Volkswagen Isn't Willing to Buy Back Your Stripped Diesel

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
volkswagen isn t willing to buy back your stripped diesel

If you were considering stripping your Volkswagen diesel prior to returning it, hit the brakes on that project immediately. VW’s nonspecific wording in the buyback terms created a gray area of legality that a few emissions scandal-affected owners decided to test, removing unessential portions of their 2.0-liter TDI-equipped models.

However, after a particularly thorough set of peelings, a federal judge warned opportunistic owners not to strip parts out of their vehicles before attempting to sell them back to Volkswagen through the company’s emissions settlement.

The initial theory was that the language used the settlement required only that cars be capable of movement under their own power in order to qualify for a buyback — providing a legal loophole for the removal of radios, mirrors, seats, doors, and anything else that wasn’t directly connected to the drivetrain. After one owner successfully returned a damaged vehicle with a missing bumper, it seemed like open season.

It was not.

USA Today reports that, leading up to Christmas weekend, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer cautioned owners to end the practice.

Robert Giuffra, VW’s attorney, said at Thursday’s court hearing that “a handful of owners have brought in vehicles that have been regrettably, deliberately stripped of parts.”

He even mentioned one owner that who had removed “almost every part” of their buyback vehicle, still intent on returning it. That “goes too far” and “they should not be engaging in deliberate parts stripping,” Giuffra explained to the judge.

Breyer agreed. “Clearly the purpose of the agreement by Volkswagen was to accept these cars in the condition that they were in as they were being driven on the road, and not to strip the cars,” he said.

Jonathan Cohen, an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission, said the FTC is “absolutely against bad-faith behavior by consumers.” However, he also issued a reminder that Volkswagen cannot decline buyback payments based upon a “vehicle’s superficial condition.”

So if your Golf TDI just so happens to be missing a mirror, possesses some unsightly dents, or is inexplicably fitted with incorrect wheels, you are probably within your rights. However, converting your VW into a frame on wheels with a motor attached is absolutely out of the question.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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2 of 46 comments
  • RHD RHD on Dec 27, 2016

    Those who want an additional pound of flesh from VW could just put a carefully located dent in each panel, just big enough to make the body work necessary to resell uneconomical. Other passive-aggressive sabotage could include contamination of the vital fluids. Doing anything like that would be wrong, and is not recommended. We still don't know what will happen to these cars in the future. Even if VW tries to suck it up and do the right thing, they have lost a huge number of future customers.

  • Sirwired Sirwired on Dec 28, 2016

    This result should surprise nobody. The intent of the agreement is clear, and deliberately maximizing harm to VW is well outside of it. In other news, if anybody was wondering why contracts for the simplest transactions often run dozens of pages, now you know.

  • Zach.attach Here in Seattle proper, the drivers tend to be passive or slow-speed aggressive. The scene itself is crazy -- with the complicated intersections, narrow two-way-streets, broken concrete, inlaid track, potholes, bikes, ebikes, rental scooters, all-way stops, etc. But I get the sense that most people want to get along. Based on the news reports -- I-5, the north and south suburbs, and the hours of midnight-6am are the exception.
  • El scotto -shuddering- An EV Brit vehicle? What could possibly go wrong?
  • El scotto Subway or non-subway city? There is a difference.
  • MaintenanceCosts Most of our drivers actually aren't that bad, except that they're a little slow-witted. But there is a group that, post-pandemic, has decided they've had it with the rules, and they're scary.Recently I've seen a regular drumbeat of people blowing through red lights and stop signs without a care in the world; several drivers drive the wrong way (despite honking and yelling) down one-way streets; one driver driving on the wrong side of the street past a line of cars waiting for a red light, forcing an innocent oncoming driver to take evasive action; and one pickup driver deliberately ramming all the planters (used to separate a bike lane) he could see.And no one can park. There's always someone parked blocking the crosswalk, blocking the fire hydrant, blocking the bike lane, blocking the bus stop, you name it.But mostly it's OK.
  • ChristianWimmer Sunak has apparently done this because his political party has lost so much support. Once the brainless masses flock to his political party again the trap will spring shut and bam - the ICE ban will be attempted to get pushed through even quicker.Honestly, Europe right now is a complete CR** HOLE thanks to the EU.Did anyone hear of the EU’s plans to make driving even more unattractive? A French Green Party politician introduced some really perverted ideas under the guise of “Vision Zero” (Zero deaths from driving in the EU) and of course the climate hysteria…1) If you just received your driver’s license you can not drive faster than 90 km/h - basically you’re stuck behind trucks on highways or can’t even overtake them on normal roads.2) If you are 60 years old, your license is only valid for 7 more years. If you are 70 years old, 5 years. If you’re 80 years old, 2 years. You are required to “renew” your license (and pay for it yourself) which will also determine if you are still fit to drive.3) The standard B driver’s license here allows you to drive vehicles up to 3.5 tons in weight. Under this idiotic proposal from that French nutjob, those 3.5 tons will decrease to 1.8 tons meaning that you can’t legally even drive a Tesla Model 3…