A Sting Exclusive: “One year on from the VW scandal and EU consumers are still in the dark”, BEUC’s Head highlights from Brussels

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mrs Monique Goyens, the Director General of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC)

Photo: Pablo Garrigos

Mrs Monique Goyens is the Director General of BEUC              (Photo: Pablo Garrigos)

At the end of June, Volkswagen car drivers in the US heard that the car company had agreed to provide compensation payments of up to $10,000 to each driver and promised to buy back the car in case it could not be repaired. Two months later, on the other side of the world, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced that it would take action against Volkswagen for “concealing software in their vehicles to cheat emissions testing and misleading consumers about the vehicle’s compliance with standards and emission levels”.

But in the EU, official responses have been rather low-level – to say the least. The notable exception is the Italian Competition Authority which fined Volkswagen €5 million for unfair commercial practices. Owners of affected vehicles across Europe are however are still waiting for their governments to stand up for them against this unprecedented scandal.

We are pleased with the European Commission DG Justice and Consumers’ recent moves to engage with consumer groups and national consumer authorities on how to build pressure on Volkswagen. This could potentially be a game-changer in terms of making the company act in the consumer interest. However, the case for compensation should be made much stronger and louder across the EU.

VW has deliberately deceived car owners into buying ‘dirty’ cars instead of the aspired and advertised ‘clean’ cars. European car drivers have been misled about the quality and performance features of their vehicles. They bought a car with a prohibited defeat device which they would otherwise probably not have purchased. And they suffer both economic damage (the potential loss in value of the cars) and health damage (higher than allowed output of dirty emissions). The level of distress suffered by owners of affected vehicles is also more than enough to expect financial compensation. Particularly because the majority of car owners are still waiting for the ‘repair’ of their car or have been left in the dark as to when the repair will take place.

And to add insult to injury, our Italian member Altroconsumo found out that an Audi Q5, which they tested in a lab after it had been ‘repaired’, churned out 25% more toxic NOX emissions than allowed under Euro 5 limits. You couldn’t make it up.

We cannot accept that this fraudulent behaviour by a major European company should remain without consequences. National public authorities must act to put pressure on VW to correct their misbehaviour.

Furthermore, we need to see real action at European level to fix a vehicle testing regime that is out-of-date, opaque and easily exploitable. There must be proper oversight of vehicle testing across Europe and regular market surveillance activities – two areas today which are almost completely non-existent. We expect decision makers to act in the interest of consumers, for public health for the environment and to restore trust in the automotive sector.

About the writer
As Director General of BEUC, Monique represents 42 independent national consumer associations in 31 European countries, acting as a strong consumer voice in Brussels, ensuring that consumer’ interests are given weight in the development of policies and raising the visibility and effectiveness of the consumer movement through lobbying EU institutions and media contacts.

As a consumer expert and advocate, she was member of the EU High-level Expert Group on reforming the structure of the EU banking sector (Liikanen group – 2012) and the EU Resource Efficiency Platform (2012-2014). She is now member of the EU High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain and a delegate in the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change of the European Economic and Social Committee. She is an effective member of the Euro Retail Payments Board and recently, she has been appointed in the Advisory Group of the European Commission on the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) as well as in the Advisory Group of Transparency International EU.

In her capacity as BEUC Director General, Monique is currently EU co-chair of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) a network of EU and US consumer organisations, and she also represents BEUC at Consumers International, the international consumer organisation.

Apart from championing consumer’ rights, Monique’s passions/challenges are her family, cooking for friends and long walks with her golden retriever.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Where is heading Putin’s Russia?

Let your fingers do the walking

While EU Open Days 2013 discuss the 2020 strategy, Microsoft shares a glimpse of EU 2060

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

GradList Launched At TheNextWeb 2014

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Argentina Accepts KP Amendment

Europe turns out more jobs this summer

China’s 13th Five Year Plan and the opportunities for Europe

LEAGUE OF YOUNG VOTERS LAUNCHES TOOL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO COMPARE POLITICAL PARTIES AHEAD OF EU ELECTIONS

European Youth Capital 2018 : Cascais

EU Council: Private web data to be protected by…abusers

Unemployment and stagnation can tear Eurozone apart if austere policies persist

World Summit Awards 2016: Sustainable impact through digital innovation

European Youth Forum demands immediate action & binding agreement on climate change

EU Council agrees to reform the system for motor vehicles but with “restricted” power for the Commission

Gloomy new statistics signify no end to Eurozone’s economic misery

Greece bailout programme: Full agreement after marathon negotiations on debt relief between IMF and Eurozone

SCADA Security Conference 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic

Huawei answers allegations about its selling prices

Is the advent of nationalism to destroy economic neo-liberalism?

Greece: Tsipras’ referendum victory does not solve the financial stalemate of the country and its banks

An expert in the South China Sea issue on an exclusive interview at the European Sting

Brexit Update: EU endorses unprecedented compromise to help Cameron out of the referendum mess he got himself into

Google strongly rejects EU antitrust charges and now gets ready for the worst to come

European Union: More taxes out of less income

ECB’s trillion has to be printed and distributed fast before Armageddon comes

Eurozone: Statistics don’t tell the whole story

Why capital markets have no more reservetions about Eurozone

MWC 2016 LIVE: Orange targets VoLTE and Voice over Wi-Fi; strikes Google partnership

“We are in Europe, but not of it”, from Churchill to Cameron: British Exceptionalism now threatens the entire EU Edifice

Draghi’s top new year resolution: Quantitative Easing

G20 LIVE: “ISIL is the face of evil; our goal is to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organisation”, US President Barack Obama cries out from Antalya Turkey

How wealthy people transmit this advantage to their children and grand children

Entrepreneurial leadership: what does it take to become a leader?

Trump asked Merkel to pay NATO arrears and cut down exports ignoring the EU

Tackling Youth Unemployment

Impacting society with digital ingenuity – World Summit Award proclaiming the top 8 worldwide

Brexiteer May gets lip-service from Trump and Turkish promises from Erdogan

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

Economic recovery won’t tackle youth unemployment problem

On Grexit: Incompetence just launched the historic Ultimatum that could open “pandora’s box”

EU takes again positive action on migration crisis while Turkey asks for dear favors in exchange for cooperation

EU Trust Fund for Africa: Can it be beneficial for Italy and tackle the migration crisis in the Mediterranean?

Refugee crisis update: EU fails to relocate immigrants from Greece and Italy

May a parody constitute a copyright infringement? European Court of Justice to give the answer

Germany loves a strong euro; the new Fiscal Councils can deliver despite the Greek chaos and a wider questioning of austerity

The EU checks the multinationals for tax fraud but Britain may sail out of the EU via Panama

The ECB tells Berlin that a Germanic Eurozone is unacceptable and doesn’t work

Alexis Tsipras ready to test Eurozone’s political sturdiness; Up to what point?

EU’s tougher privacy rules: WhatsApp and Facebook set to be soon aligned with telcos

Last-chance Commission: Why Juncker promised investments of €300 billion?

MWC 2016 LIVE: Under Armour learns from “robust community of data”

Alexandre in Czech Republic

“Two Pack” approved: Is democracy chased away from Brussels?

MWC 2016 LIVE: BT chief aims to be at UK 5G forefront

EU seeks foreign support on 5G from Mobile World Congress 2015 as the “digital gold rush” begins

Latest leaked TTIP document confirms EU sovereignty may be under threat

VW diesel scandal and climate change: can increased independent car checks lead to cleaner mobility?

South Eurozone countries threatened by rising borrowing cost and expensive euro

Has the EU economy truly revived from the financial crisis?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s