Can two wrongs make a right?

As you’ve probably heard, Volkswagen is shelling out nearly $15 billion in a class-action settlement tied to the Dieselgate fiasco. A lot of the money will go towards compensating owners of the offending vehicles, including buybacks and sizable cash payouts. In fact, VW is handing out up to $10,000 on top of the vehicle’s pre-Dieselgate value. And while dealers put a stop-sale on cheating diesels when the story broke last September, the un-clean autos are still available on the used market. But before you rush out and pick up a bunch of old TDI’s in the hopes of making a profit through buybacks, there’s one caveat you should probably know about.

You see, the settlement actually defines two types of “Eligible Owners” – those who purchased the car before the Dieselgate story went public (September 18, 2015), and those who purchased the car afterwards. That means anyone who buys an eligible VW diesel now won’t get the full payout.

The buyback amount is calculated using the September 2015 edition of the National Auto Dealer Association (NADA) Used Car Guide, with adjustments made for mileage and equipped options. That much is unchanged for both types of owners

The additional cash restitution, however, is different. If you bought the car on or before September 18, 2015, the restitution is calculated to be 20 percent of the car’s value, plus $2,986.73, with a minimum of $5,100. If you bought the car after that date, you get half that much (10 percent of the car value, plus $1,529, with a minimum of $2,550).

For more information on the settlement details, click here.

Of course, it’s conceivable you could find a private seller with an eligible VW diesel, neglect to tell them about the settlement, and get the car for cheaper then the buyback price.

But that would be wrong.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why It Matters

The recent VW court settlement is the biggest auto-related class-action settlement in history. Funny enough, it only accounts for roughly 475,000 vehicles, and doesn’t include the additional 80,000 cheater diesels in the U.S. equipped with a differently sized engine, or the millions of cheater diesels sold overseas, both of which will be settled separately. It’s entirely possible that what we’re seeing now is just the $15 billion tip of the iceberg.

Long story short, this isn’t the last time we hear about VW’s plans to make right on Dieselgate.


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