Volkswagen refusing to buy back Ontario man’s diesel vehicle

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WATCH ABOVE: A Toronto-area family says Volkswagen is unfairly denying them almost $9,000 by claiming they missed a deadline. Mario Basta and his wife say they attempted to book an appointment to bring in their 2010 Volkswagen TDI, one of thousands of vehicles to be returned after the VW diesel scandal. But as Sean O'Shea reports, they were unable to get an appointment – Jul 2, 2019

Mario Basta loves Volkswagen (VW). He bought his first one at age 14.

But despite a lifetime of brand loyalty, he’s fuming because VW is refusing to buy back his 2010 TDI, one of thousands of diesel vehicles eligible for a recall after a class-action settlement was reached.

“I’m done with the whole headache of owning a Volkswagen,” Basta told Global News.

Under terms of the class-action legal settlement following Volkswagen’s admissions about cheating on emissions tests, eligible VW owners could return their vehicles to the company for a cash settlement if they wished.

READ MORE: Volkswagen agrees to $290M settlement in Canada over emissions scandal

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In his case, Basta was owed about $8,800.

But the company administering the settlement, RicePoint, claimed Basta was too late to get his money, arguing he missed a published deadline. An arbitrator later sided with VW and RicePoint.

“They told me I was not eligible,” Basta said.

Basta and his wife attempted in November to book a mandatory appointment with VW but could not do so through the online portal, they said.

“The Online Claims Portal is the most efficient way for you to submit your claim and required documents,” reads a statement on the VW Canada settlement website.

“It kicked me out,” Basta said, referring to repeated efforts to book an appointment.

READ MORE: Canadian Volkswagen owners say they can’t get settlement money

After making several attempts, he said he later got through to a phone representative in early December. But by then, RicePoint and Volkswagen had decided it was too late. They said there were no more appointments available at a VW dealership.

The companies insisted all paperwork had to be completed by the Dec. 30 deadline.

Basta’s wife told Global News she was able to independently arrange for an appointment with a Toronto-area VW dealer; however, RicePoint refused to allow it, she said.

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VW said consumers were given every opportunity to return the vehicles in advance of the deadline.

“Class members were provided information about the steps they needed to take to receive their benefits and the dates by when they needed to do so at various times and in various ways during the program, including through a notice that was emailed to class members in October 2018 and which alerted class members to the importance of not waiting until December to book their appointments,” said Thomas Tetzlaff, manager of media relations for Volkswagen Canada.

“The settlement deadlines were set by the courts to ensure fair treatment across all class members,” he added.

The co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the VW Emissions litigation, Charles M. Wright, said, “Very good settlements to tens of thousands of people” were provided as a result of legal action with Volkswagen.”

READ MORE: Canadian Volkswagen diesel owners displeased with deal

However, Wright said he has spoken to the Basta family and will review the facts relating to their claims experience.

“We will take steps to see if the presiding judge in the case (Edward Belobaba) will review their situation and determine if they should be entitled to some form of relief,” said Wright, a partner at Siskinds LLP.

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Basta and his wife said they would not be pressing the matter if they had come forward after Dec. 30, which was always advertised as the deadline, not an earlier date.

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