vehicle to be wary of a “buyback” scam.
Volkswagen announced in June that it would provide customers restitution and offer the buyback program in response to a class-action lawsuit and a suit brought by Beshear. The suits sought to ensure that consumers receive fair compensation from the automaker who deliberately installed rigged software on the vehicles in order to deceive owners, cheat emissions tests and claim the cars had “clean diesel” technology.
Final approval of the emissions settlement is expected in October. Owners will then begin to receive at least $5,100 and a vehicle buyback offer worth thousands of dollars more than the current replacement value. If every eligible Kentuckian takes advantage of the settlement, payments to Kentucky consumers could exceed $80 million.
Beshear and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are warning TDI owners that scammers are looking to take advantage of the emissions settlement and willing to lie to owners so that they can acquire a vehicle and profit from the buyback.
“Due to the emissions scandal, these vehicles have become highly sought after by scammers who are looking to cash in on the buyback,” Beshear said. “My office fought to ensure that Kentucky car owners were compensated for being deliberately deceived by Volkswagen and now we want to make sure owners have the facts around the ‘buyback’ scam so they are not cheated again.”
Beshear offered these tips from the FTC to help owners avoid falling victim to a “buyback” scam:
• Refer to the official Volkswagen settlement website, https://www.vwcourtsettlement.com, for accurate eligibility, timeline, compensation and FAQ information.
• Be wary of bogus offers that are not affiliated with the official settlement.
• Lookout for offers that say you have to spend buyback compensation on a new Volkswagen or Audi.
• Be cautious of offers that try to get you to act quickly, before you have all of the information on your settlement.
• Report any suspicious offers for your vehicle, or anyone that suggests there are limits on the buyback program that don’t exist, to the FTC and to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office at 888-432-9257 or file a consumer complaint online.
In March Beshear filed a Consumer Protection Act suit against Volkswagen and connect brands Audi and Porsche. Volkswagen settled the suit in June and agreed that the Commonwealth is eligible for more than $19 million in environmental damage from an Environmental Mitigation Trust funded by Volkswagen and nearly $3.5 million in civil penalties.
In lieu of the buyback program, owners have the option of receiving a modification to their vehicle which will reduce emissions.
Volkswagen is currently working to develop a modification, which regulators must approve.
Kentuckians are urged to stay up to date on new and trending scams by signing up for Scam Alerts.
To enroll text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311), or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.