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Polish watchdog biggest fines Volkswagen over dieselgate

Christian Fernsby |
25 volumes of files, over 5 thousand sheets of evidence that is how much material has been collected by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection in the proceedings against Volkswagen Group Poland, which ended yesterday.

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The fine is the highest UOKiK has ever imposed for a breach of consumer rights.

The Volkswagen concern used EA 189 EU 5 engine controlling software in Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda cars manufactured after 2008.

Under test conditions, it underestimated nitrogen oxide emission levels.

The software recognized that the car was at a test station and reduced nitrogen oxide emissions.

Whereas the emissions were higher during normal use.

These values differed significantly from those declared to consumers in advertising materials and approval documents.

This means that they were misled.

What's more, the company issued guidelines for dealers indicating that they were to disregard legitimate consumer complaints relating to nitrogen oxide emissions.

The Regional Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw also joined the proceedings conducted by the Office.

The penalty for Volkswagen Group Poland was over PLN 120 million (PLN 120 607 288).

The decision of the Office is not final, as it can be appealed against in court.

Once UOKiK’s decisions become legally binding, they become a precedent, which makes it easier for consumers to pursue possible claims in court.

The findings of the Office as to the practice used are binding for common courts when handling individual cases concerning the practices challenged in the decision.

Consumers may also refer to UOKiK's decisions when making a complaint.

The fine, the biggest ever given by the regulator, is the latest chapter in an emissions cheating scandal that has cost Volkswagen about 30 billion euros in fines, vehicle refits and legal costs, and also triggered a global backlash against diesel vehicles.

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