The US Government is suing Volkswagen for false advertising as a result of VW misrepresenting the cleanliness of its diesel-powered cars in numerous advertisements over the past eight years.
This lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California by the US Federal Trade Commission, states that Volkswagen's advertising claimed its "Clean Diesel" vehicles had low emissions, were environmentally friendly, and retained a high resale value. Now, we know that none of those things are true, and the FTC is looking to punish Volkswagen's alleged unfair and deceptive practices.
consumers spent billions buying VW cars thanks to the ads
The filing includes a long list of Volkswagen advertisements, from television, press releases, mailers, and even marketing taglines from Volkswagen's automobile window stickers that it says are false advertising.
The FTC is alleging deceptive acts or practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC act — these are unfair if "they cause or are likely to cause substantial injury to consumers that consumers cannot reasonably avoid themselves and that is not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or competition."
The suit does not ask for any specific monetary damages, instead it asks for relief that the court finds necessary to compensate consumers harmed by Volkswagen's alleged unfair practices.
the suit asks for "relief as the Court finds necessary" to compensate VW buyers
Volkswagen has been dealing with the fallout of Dieselgate for six months now, and without any solutions for customers yet, time could soon be running out on their patience. So far Volkswagen has some solutions for customers in Europe, but not in the US, and we have not seen any indication about what civil and criminal penalties could amount to — though they could easily run into the tens of billions of dollars.
Volkswagen gave this statement to The Verge: "Volkswagen has received the complaint and continues to cooperate with all relevant U.S. regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission. Our most important priority is to find a solution to the diesel emissions matter and earn back the trust of our customers and dealers as we build a better company."