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VW owners eligible for up to $10k from emissions settlement

Arizonans who own "clean diesel" Volkswagen or Audi cars may now be eligible to receive $5,100 to $10,000 in compensation from a settlement in a case over the company's deliberate cheating on emissions standards.

The automobile company has agreed to buy back affected cars as part of the settlement. The qualifying makes and models include 2009-2015 Volkswagen Jettas, Passats, Golfs, Beetles and Audi A3, according to VW's executive summary. About 10,000 Arizona cars could be covered by the program, the Attorney General's Office said.

The company installed software in vehicles that limited emissions when they were being tested, but allowed up to 40 times the legal limit on pollution to spew forth when there were driven on the road. The company admitted the cheating last September.

Eligible owners, sellers and lessees will have several options with their vehicles. Cars can be bought back by Volkswagen, with compensation based on their 2015 clean trade-in value. According to the company, some owners may receive up to $10,000. Those who choose the buy-back option will also receive an additional restitution payment of $5,100. 

Those who are currently leasing an eligible vehicle can end their lease with no early termination fees and will also receive a restitution payment.

Car owners don't have to opt for the buy-back, and will still receive $5,100 if they keep their car, but must upgrade them if emissions improvements are available from VW.

The company is working with the Environmental Protection Agency to develop satisfactory fixes.

If modifications become available, car owners will be notified and will receive the updates free of charge. Cars that do not receive an approved modification by May 2018 will need to be sold back to VW or the owner will no longer eligible for the settlement. 

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To determine if you qualify for compensation, you can visit Volkswagen’s website and enter in your vehicle identification number.

According to Volkswagen, the settlement program could begin as soon as July 26, 2016. Once approved, they will pay eligible car owners within 90 days of buy-back offers.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office is pursuing a separate consumer lawsuit against Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche for misleading state residents with advertisements claiming their vehicles were environmentally safe.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich stated that according to state law, violations of the Consumer Fraud Act can warrant a penalty of up to $10,000 per violation.

"Arizona consumers were subject to numerous misleading advertisements claiming Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars were environmentally friendly, low-emission, and powerfully fuel efficient," a statement from his office said.

If you believe you may qualify for the state’s consumer lawsuit, file a report online with the Attorney General’s Office.

Volkswagen is expected to buy back or improve emissions for nearly 475,000 clean diesel cars in the United States as part of the federal lawsuit. The settlement budget for the program is set at a maximum of just more than $10 billion. The company will also pay $2.7 billion for environmental cleanup and $2 billion to promote low-emission vehicles. The total settlement is the largest-ever by an carmaker, and among the largest corporate wrongdoing settlements ever.

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