Home Business NewsBusinessAutomotive News £1 billion claim takes a big step forward over Mercedes emissions scandal

£1 billion claim takes a big step forward over Mercedes emissions scandal

by LLB staff reporter
7th Jun 23 11:54 am

72,000 claimants will soon be receiving an update from their lawyers Milberg London LLP in respect of their legal claim against Mercedes Benz. The action alleges that the car manufacturing giant installed so-called ‘defeat devices’ within their vehicles at the manufacturing stage with the specific intention of cheating emissions tests.

In a similar UK case, in May 2022 Volkswagen AG settled with 91,000 car owners to the tune of £193m. In 2020 Mercedes Benz paid 250,000 American consumers an average of $3,290 each and were penalised a further $1.4bn by the US government i) for breaching the Clean Air Act and ii) to fix the polluting vehicles that had been purchased.

However in the UK, Mercedes Benz has so far defended the claims and has chosen not to compensate its customers that it is said to have deceived, despite the same wrong-doing having been resolved by Mercedes Benz in the US years ago. It’s difficult to reconcile Mercedes Benz’s different approach to US and UK consumers when the underlying allegations are the same worldwide. One explanation may be the differing legal systems and the car manufacturer taking advantage of opportunities to play the long game and hoping UK consumers lose interest.

The total number of claimants in the group action, including Milberg’s clients, is 300,000. It is the biggest case of its kind even though it still only represents a small proportion of the total number of consumers affected by the scandal. Assuming the US settlement values, the total Mercedes Benz related claim value in England and Wales would be close to $1 billion. However, given enhanced consumer rights in this country and consumers having been forced to wait so long to receive due compensation claimants are, quite rightly, pushing for much more.

Now, in what is seen as a significant milestone, the English High Court has ordered that claimants submit their Schedule of Claimant Information forms (SOCI) via their law firm, including Milberg London. All 300,000 Mercedes Benz claimants in the group action are in the process of receiving requests from their respective law firms to complete the necessary information that the court has ordered be collated in order to progress the case to the next stage.

Milberg London clients said

Stuart Whibley, 49, of Gillingham, Kent, who is disabled, purchased his Mercedes Benz C220d AMG for £25,000 in 2019. He says “The salesperson at the time of my purchase was very specific about what he called ‘emissions that are next to nothing’. He explained that new technology and factory data published by Mercedes Benz meant that my car was amongst the most efficient available.

When months later I saw that my make and model appeared on the list of cars that were affected by emissions cheating I was shocked and I still am. I feel that I was lied to and that I was persuaded to buy the car under false pretences. I’m very angry”.

Similarly Ester Deocampo, 49, a healthcare professional from Diss in Norfolk, acquired her Mercedes Benz C250d Sport in 2016 having considered that the published emissions data was impressive. However on learning that the data had been manipulated she began to mistrust the car generally and subsequently had a terrible accident in it. She says “I loved my Mercedes but couldn’t feel right about it once the emissions cheating revelations made the news. I felt different about it and drove it differently and then had a huge accident from which I was lucky to walk away. I am just so disappointed in the car and in Mercedes Benz because I assumed that they could be trusted”.

James Ang, 42, from Croydon, director of a building company, says “I’m not just annoyed at the false environmental credentials peddled by Mercedes Benz but also the direct financial cost in that I bought a Blue Motion model on the proviso that it met London’s strict emissions rules on ULEZ. It turns out that the car does not meet them and I’ve now been fined by the Mayor’s office for driving a car into London that is non-compliant. It’s outrageous “.

Polly Blenkin, Partner at Milberg London one of the law firms leading the Mercedes Benz action commented: “The court has ordered that the next stage of our litigation be completed and that’s the submission of the Schedule of Claimant Information forms for each of our clients in order that the claims can be assessed (including as to quantum) and progressed to the next stage.

This is an important development and we are in the process of making contact with all 72,000 Milberg claimants with details as to how they can complete the digital survey. It’s an easy, ten minute process and should be the last substantive thing we ask of clients before the case is resolved.

This is a claim worth over £1bn if the defendants are ordered to compensate consumers in full. The importance of the SOCI submission by all claimants cannot be understated and we urge all clients to respond promptly”.

Leave a Comment

You may also like


Sign up to our daily news alerts

[ms-form id=1]