Volkswagen Timing Belt Settlement Frequently Asked Questions
- What is this lawsuit about?
- How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?
- Can I exclude myself from the Settlement?
- What are the benefits of the Settlement?
- When will I receive my benefit? / How will I know if my claim is accepted?
- When must I get my timing belt system Inspected?
- Can I object to the Settlement?
- How do I get more information?
In the Class Action filed in 2007, Plaintiff alleges that VW knowingly concealed, suppressed and omitted to disclose to consumers that Class Vehicles contained defectively designed timing belt tensioners, timing belts and/or associated parts ("timing belt system"), and that VW failed to disclose and/or misrepresented the appropriate service interval for replacement of the timing belt system in Settlement Class Vehicles. VW has denied any defect, wrongdoing or liability whatsoever and deny that this lawsuit could properly be certified as a class action for trial.
The Court has not decided in favor of either side and has not decided whether this lawsuit could qualify as a class action. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement, which, subject to Court Approval, provides for certification of a class for settlement purposes only and agreed benefits or payments to Settlement Class Members in exchange for a dismissal of the lawsuit without any finding of liability. By agreeing to a settlement, parties avoid the costs and risks of a trial, and the Class will get compensation.
The Court has conditionally certified this case a class action, in which everyone who fits the following description is a Class Member:
"All persons who are now or have been at any time owners of record or lessees of model year 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 Audi TT and Audi A4 and 1999 Volkswagen Passat vehicles equipped with 1.8 liter turbocharged engines."
This settlement applies only to "U.S. vehicles" distributed for sale in the United States.
You have the right to exclude yourself from the Settlement in this case. Any Class Member who intends to request exclusion from the Settlement Class must mail a request for exclusion to the Settlement Administrator at:
P.O. Box 1937
Faribault, MN 55021-7192
This request must be postmarked no later than August 31, 2008. Persons requesting exclusions must include their full name and current address and list the make, model year, and if available, the vehicle identification number ("VIN") of the Settlement Class Vehicle(s). If you do not exclude yourself from this Settlement, you will be bound by any judgments or orders that are entered in this action, and all claims that were or could have been asserted based upon the facts alleged in the complaint in this case on your behalf will be released.
Pursuant to Settlement terms, VW has agreed to conduct and complete the "Revised Maintenance Program," the "Extended Warranty Program" and the "Reimbursement Program."
Revised Maintenance Program
- VW is distributing, by mail to Settlement Class members and through all normal channels of communication to the U.S. market (e.g., maintenance schedules, instructions and publications, and in all other media currently employed for purposes of distribution) a revised maintenance schedule for Settlement Class Vehicles requiring inspection (and replacement if necessary), of the timing belt system every 40,000 miles, and the first mandatory replacement of the timing belt system no later than 105,000 miles (the Revised Maintenance schedule). Copies of the Revised Maintenance Program, in the form of an insert to your Maintenance Booklet are included in your Notice packet, as well as a letter from VW explaining the Revised Maintenance Program. Failure to follow the recommended maintenance could increase the risk of catastrophic engine failure.
- Note: any replacement of the timing belt system, whether required as a result of inspection or at the 105,000 mile intervals mandated in the Revised Maintenance Program, shall be at your expense.
Extended Warranty Program
- VW will provide free repair of damage to the timing belt system and associated engine damage related to a timing belt system failure, at any authorized VW dealership, starting August 11, 2008 through 105,000 miles, provided the Settlement Class Vehicle has been maintained in conformance with the Revised Maintenance Schedule. It will be necessary to provide documentation for establishing compliance with the Revised Maintenance Schedule such as, repair orders or evidence of payment.
- Out of pocket expenses arising from Covered Engine Damage sustained prior to August 11, 2008 will be reimbursed if submitted to the Settlement Administrator on or before September 30, 2008. This reimbursement includes cost incurred for Covered Engine Damage to vehicles, labor, delivery and handling charges, and all other reasonable out of pocket expenses caused by timing belt system failure, including, but not limited to, towing, alternate transportation, and lodging expenses.
To Claim Reimbursement you will need proof of the following:
- Name and mailing address of the owner, purchaser, or lessee of the Settlement Class Vehicle at the time that the expenses for which reimbursement is claimed were incurred;
- Identification of the Settlement Class Vehicle concerning which the Claim is being made, including the VIN;
- With respect to a claim under the Reimbursement Program, a receipt, or other evidence of payment of all expenses claimed, which may be original or a copy;
- A receipt for repair of Covered Engine Damage or prior timing belt replacement must indicate the nature of such repair and identify the parts and components replaced or repaired, unless it is clear from the receipt that it relates to the repair or Covered Engine Damage.
The Settlement Administrator must pay, or otherwise act upon any Reimbursement Claim within 60 days of receipt.
- If your claim is denied in whole or in part, the Settlement Administrator will send a notice in writing to the claimant within 60 days of receipt of the claim that includes a clear, concise statement of the reasons for the denial. Such a claim will be treated as a "Disputed Claim."
- If documentation in support of an Extended Warranty/Reimbursement Claim is incomplete when originally submitted, the Settlement Administrator will advise the claimant within 60 days of receipt of the additional documentation that is needed and offer an opportunity to resubmit the claim with complete documentation.
- The Settlement Administrator may deny any Extended Warranty/Reimbursement Claim which it reasonably and in good faith deems to be fraudulent.
- VW must make payments under the Reimbursement Program within 30 days of the date on which the order of the Court finally approving the Settlement is not subject to any appeal or the Settlement Administrator's receipt of the claim, whichever shall be later. Under applicable court rules, the earliest deadline for these payments is January 2, 2009.
With respect to any Disputed Claims, under either the Extended Warranty or Reimbursement Programs, Defense Counsel and Class Counsel shall confer within 30 days of the date on which the order of the Court finally approving the Settlement is not subject to any appeal in an effort to resolve the Disputed Claim, and shall notify Claimant of the results of their effort within three (3) days after such conference. In the event any Disputed Claim is not resolved to the satisfaction of you or Class Counsel, you or Class Counsel may submit the disputed Claim to mediation and, if mediation fails, binding arbitration under the "Autoline" program administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Subject to this Settlement becoming final and not subject to appeal, VW will pay all amounts agreed to at mediation or determined to be reasonable by the arbitrator. All costs for such mediation and arbitration shall be paid by VW, except that VW shall under no circumstances be liable for any attorney fee incurred by the Claimant in connection with such mediation or binding arbitration.
In connection with this settlement, VW will not pay any Claim for personal injury (including physical, psychological or mental injury), for death, or for damage to property apart from Covered Engine Damage to Settlement Class Vehicles. No claims of this type are affected or released in any way by this Settlement.
Pursuant to the Settlement terms, timing belt system inspections are required every 40,000 miles. Timing belt system inspections can be performed as part of regularly scheduled maintenance, which includes recommended oil changes at 5,000 mile intervals. Therefore if your vehicle has reached 40,000 miles, you can get your timing belt inspected as part of your next regularly scheduled maintenance, which will be in no more than 1,500 miles.
IMPORTANT! IN ORDER TO QUALIFY FOR THE EXTENDED WARRANTY AND/OR REIMBURSEMENT OF COSTS RELATED TO POSSIBLE FUTURE TIMING BELT SYSTEM FAILURE UP TO 105,000 MILES, YOU MUST HAVE YOUR TIMING BELT INSPECTED WITHIN 1,500 MILES OF EVERY 40,000 MILE MARK. BE SURE TO KEEP YOUR REPAIR ORDERS AND RECORDS OF PAYMENT.
Any repairs or replacements which are performed as a result of such inspection, will be at your expense.
To object, you (or your attorney) must serve such objection upon all counsel of record and file your objection with the Court on or before August 31, 2008. Objectors must state in writing all objections and the reasons therefore, and include any and all supporting papers, including proof of membership in the Class and, if applicable, the objector's statement of intent to appear at the Fairness Hearing. If you do not timely file a written objection and notice of your intent to appear at the Fairness Hearing, you shall not be permitted at the Fairness Hearing to object to the Settlement or to any matter related to the Settlement or the provisions of the Settlement Agreement, and shall be foreclosed from seeking review by appeal or otherwise.
You must file your objection with each of the four different places below, postmarked no later than August 31, 2008. You must mail your objection by this date. If you fail to do so, the Court will not consider your objection.
ALL PAPERS SUBMITTED MUST INCLUDE THE CASE NUMBER CV07-05334 R (JTLx).
Clerk U.S. District Court
Daniel L. Warshaw, Esq.
Craig L. Winterman, Esq.
You can contact Class Counsel for answers to common questions about the Settlement, plus other information to help you determine whether you are a Class Member and whether you are eligible for a payment. Please do not contact the Court. Personnel there will not be able to answer your questions.
Contact information for Class Counsel:
Robert L. Starr, Esq.
When contacting Class Counsel, please be sure to identify yourself as a Class Member in the Olson v VW Class Action.