The Mercedes emissions scandal started in February 2016 when car owners in the United States filed a class-action lawsuit against the German carmaker for allegedly installing defeat devices in their vehicles to cheat on emissions tests. Although Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler denied the allegations, US car owners pushed through with their claims.
In April 2016, the U.S. Justice Department requested Daimler to open an internal investigation on their diesel vehicles’ exhaust systems in relation to the emissions scandal.
A year and a month later, in May 2017, German prosecutors raided 11 of the carmaker’s manufacturing sites. The action was linked to ongoing investigations of Mercedes-Benz diesel cars involved in the emissions cheating scandal.
Daimler started recalling affected cars in June 2018 beginning with over 700,000 vehicles in various places in Europe. The orders came after findings shared by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) indicated the presence of cheat software on Daimler’s vehicles. Again, the car manufacturer refuted the allegations.
2019 then saw Daimler get penalised for violating emissions regulations. Additionally, the company was also accused of restricting or delaying new emissions cleaning technology by the European Commission. Daimler, along with Volkswagen and BMW, received a statement of objections.
In 2020, Mercedes-Benz and Daimler faced additional collective action, paying $1.5 billion (roughly £1.12 billion) to U.S. authorities as emissions claims in addition to a $700 million (or approximately £514 million) to car owners’ class-action lawsuit.
More Mercedes-Benz models in the UK were recalled that year as well.
At present, these are the significant numbers in the Mercedes Benz emissions scandal:
- Approximately £738 million (or €870 million) in fines have been paid so far
- In England and Wales, the number of affected vehicles has ballooned to around 750,000
- In Europe, the number of recalled vehicles totals to approximately three million
- In the UK, air pollution (with emphasis on NOx or nitrogen oxide exposure) is responsible for 40,000 excess deaths every year
Since developments are ongoing, the numbers above are expected to increase.
What are defeat devices? Why are car owners affected?
The defeat devices that Mercedes-Benz allegedly installed into their diesel vehicles are used to manipulate the results of NOx emissions in lab tests. What this means is that during testing, the software controls the emissions to make it appear like NOx levels are within the regulated limit. In real-world driving conditions, however, the vehicles have an emissions level that’s above the legal limit.
NOx or nitrogen oxide is a dangerous gas that mostly contains nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide, which are responsible for the formation of acid rain and smog, as well as for creating ground-level ozone and particulate matter (PM).
NOx does not only cause devastating effects on the environment, but it also has adverse effects on human health. Some of the common illnesses and conditions that develop due to constant exposure to NOx include asthma or aggravated asthma (if one already has it), lung damage, other respiratory diseases, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, depression, and anxiety. Nitrogen oxide emissions also destroy vegetation.
As such, Mercedes-Benz customers were led to believe that the vehicles they purchased emitted safe and legal levels of NOx into the environment. In truth, though, instead of helping clean the air, they have actually been contributing toxic air.
These car owners have the right to file for emissions compensation claims as indicated in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading (CPUT) Regulations.
How to know if you can file a claim
The CPUT regulations specify that Mercedes-Benz car owners who are owed compensation are those with models that were registered from 2008 to 2018. If your diesel Mercedes-Benz vehicle falls under that category, you are potentially able to claim 100% of the amount you paid for it. This is only possible, however, if the manufacturer was proven to have engaged in serious illegal practices (such as the emissions scandal).
In other words, you can potentially claim full compensation from Mercedes-Benz. This applies for drivers who own the vehicle and those who leased it.
How to file a claim
Filing a Mercedes emissions compensation claim can be a bit challenging and court cases often take too long, but things will be easier if you work with a solicitor or team of emissions experts. They can help you work through the legal requirements and process. If you plan to go for collective action or join a class-action lawsuit, emissions claim experts will be able to help you as well.
If you’re worried about expenses, don’t be. Most teams offer a No Win-No Fee policy or Conditional Fee Agreement. If you win, the legal team will deduct a minimum percentage from what you will receive. However, if the claim is not successful, you will not be charged for anything. So it’s a win-win situation.
To increase your chances of filing a successful emissions claim, get in touch with the team of experts at Emissions.co.uk. They’re ready to help and guide you every step of the way.