The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV), one of the largest consumer protection groups in Germany, alleged that Mercedes-Benz installed defeat devices in their vehicles that allowed manipulation of diesel emissions testing. They gave the impression that the SUVs emitted pollutants at safe and legal levels, even if they were not. Approximately 50,000 GLC and GLK crossovers are affected.
VZBV’s goal is to make the Stuttgart court see that the German carmaker knowingly installed the devices and lied to their customers.
The class-action lawsuit is a result of the 2018 law passed in Germany that gave consumer protection organisations the right to litigate on behalf of their clients – in this case, car owners who were deceived by the manufacturer when they sold defeat device-fitted vehicles as safe and environmentally friendly alternatives.
As in the past diesel emissions cases filed against them, Mercedes-Benz denied the allegations, saying that the claims were unfounded. Mercedes and its parent company, Daimler, have always maintained that they did not do anything wrong or illegal to their diesel vehicles. According to Mercedes, the majority of the claims against them that were brought to court failed.
What does a defeat device do? Why is it illegal?
The defeat device found in Mercedes’ diesel vehicles is software that’s programmed to detect when the car is in regulatory emissions testing. Once it detects the test, it manipulates emissions levels so these stay within the legal limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
When the vehicle is brought out of the lab and driven in real-world driving conditions, the device uncaps the emissions limits of the car/van, consequently letting this emit massive amounts of nitrogen oxides that far exceed the EU and WHO standards.
As such, Mercedes deceived their customers when they sold the affected diesel vehicles as clean and environment friendly. In reality, the vehicles were contributing toxic air every time they went out and drove their Mercedes-Benzes.
Nitrogen oxide, the gas emitted by diesel vehicles, has devastating effects on both the environment and human health.
What is nitrogen oxide and why is it dangerous?
Two of the major components of nitrogen oxide are nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). NO on its own does not have major impacts on the environment and human health, but once it interacts with NO2 and they become NOx, they become more dangerous.
NOx contributes to the formation of smog and acid rain. It also forms ground-level ozone, another hazardous gas.
Nitrogen oxide affects vegetation, making crops and plants susceptible to frost. Exposure to NOx may also impact crop and plant growth.
The most dangerous effects of nitrogen oxide are felt by the individuals that are constantly exposed to them. Exposure to low levels of NOx can result in breathing problems, asthma or aggravated asthma, headaches, corroded teeth, nausea and vomiting, emphysema, bronchitis, and other respiratory issues.
If a person is regularly exposed to high levels of nitrogen oxide, the impacts include:
- Increased risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases
- Chronically reduced lung formation
- Premature death
The first case of premature death due to air pollution happened in 2013 when nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah died after a severe asthma attack. Ella has been living in a highly polluted area and was in and out of the hospital for months due to seizures and other respiratory issues. The coroner ruled her death as a result of exposure to toxic air in December 2020 after an inquest.
What is the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal about?
Mercedes’ case in Stuttgart is related to the 2015 Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal. Although the incident initially involved Volkswagen, the scam eventually expanded and other car manufacturers were implicated, including Mercedes-Benz.
US authorities found defeat devices in Volkswagen’s diesel vehicles that were sold to consumers in the country. VW initially denied the accusations but soon admitted they had knowledge of the defeat devices.
Mercedes-Benz was accused of doing the same thing by US Mercedes car owners about a year later. The carmaker denied the allegations but has paid millions in fines and compensations. Mercedes has also been recalling affected vehicles for years.
The diesel emissions scandal started in the US and soon spread across Europe and the United Kingdom.
How do I file my diesel claim?
A diesel emissions claim is a legal action that defeat device-affected car owners are encouraged to file against their manufacturers so they can collect compensation for the inconvenience and financial burden the scandal has caused them. Then compensation depends on the circumstances of the case, so working with a panel of emissions solicitors is the best thing to do.
So, you may ask . . .
How should I bring my diesel claim to court?
The panel of emissions solicitors you work with should understand every step of the claims process. They can help you with all your requirements, documents, and all of the things you need to submit and accomplish to bring the case forward. They should also be professionally trained and highly experienced, so your chances of winning the claim are higher.
If you work with the panel of emissions solicitors at ClaimExperts.co.uk, you’ll enjoy a no-win-no-fee guarantee. So, visit their website and find out how you can set up an appointment for your Mercedes emissions claim.