Martin Lewis’ MSE explains how 100,000s of diesel drivers could be owed a payout

HUNDREDS of thousands of drivers could be owed £1,000s in compensation amid the “dieselgate” scandal.

And Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert (MSE) has created a detailed guide on exactly how to apply for a payout.

These are some of the car manufacturers that have been caught up in the diesel emissions scandal

These are some of the car manufacturers that have been caught up in the diesel emissions scandal

The issue affects owners of diesel cars and vans made by a number of manufacturers, including Vauxhall, Audi and Volkswagon, and Citreon, between 2007 and 2018.

Drivers could be owed a payout if they bought one of these cars, outlined below, either outright or on finance, brand new or secondhand.

Lawyers claim car manufacturers fitted “defeat” devices to its models that “cheated” the emissions tests to meet legal environmental standards for cars.

They believe the drivers were mis-sold cars because they were more polluting than promised and worth less than the purchase price.

Brands and models affected

CARS made by the following manufacturers between 2007 and 2018 may be affected by the diesel emissions scandal.

Motorists who own or previously owned one may be entitled to compensation.

  • Audi
  • Chrysler
  • BMW
  • Citroen
  • Fiat
  • Ford
  • Hyundai
  • Jaguar
  • Kia
  • Land Rover
  • Mini
  • Mercedes
  • Nissan
  • Peugeot
  • Porsche
  • Renault
  • Seat
  • Skoda
  • Vauxhall
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo

That means drivers could be owed cash if they can prove they would never have bought the car if they’d known about the “emission flaws”.

Payouts could also be made to those who ended up paying more for a “low emission” car despite the model using the “cheating” device during tests.

Motorists may also be owed money if they had to pay for the vehicle to be fixed at a later date is it didn’t comply with emissions standards.

A compensation scheme may be way off yet though, as there’s no guarantee it will happen – the legal process has many steps and is at the very beginning.

The car manufacturers are putting up their own legal fight too, claiming that consumers haven’t suffered a financial loss because of the scandal.

Making a claim

It would be almost impossible for individuals to take on the car manufacturers as the high legal fees are likely to outweigh the payout.

Instead, a number of law firms are taking legal action on behalf of drivers, so you’ll only get compensation if you’re one of the motorists they’re representing.

This is how victims of a data breach started to receive compensation from British Airways after scammers stole customers’ personal details.

Class action is also being brought against Virgin Media over a data breach between April 2019 and February 2020.

Certain law firms are are taking on different car manufacturers. For the full list and further details on which ones you’ll need to check out the MSE guide.

Normally, we’d advise against going through a legal firm to make compensation claims, but in this case it may be the only way you’ll get what you’re owed.

Each law firm requires you to fill in a claims form including details of how you’ve been affected, such as the car you owned and when you bought it.

But there are a few things to be aware of before signing up.

Ways to cut down on your fuel costs

HERE are some tips on how you can slash the cost of fuel.

  1. Make your car more fuel-efficient. You can do this by keeping your tyres inflated, taking the roof rack off, emptying your car of clutter and turning off your air con when driving at lower speeds.
  2. Find the cheapest fuel prices. PetrolPrices.com and Confused.com allows you to search prices of UK petrol stations. All you need to do is enter in your postcode and tell it how far you want to travel (up to 20 miles).
  3. Drive more efficiently. Some ways to do this, include:
  • Accelerate gradually without over-revving
  • Always drive on the highest possible gear
  • If you can, allow your car to slow down naturally as your brake is a money burner
  • Re-starting your car is expensive, if you can keep moving

While the claims are “no win, no fee”, the legal team will take a cut, roughly around a third and half, according to MSE, of your compensation if it is successful.

If the lawyers lose, technically you will be liable to pick up the legal costs so it’s important to only make a claim if you believe you have a case.

Legal firms can claim these costs back on their “after the event” insurance, but it’s likely to be capped and so you may have to contribute to the remaining charges.

Most firms offer a 14-day cooling off period, according to MSE, so you can cancel if you get cold feet.

However, some companies may charge you the legal costs if you withdraw after the two-week window so it’s best to read the small print.

How long will it take?

It could be years before you actually get a payout – there are many stages to the legal process and it’s only just starting.

Once affected car owners come forward, a court must first give the go-ahead for a Group Litigation Claim.

If it’s given the green light, a date will be set for lawyers to battle it out in a court room – and this could take years.

For example, legal action against the VW Group is one of the first to kick off, with a first hearing in 2019, but a full trial date hasn’t been set until January 2023.

It can then take months for a judgement to be made.

Even after a verdict has been decided, either party could appeal the decision in a spate of further legal action.

And if a judge rules that drivers were owed compensation, the car manufacturers would then need time to process the funds.

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