Bought a Volkswagen in SA since 2007? You may be owed thousands - here’s how to claim

Business Insider SA
VW new car
The Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept. Photo: Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
  • Volkswagen Financial Services SA has been ordered to pay back fees it has been levying on sale contracts since 2007. 
  • Car owners, who bought their vehicles through Volkswagen Financial Services, can lodge a complaint with the National Credit Regulator to ensure they get their money back.
  • Volkswagen is obtaining legal advice, however.

The National Credit Tribunal has ordered Volkswagen Financial Services SA to repay customers illegal fees, which have been levied for the past twelve years.

These so-called “on-the-road charges” (OTR fees), as well as an administration fee and a handling fee, were added to the financed prices of cars, and weren’t allowed in terms of the National Credit Act.

The new ruling covers all Volkswagen Financial Services credit agreements entered into since June 2007, National Credit Regulator (NCR) spokesperson Lebogang Selibi told Business Insider SA. (Volkswagen owners who bought their vehicles through banks and other financing institutions are not affected.)

UPDATE: Volkswagen Financial Services won't refund car owners - for now

According to Autotrader, the illegal fees included:

  • The cost of pre-delivery inspection/safety check
  • The cost of a Certificate of Roadworthiness
  • Delivery fuel (The fuel inside the tank when you drive away with the new car)
  • Initial fuel (The fuel in the car’s tank while it was still on the floor, for test driving purposes.)
  • The cost of a clearance certificate (to ensure that the car is free of outstanding debt, and hasn't been in a serious accident. )
  • Licensing and registration costs
  • Cleaning or valet costs.

According to some estimates, these fees reached up to R4,000 a vehicle. The amount was included in the vehicle finance agreement and accrued interest over the years.

In 2017, the NCR ordered both Volkswagen Financial Services and BMW Financial Services to repay these fees.

Volkswagen appealed to the higher authority, the National Credit Tribunal, which on Tuesday found against it. The tribunal told Volkswagen Financial Services to stop charging the fees by Wednesday.

See also: We put a baby and a dog in a R2 million Maserati to see if it is any good at running errands

It was ordered to refund all the fees and interest levied on the fees to customers, and submit a report by independent auditors to the NCR.

If you bought a car through Volkswagen Financial Services, you can lodge a formal complaint with the NCR, says Selibi. “The NCR will keep a record and ensure that the consumers are included in the audit which needs to be conducted.”

A Volkswagen Financial Services SA spokesperson told Business Insider SA that it is obtaining legal advice. 

For more, go to Business Insider South Africa.

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