Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan and members of his staff were in Burlington this morning to announce that the state will receive $6.5 million to complete its claims against automaker Volkswagen.
Standing outside the Good News Garage with his consumer protection team, Democratic Attorney General T. J. Donovan announced a $6.5 million consumer protection settlement against Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi arising from defeat devices that misled Vermont consumers about the emissions of pollutants. VW had installed devices on vehicles that bypassed emissions during testing but allowed cars to emit up to 40 times what was legally permitted. “The state of Vermont has settled with Volkswagen and these other entities for $6.5 million. The good news is this: $2.9 million is going back to Vermont consumers; 3.6 million is going to our General Fund. This concludes the state of Vermont’s efforts in terms of holding Volkswagen and these other entities accountable not only for misleading Vermont consumers but for the environmental harm they caused.”
Vermont previously received $17 million as part of a nationwide environmental federal settlement and an additional $4.2 million for Vermont-specific environmental claims. The settlement announced Wednesday is for consumer protection violations.
Assistant Attorney General Merideth Chaudoir says it’s estimated that per capita Vermont has the second-highest number of owners of the vehicles. $2.9 million of the settlement is dedicated to consumer restitution. “This is up to $1,000. That’s in addition to any restitution they received through the buy-back program or the federal class action settlement. So the big question everybody’s asking is how do, how do I get my money? So in the next 30 days the restitution fund will fund and in that time the state will select a third party claims administrator that will help identify eligible consumers. These consumers will receive a letter and a form. They will have 90 days to return the form to the claims administrator for verification. And then they should get their check.”
Public Protection Division Chief Christopher Curtis emphasized that affected vehicle owners can receive money from this settlement even if they benefitted from other Volkswagen settlements. “That’s in addition to any other restitution that Vermonters may have already received. So if they participated in the buy-back program they’re eligible. We don’t want Vermonters to think ‘Oh I already engaged in you know one activity or I sent in my claim form and so somehow I’m not eligible for this.’ This is for anybody who previously received some form of restitution they can apply again for this pot as well.”
Vermont and Arizona are the only states that sought additional consumer restitution.
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