OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today announced an $8.5 million settlement has been reached with Volkswagen (VW) and related auto manufacturers from the state’s lawsuit against the automakers for false and deceptive advertising.
The lawsuit was filed after an investigation found the company deliberately installed illegal software in diesel vehicles to cheat laboratory emissions tests, allowing the vehicles to meet standards. During real-world driving conditions, the emissions systems deactivated, emitting as much as 40 times the amount of nitrogen oxide allowed in the United States.
VW aggressively marketed these vehicles as environmentally friendly, with fuel efficiency, torque and power capabilities as added advantages.
Attorney General Hunter said the state’s lawsuit was necessary to uphold the state’s consumer protection laws.
“VW purposefully misled consumers in one of the most egregious cases of false advertising the automobile industry has ever seen,” Attorney General Hunter said. “The company’s fraudulent marketing practices deceived thousands of Oklahomans who believed they were buying a vehicle that was good for the environment. Our lawsuit was about holding the company accountable for these practices.”
The money from the attorney general’s settlement will go toward upholding consumer protection laws in the state through education and programs designed to help Oklahomans prevent and recover from fraud, mediation of consumer complaints and taking legal action against individuals or businesses that engage in deceptive or fraudulent practices.
Oklahoma’s settlement does not affect a previous settlement between VW, the Department of Justice, and other states and private parties which included a vehicle buyback from consumers and up to $10,000 for individuals who purchased deficient VW vehicles. It was estimated that around 3,850 VW vehicles were registered with the emission device in the state at the time of the investigation.
Customers have until Sept. 1 to participate in the buyback program. Information on how to participate can be found here: https://www.vwcourtsettlement.com/en/.
Oklahoma is to receive $21 million through the previous settlement’s Beneficiary Mitigation Plan administered by the Department of Environmental Quality. The funds are part of a nationwide trust to support projects to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from states transportation sector.
To read the settlement Oklahoma reached with VW, click here.