Some Volkswagen diesel owners say the goodwill compensation packages they elected to receive four weeks ago, as part of the automaker’s apology to North American consumers, still haven’t arrived in the mail.
According to several owners who wrote on VWVortex, gift cards have taken longer than four weeks — the timeline promised by the automaker — to arrive, if they’ve even arrived at all.
Most of the owners who posted on the forum said that they registered for VW’s goodwill program around Nov. 9, when registrations were initially open.
Audi announced last week that owners of its A3 TDI model would be offered the same goodwill program available to Volkswagen TDI owners.
The program, which started Nov. 20, offers owners the same $500 prepaid Visa card that can be used anywhere and a $500 dealership gift card that can be used at Audi dealerships. Three years of roadside assistance also will be included in the goodwill program.
According to Audi’s diesel information site, accepting the goodwill package doesn’t preclude owners from suing Audi in the future.
Volkswagen’s Goodwill Program in the U.S., which may cost the company nearly half a billion dollars all told, may be a form of corporate apology that could insulate the automaker from further lawsuits.
Michael Siebecker, a professor of law at the University of Denver, says the company’s gift cards could be a form of “corporate apology” that studies have shown help shield some doctors from medical malpractice lawsuits.
“I believe that this is a type of watered-down apology. They may be saying ‘You must be hurting, here’s a little something to get by.’ I don’t know what exactly they think consumers need right now,” Siebecker said.
UPDATE: There is a clause in the ‘Program Rules’ that could allow Volkswagen to change the terms of the agreement after the fact. We’ve added statements from Volkswagen, a law firm representing TDI owners and a law professor so you can make an informed decision on whether or not to register for the Goodwill Package.
Owners who signed up for Volkswagen’s “Goodwill Program” to receive $1,000 will still be able to take the automaker to court, according to documents posted by Volkswagen on Monday.
The program outlines specific steps owners would need to take to receive the benefits offered. Including taking ownership of the 2-liter diesel cars before Nov. 9, owners would need to take their cars to Volkswagen dealers to have their gift cards activated, an action Volkswagen deems necessary to curb fraud. Cards will also be printed with the name of the goodwill package recipient.
Volkswagen said it would send one $500 black prepaid Visa card that could be used anywhere, and another $500 white prepaid card that could be redeemed at Volkswagen dealerships only.
The automaker also offered three years of roadside assistance in addition to the gift cards.
At least one dealer group is planning to use the activation procedure to its advantage, telling employees that dealer management hopes customers will spend both prepaid cards at its Volkswagen store.
Update: Information about retracted article below with links to published documents.
On Sunday, Volkswagen of America launched signups for its “2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package”, which is fully expected to provide prepaid debit cards to owners of the 500,000 affected diesel vehicles that pollute up to 40 times the amount allowed by law.
However, if you are one of those TDI owners, it might be best to wait a day or two before signing up as Volkswagen has not yet published the terms of accepting the goodwill package.
Volkswagen’s “2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package”, expected to be announced sometime today, will include three years of 24-hour Roadside Assistance in addition to two prepaid cards. Those cards will be valued at $500 each — one that can be spent anywhere and the other that can only be used at a Volkswagen dealer.
Whether you must waive certain rights or not as part of signing up to receive the package is still unknown. Volkswagen has not yet posted additional program details.
UPDATE: Volkswagen Launches "2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package" Signup, TTAC Registers an Affected TDI
UPDATE: Another TTAC reader is seeing different prompts without the Goodwill Package offer.
The Volkswagen Diesel Information website is now listing the “2.0L TDI Customer Goodwill Package” and requesting vehicle identification numbers (VINs) for registration in the program. However, it does not seem to be working for all website visitors.
The signup form asks owners for a physical address, email address and vehicle mileage before asking for permission to use the information to contact the owner regarding future diesel emissions related updates.
TTAC was able to obtain a VIN for one of the affected vehicles with an owner’s permission to complete the sign up process.
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