The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) [official website] sued [press release] Volkswagen AG (VW) and its local subsidiary on Thursday for misleading customers. The suit alleges that VW engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct, made false or misleading representations and engaged in conduct liable to mislead the public in relation to diesel vehicle emission claims. Specifically, the ACCC claims that between 2011 and 2015 VW misled customers in relation to the significantly higher nitrogen oxide emissions being produced by the vehicles, misled customers to believe that the vehicles complied with Australian and European standards and all Australian regulatory requirements, and marketed the vehicles in Australia as being environmentally friendly, clean burning, low emission and compliant with stringent European standards when this was not the case under normal driving conditions. The ACCC claims that this constituted multiple breaches of the Australian Consumer Law [legislative documents]. The ACCC is seeking declarations, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising, findings of fact and costs.
VW is facing legal difficulty around the world over the emissions scandal. In August a district court in Germany, ruled [JURIST report] that a collective complaint against VW may move forward. Like US-style class-action lawsuits, the collective complaint was launched on behalf of multiple investors who lost money following the diesel emissions cheating scandal. In July, a judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California gave preliminary approval [JURIST report] to a $15 billion settlement between VW and the US Environmental Protection Agency, California officials and consumers. In June VW agreed [JURIST report] to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers in a settlement with US regulators. In March the Federal Trade Commission filed suit [JURIST report] against VW for false advertising.