Did Volkswagen mislead owners into believing the emissions fix was mandatory?

We’ve been covering the Volkswagen Groups emissions fix closely over the last few months and have been paying attention to the feedback on our website and social media accounts. With the EGR issues aside we’re concerned that owners had been unsure about their choice (or lack of it) when it came to having the so called “technical measures” applied in the first place.

Being a diesel Skoda owner myself, I quizzed my local dealership on a recent visit (Wings Skoda Peterborough Feb 2017) about the emissions fix “etiquette”, only to be told that any updates require specific authorisation by the owner.

Being that my Skoda is Euro6 compliant, I’ve been lucky enough not to have had my car recalled however we’re aware that a significant number of owners felt they had been pressured and mislead into having the “technical measures” applied. In all cases (we are aware of) they claim to that the letters suggested that the fix was a mandatory requirement for their vehicle.

We’re yet to have any of our requests for information for-filled by VW, but we did find this little snippet on their emissions fix FAQ on their website

The NOx emissions issue does not change the fact that your car remains safe and roadworthy. There is no evidence to suggest that the affected EA189 diesel engine vehicles present a risk to health or safety as a result of the NOx emissions issue.

In addition the result of your car’s MOT will not be affected by the NOx emissions issue, whether your car receives the technical measures or not and there is no reason why your car insurance would be affected by this NOx emissions issue.  

With the above in mind its quite clear that VW accept that some owners will not choose to have the technical measures applied but make no attempt to say in black and white that the fix is “optional”.

We’ve reviewed the many letters (signed by no less than Paul Willis) that owners have supplied us (thank you) and we’re a little concerned that this optional fix seems quite the opposite on paper. There is certainly no mention of that MOTs will not be affected – fix or not.

The letters go a little something like this.

vw emissions fix letter vw emissions fix letter audi vw emissions fix letter audi 2

As you can see from the array of letters kindly submitted by owners, they make no effort to explain that the fix is optional and will not affect the vehicle’s roadworthiness or ability to pass an MOT. You’ll also note our highlighting of the word required (in red) and the numerous confirmations that the technical measures have been approved for UK use. We’re also unsure about the need for a certificate of completion for this “optional” fix.

We’ve been made aware that some owners have been contacted multiple times and in one case have had no less than 10 letters from VW reminding them about the emissions fix. Its also been claimed that dealerships have been calling owners of affected vehicles to arrange a bookings.

Why is the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency logo on the letters?

Further cause for concern is the very official Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency logo which appears on every letter sent out. This might lead to believe that the fix has been independently tested by the DVSA, you’d be wrong about that too. The technical measures have been authorised by Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) however no official testing or authorisation has been given by any UK body (that we are aware of).

To someone unaware of VW’s FAQ, it would seem (to me at least) that the fix is not optional and the recall is both required and approved by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency.

We’ve reached out to owners for their thoughts on the matter and here’s what they said.

Is someone from VW listening?

With the above in mind we’d like to hear from VW, we’d like to know:

  • If the technical measures were not tested or required by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency why was their logo present on the letters?
  • Was any attempt made by VW to substantiate the claim that the fix had been independently tested and approved in the UK?
  • Why was it not made clear in the letters that quote: The NOx emissions issue does not change the fact that your car remains safe and roadworthy. There is no evidence to suggest that the affected EA189 diesel engine vehicles present a risk to health or safety as a result of the NOx emissions issue.

    In addition the result of your car’s MOT will not be affected by the NOx emissions issue, whether your car receives the technical measures or not and there is no reason why your car insurance would be affected by this NOx emissions issue.  

  • If this fix was in fact optional then why was the update described as “required”?
  • Can you please explain why VW customers in the US have been offered comprehensive warranties and replacement EGR valves and DPF filters as part of the fix.

We’re more than willing to publish VW’s answers to the above in an unbiased way. Please do get in touch Mr Willis.

Let’s hear from you!

Have you had the emissions fix applied to your vehicle? Did you feel pressured into it? Was the fix applied without your consent? Let us know in the comments. Please give details of the dealership if you can.

Read more!

If you’ve found this article helpful you might also like to read our other dieselgate – VW emissions fix articles

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About

Karl is the editor and owner of this glorious website. He currently writes for numerous environmental websites, producing content for the greater good. His experience in graphic design, Wordpress and all things automotive have helped sculpt Hypermiler.co.uk into its current form from very humble beginnings. He has numerous IT qualifications, a red belt in Taekwondo and likes craft Ales. Get in touch via our Contact Page

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9 comments on “Did Volkswagen mislead owners into believing the emissions fix was mandatory?
  1. Martha says:

    I had few letters from VW and few calls to remind me about update. I thought I have to do it otherwise my car won’t pass MOT. I regret I didn’t know about the problems update causes. I lost trust in my car, engine start making noises, fuel consumption increased and my passat lost power. I part exchange at big loss with another dealer. No more VW. Some should pay for this…

    • Karl says:

      Sorry to hear that Martha. It seems that many others are in the same boat as you.

      VW’s lack of clarity with the update was a very poor move indeed. We understand that many owners have lost trust in the brand after the farce.

      You’re not alone in your reported issues also, how VW can claim that the update did not cause any adverse affects is simply a lie.

      Thanks for getting in touch.

  2. Martyn Maynard says:

    Good article. I’ve been following this issue carefully from the beginning. It appears that just about everything has been worded to encourage drivers to apply the fix, whilst nothing has been said about what the effect will be in the real world. It seems like all the tests they refer to are in laboritory conditions. And isn’t that what got us all into this mess in the first place? This hasn’t just damaged my trust in VAG. I now don’t trust a word that any expert tells me. This is deeply worrying.

    • Karl says:

      Hi Martyn

      You’re absolutely right. I personally don’t think you’ll see the entire fallout from these issues until the long term issues start to arise such as mass DPF failures. Real world figures just don’t seem to matter anymore.

      With new EU recommendations being pushed through expect the auto industry as a whole to be revealed as the devious, lying criminals they are.

  3. mike stenton says:

    I have had 10 -20% reduction in fuel economy since the mod. VW say they won’t reverse the mod. Can I get the engine re chipped privately to put it back to how it was?

  4. Angela Walker says:

    We thought the fix was mandatory, never thought to question it al all……what a mistake!

  5. Mr William Wakefield says:

    I was certainly under the impression that if the emissions were not fixed the it would result in a M O T failure. The Tiguan went in two weeks ago I had the fan running after after even short runs I timed it 4-5 minutes.To day on dash display the symbol fault in exhaust system go to workshop .At 47000 I had New injectors and fuel pump ,at 51000 A new common rail. Worst car with regard to reliability and expense I have ever owned.
    A shame because because it is quite a good drive.current mileage 56000.Will have to keep it,but can not afford to pay out anymore. The car is 08. Any suggestions

  6. Stephen Snow says:

    Had the ’emissions service’ a few weeks ago. I also assumed it was a requirement. I have since noticed the engine fan staying on after switch off. Not something it has done before the ‘fix’. I have also noticed that when running from cold the engine appears to misfire for the first few miles then settles down. A bit disconcerting when I need to exit a junction quickly. Anyone else noticed this happening. Great information by the way!

    • Karl says:

      Hi Stephen

      There are thousands in the same boat as you. The way VW approached this is criminal.

      The fans staying on indicate that the car attempted a DPF regeneration and was unable to finish it. The EGR changes in the fix cause the DPF to clog up at least twice as fast. The “misfire” you hear is the engine running lean – its diesel knock. Just another byproduct of them reducing the fueling in a vain attempt to curb the NOX emissions.

      If you get a chance could you fill in our survey – – we’re nearly at the magic 500!

      Make sure your get the car back into the dealer and open a case with customer care.

      Let us know how you get on. Cheers Karl

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