Ruling against Volkswagen: should consumers rejoice?

In the protracted legal dispute over the emissions scandal at Volkswagen, Germany's Federal Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the carmaker had deliberately and imorally deceived buyers of its cars. Sixty thousand plaintiffs are now entitled to compensation. Commentators are delighted, and not just because of the damages.

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Delo (SI) /

Topple carmakers from their pedestal

For Delo, the ruling offers the chance to put the German car lobby in its place:

“The judgement sets a precedent and is more than necessary from the point of view of consumer protection. ... According to the ruling, consumer rights in Germany have not been protected as they should have - at least not in the fight against giants like VW. This is an opportunity to get rid of this 'flaw' in the system and topple the carmakers from their pedestal. The industry has taken note of this in the midst of its worst crisis in modern times. Although it should be mentioned that major manfacturers had been in crisis long before the coronavirus outbreak.”

Tageblatt (LU) /

This sort of effrontery never dies

After so many years the ruling is of little use to the injured parties, but it may have lasting repercussions for the industry, Tageblatt writes:

“Most of the claimants will have already reached a settlement or resigned themselves, and deadlines have expired. Financially, all the foot-dragging has probably paid off for the company. But not for its image. ... It's to be hoped that the clear verdict will have an impact. Not only on other car manufacturers, but also on other industries. Because this kind of effrontery never dies. For example some airlines, especially Ryanair, are currently not responding to requests for reimbursement from passengers whose flights were cancelled due to the corona outbreak. The money is simply being withheld, despite the clear legal situation. That's just as deliberate, and just as immoral.”