A law firm in the UK has filed legal action against Mercedes-Benz for the carmaker’s alleged use of illegal defeat devices in their diesel vehicles. The claim was brought to the high court in London so affected car owners can get the compensation they deserve.
Potential claimants in the UK number come to around 33,000, with each one estimated to secure at least £5,000 in payouts.
The first in the UK courts that involves the German carmaker, the claim accuses Mercedes of lying to customers and regulators when they broke the UK consumer law by selling their diesel vehicles with falsified emissions levels. Thus, the Mercedes-Benzes emitted excessive amounts of nitrogen oxide whenever they were driven in real-world driving conditions. As there are multiple claims, these are to be brought to court as one or as a group litigation order, similar to a class-action lawsuit in the US.
The legal action is an extension of the 2015 Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal that initially involved only Volkswagen but eventually included other manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz. In the US, the carmaker settled with affected drivers and paid them £508 million. Similar action has already been completed in the UK.
Like the previous cases thrown against them, Mercedes-Benz and its parent company, Daimler, denied all allegations. They will defend against all the accusations.
What was found inside the vehicles?
Found inside a diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz was the BlueTEC emissions reduction system. This is a defeat device that allows the vehicle to control emissions.
A defeat device is programmed to detect when a vehicle is in testing. Once it does, it automatically and artificially reduces emissions levels so these would stay within the limits that the World Health Organization set.
When the vehicle is taken out of the lab and driven in real-world road conditions however, the amount of toxic air it emits reverts to its default settings. Thus, the NOx emitted far exceeds the legal levels set by the European Union and the WHO.
As such, vehicles equipped with defeat devices are pollutants.
According to Mercedes-Benz, the BlueTEC system strictly follows emissions protocols. They also said that BlueTEC-equipped vehicles are some of the world’s cleanest diesel vehicles.
What the car owners say
Car owners affected by the emissions claim felt that Mercedes cheated them. Many were in disbelief.
Retired chartered engineer Mr. Thomson purchased a Mercedes-Benz C300 from a Bath dealership. He bought the vehicle because of environmental issues, and because he wanted to contribute clean air. Mr. Thomson paid a premium on the vehicle – approximately £36,000.
Mr. Thomson complained about fuel consumption and suspension issues. He said that the vehicle was marketed as doing 70 miles to the gallon. He felt deceived because he doesn’t get the promised speed when going downhill, and when on a flat surface at 50 mph, he gets only around 60 miles to the gallon.
Additionally, Mr. Thomson said that the suspension suddenly collapsed and his front bumpers were almost touching the ground. He joined a group action against Mercedes. He’s also planning to purchase an electric vehicle.
Many other affected car owners feel the same way: lied to and deceived; disappointed. Mercedes-Benz mis-sold the vehicles by claiming they were clean and safe for the environment. In reality, the vehicles were heavy pollutants because of their excessive emissions of nitrogen oxide.
What is nitrogen oxide?
Nitrogen oxide or NOx is a gas that has two dominant components: nitric oxide or NO and nitrogen dioxide or NO2.
NOx is responsible for the formation of smog and acid rain. It also helps form ground-level ozone.
It is bad for vegetation as it can make crops and plants weak and susceptible to frost and damage. Their growth is also stunted.
In terms of human health, regular exposure to NOx has the following impacts:
- Breathing problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Corroded teeth
- Aggravated asthma
For severe cases:
- Chronically reduced lung function
- Increased risk for cancer
- Increased risk for cardiovascular diseases
- Premature death
These impacts are a major reason for affected car owners to file an emissions claim against Mercedes-Benz (or whoever the manufacturer may be). Getting compensation for the inconvenience and financial burden the defeat device has caused you is your right.
Filing a Mercedes emissions claim
Filing a Mercedes emissions claim should be easy if you work with a panel of emissions solicitors. They are highly trained and knowledgeable, so they know every step of the claims process. Working with them will make the process easier. You’ll also be able to understand your options better, such as when you need to know which step to take next.
When choosing a panel of emissions solicitors, go for the ones that have extensive experience and a good track record, such as the ones at ClaimExperts.co.uk. Their panel is regulated and has had numerous wins. They also offer a no-win-no-fee guarantee. Visit their website to find out if you are eligible today.