FRANKLIN — Thousands of people in Wisconsin are driving a car recalled by Volkswagen. The company admitted to deliberately deceiving drivers about the emissions standards of many of its diesel-fueled vehicles. The issue has resulted in an emissions recall and Volkswagen must compensate drivers who own certain vehicles.
Ryan Bender from Franklin is one of the people in Wisconsin who is affected by the recall. He owns a Volkswagen Jetta Sports Wagon.
"They said they were going to buy the cars back and it lucked out for me because the car is three years old and I have 145,000 miles on it. So I owe way more than the car is worth," Bender said.
As part of the emissions recall settlement, Volkswagen promised to buyback or fix hundreds of thousands of cars including Bender's
Bender opted to take part in the buyback program. He estimates he's waiting on a $20,000 payment from Volkswagen.
"The way they're handling the process of taking the cars back is what's bothering me now," Bender said.
Bender says he followed all of Volkswagen's instructions. He went to the online buyback portal, uploaded his information and filed his claim. But, he can't finalize the buyback until his final offer letter comes through.
Bender says he's been waiting for that since November.
"It's been horrible. I call once a week, maybe twice a week to check what's going on. I'm on hold 45 minutes to an hour before I talk to somebody and they don't tell you anything, all they tell you is, 'Your claim is in process,'" Bender said.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says there's thousands of vehicles in the state that are impacted by this recall.
"In Wisconsin, there were over 11,000 vehicles that fit into this category for this lawsuit," Schimel said.
Schimel says drivers who don't feel Volkswagen is living up to its obligations should file a complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
"Contact them and let them know that things aren't moving," Schimel advised.
Schimel says Wisconsin has joined several lawsuits against Volkswagen. One lawsuit requires Volkswagen to comply with the terms laid out for consumer in the recall.
"This is billions, billions of dollars it's costing them for the lie they told. It could get worse if they don't stay in line with the terms of the settlements," Schimel said.
FOX6's Contact 6 reached out to Volkswagen. The company sent this email statement about the settlement program:
“Overall, we are encouraged by the customer response to the 2.0L TDI settlement program and the exceptional participation rate so far. As of January 3rd, Volkswagen had extended more than 240,000 offers to affected customers and processed more than 40,000 buybacks. This program is unprecedented in terms of its size and scope and we have hired, approximately 900, contract employees to help accommodate demand. We know that there have been some issues along the way and our teams have been working tirelessly to make necessary adjustments and continually improve the process.”
Contact 6 put Bender in touch with DATCP. The agency spoke to Volkswagen on Bender's behalf.
Bender already purchased a new car in anticipation that his buyback would be finished soon.
"I would have gotten rid of this in the spring if this wouldn't have happened. So now I'm paying two car payments, car insurance. And I even thought by now it would be gone," Bender said.
Since being contacted by Contact 6 and DATCP, Volkswagen has reached out to Bender.
Bender says he was told his offer letter has finally been written and that it has to go to an auditor now for final approval. Bender was told to expect it in the mail in a few days.
So far, DATCP has received two complaints about Volkswagen's recall process — one of them is Bender's.
The state wants to know if you're having issues similar to Bender's. If so, you can file a complaint HERE.