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FTC says Volkwagen paid U.S. ‘Dieselgate’ victims $9.5 billion

The automaker was found guilty of basing vehicle ads on false emissions claims

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In a published report, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Volkswagen paid U.S. victims of its emissions cheating scandal, better known as “Dieselgate,” a total of $9.5 billion. 

Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that it used “defeat devices” to score better on emissions tests. The following year, the company gave U.S. consumers who unwittingly purchased one of these vehicles the option of either returning it to Volkwagen for financial compensation or having it repaired to comply with emissions regulations. 

The FTC said in a final court summary that more than 86 percent of consumers opted to return their car through a buyback or early lease termination. The agency said Volkwagen “successfully managed the settlement administration process effectively,” despite the large volume of claims. 

“Most important, the FTC orders and related private class settlements provided redress sufficient to compensate consumers fully,” the FTC said in the report.

Closing the Dieselgate scandal

Volkwagen pleaded guilty to fraud, obstruction of justice, and falsifying statements as part of a multi-billion dollar settlement negotiated with the Justice Department. The scandal also led to the resignation of Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn and was a key factor in the company’s decision to shift to electric vehicles. 

The FTC’s final report on the matter puts an end to what the FTC described as “one of the most successful consumer redress programs in history.”

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