Law firm seeks fleets with Mercedes cars over diesel fraud claims
A LEADING LONDON CITY LAW FIRM IS PREPARING A GROUP CLAIM AGAINST MERCEDES-BENZ ON THE BASIS OF EMISSIONS FRAUD.
The claim relates to potential ‘defeat devices’ that could have been fitted to vehicles produced by the manufacturer between 2008 and 2018, and the firm is asking for fleets with relevant vehicles to come forward.
Fox Williams is collaborating with US law firm Hagens Berman, which successfully brought about a similar law suit that lead to $700m in payments for Mercedes owners in the United States.
Andrew Hill, the Fox Williams partner leading the UK litigation against Mercedes, says that the case will argue that the German brand intentionally installed emissions defeat devices programmed to reduce the levels of Nitrogen Oxide (Nix) that were produced while a vehicle was undergoing emissions test. If a defeat device is used then the emissions would be lower during a test than they would be in the real world.
As well as the successful claim against Mercedes in the US, Hagens Berman also took a lead in litigation against Volkswagen US, where it was discovered that a similar defeat device was fitted to cars. This suit was also successful.
The legal experts are now turning their attention to the UK, and looking for owners of Mercedes models sold in the 10-year period from 2008 to 2018. The affected vehicles cover a range of different models, including both passenger and commercial vehicles, and Fox Williams is investigating claims on behalf of fleets and company car drivers who ran these models in England and Wales. Fleet managers and corporate drivers that had, or have, vehicles that are powered by diesel engines are encouraged to register at mercedes-dieselclaims.co.uk. Those who owned their vehicle outright or financed through a hire agreement or a lease may all be eligible for damages due to the potential decrease in value of their vehicles and the increased environmental harm that will have occurred compared to the official figures fleets rely on.
“A manufacturer cannot install a defeat device which systematically improves, during approval procedures, the performance of the vehicle emission control system and thus obtain approval of the vehicle.”
Fox Williams and Hagens Berman believe that Mercedes-Benz is developing a software update for almost the entirety of its Euro5 and Euro6b diesel fleet in Europe. Early estimates put the number of potentially impacted vehicles in the UK at 600,000 with over 1.25m owners of the vehicles who could claim but this software update suggest it may be higher. The team estimates that 30% of the affected vehicles were in fact fleet vehicles. As a result, the firms are calling for those who owned or leased any of the following vehicles to join the fleet managers that have already signed up:
- V-Class and
A recent decision in the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) strongly supports the potential case, with the court ruling that: “A manufacturer cannot install a defeat device which systematically improves, during approval procedures, the performance of the vehicle emission control system and thus obtain approval of the vehicle.”
Despite Bexit, Fox Williams says that the ruling strengthens the case that consumers were defrauded by Mercedes for a period of 10 years. Both Fox Williams and Hagens Berman will be funded and the case is therefore being conducted on a no-win, no-fee basis. Compensation could be in the range of £5000-£10,000 per vehicle.
Those who are unsure about whether their car qualifies can find out more details on the dedicated website – www.mercedes-dieselclaims.co.uk – where they can also find our frequently asked questions.
Freetext ‘DIESEL’ to 62277 and we will send you a link to a quick form, or scan the QR code on the right using your mobile phone camera and it will open a new text message to send to Mercedes Diesel Claims.