SAN DIEGO -- Drivers are finding new ways to fight back against Volkswagen after the carmaker was caught rigging emissions tests.
In Florida, 86-year-old Walter Melnyk filed a Lemon Law claim for his vehicle affected by the cheating scandal. Melnyk won against Volkswagen’s big time lawyers. The Lemon Law board ordered the carmaker to take his car back and give him $15,000.
“Why would they want to pick on a little guy like me?” Melynk said.
In the United States, there are around 500,000 vehicles affected by this scandal.
California does not have a Lemon Law board, but Hal Rosner with San Diego’s Auto Fraud Legal Center says local drivers can still fight Volkswagen without stepping inside a courtroom.
“They can use the Lemon Law by filing an arbitration claim,” Rosner said.
Rosner said Californians can file that claim with the Better Business Bureau. Arbitration allows a third neutral party to make a decision. In California in 2015, less than 500 cases were decided this way, according to BBB statistics.
Rosner also said you can file an arbitration claim against the dealerships. That is what he is doing on behalf of dozens of Volkswagen and Audi car owners. He said this method is faster than a civil lawsuit, which could take years.
“If you go through arbitration and you lose, you're still part of all the class actions,” Rosner said. “You haven't lost anything.”