When it comes to Volkswagen’s diesel cheating scandal–what has come to be known as #Dieselgate–there has been plenty of coverage of corporate moves and responses, but little is actually known about what the consumer can do. That is because few real solutions have been offered. Those affected, listen up– because one court case in Florida could have a big impact on the options you have as a consumer.
According to Jalopnik, there is a court case underway in Florida, where the state’s Lemon Law Board has just ruled a diesel Volkswagen with the cheat a “lemon” and ordered the German automaker to buy it back. This is over a single car, and its far from simple, but the implications are huge.
The case centers around Walter Melnyk’s diesel VW. He felt in light of the last year’s worth of news, that his car was a lemon, so he followed the proper avenues to have the car declared a lemon. That put it in the Florida courts, where VW fought to have the case thrown out. When that didn’t happen, they fought to have the TV cameras away. It did not succeed at either.
The panel ruled in Melnyk’s favor, claiming the car was indeed a lemon. Though this has huge ramifications, there was another such hearing that VW actually won. So there is equal precedent for and against when other cases (including the many class action suits) go to a higher court. Additionally, different states have different legal processes, different rules, and differing interpretations of what a “lemon” is. VW’s defense through all this? “If it can drive, it’s not a lemon.” Depending on where you live, that defense may or may not hold up.
The simple answer is this– consult a local attorney that specializes in lemon law, and do your own research on your state’s lemon laws. You might not get the same outcome as Melnyk, but you won’t know unless you try.