Just because a brand is known and trusted around the world, it doesn’t mean the company is infallible. Some of the largest and best-known businesses on the planet have made grave errors, sometimes knowingly, that ultimately affect the consumers who purchase their products or use their services. A prime example from the recent headlines is the Volkswagen emissions scandal, a scandal that may bring about federal prosecution and class action litigation.
The Canadian Environmental Protection Agency is investigating Volkswagen Canada to see if it was complicit in the emissions-altering controversy that rocked the auto manufacturer. The German-built cars, which were imported by Canadian dealers, were equipped with computer software designed to produce better emissions readings than the cars were actually capable of achieving. Approximately 100,000 Canadian owners of Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesel-powered vehicles, many of them here in Ontario, were affected by the illegal software.
Should the investigation reveal that Volkswagen Canada was aware of the software when the vehicles were brought into the country, the fines could be enormous, as much as $6 million per charge. Additionally, a fine equaling the total profit made from the sale of the offending vehicles could be levied. Any company executives who gave the go ahead to the scam may also be charged.
None of this helps to compensate the consumers, however. Although a compensation package will be offered to consumers, likely a free repair of the emissions software, class action lawsuits are being brought against the car maker by both VW owners and VW dealerships. Both groups will be seeking additional compensation for purchasing the vehicles under false pretenses and for lost revenue on the part of the dealerships.
When a multinational company does wrong by its consumers and circumvents the law, it can take an organization as large as a government to take effective legal action. For a single Ontario consumer to take on a corporation is a nearly impossible task. However, by participating in a class action litigation, a group of people can speak with a single voice and be heard. Engaging an attorney experienced with litigation and appeals to assist might make that voice loud enough to see justice done.
Source: autofocus.ca, “VW could face prosecution by Canadian government”, Shawn Molner, Oct. 21, 2016