Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why should I sign with Bannister Law?
2. Why engage Bannister Law over anyone else?
3. The No Win No Fee Agreement says there is a fee – what is this fee?
4. What Bannister Law will claim for you as an individual client?
5. What is the basis of the Bannister Law class action?
6. How much compensation will I receive?
7. What if we lose?
8. What if we win?
9. What does the litigation funder do if we win?
10. Can I terminate the retainer and funding agreement once signed?
11. Will Volkswagen and Audi take my car?
12. I am thinking about selling my car/ trading in? Should I wait for the end of the class action? Can I still claim?
1. 13. Why should I be concerned about this at all? My car still runs fine and I don’t care about emissions?
2. 14. Time frame
15. My vehicle was purchased second hand. Is it included in the class action?
16. I have had my vehicle fixed and/or updated to fix the issue. Can I still be part of the class action?
17. My vehicle is financed. Does this matter?
18. My vehicle is registered in a company name. What should I do?
19. Is my car affected?
20. My vehicle is not on the list? What can I do?

1. Why should I sign with Bannister Law?

As an owner, of an affected Volkswagen or Audi vehicle fitted with 1.6 or 2.0 litre EA 189 diesel engines, you are automatically included as a person who is known as a “Group Member” (or Class Member) in the class action against Volkswagen Group Australia Pty Ltd (ACN 093 117 876) and Audi Australia Pty Limited (ACN 077 092 776). Two class actions have been commenced by Bannister Law in the Federal Court of Australia on behalf of all persons who at some time during the period between January 2008 and 28 October 2015 inclusive purchased or leased an affected Volkswagen or Audi vehicle.

It should be noted that there are three other class actions commenced by Maurice Blackburn on behalf of persons who acquired affected vehicles and that numerous group members will be included in more than one class action.

As an affected vehicle owner, you are and will for the time being remain a group member in the various class action proceedings before the Federal Court whether or not you agree to formally retain and become a client of either Bannister Law or Maurice Blackburn.

As a Group Member, you are not obliged to sign an individual client agreement with Bannister Law or Maurice Blackburn. If you remain a Group (or Class) Member, you will be informed of matters affecting the whole class from time to time, in accordance with orders made by the Federal Court of Australia, and you will eventually be bound by any final judgment that the Federal Court gives to finalise the class action.

Before the proceedings are finalised, the court will give all Class Members an option to “opt out” of the class action, and if you do that, you will not be bound by the outcome of the class action, nor will you be entitled to any benefits if the class action succeeds. Once judgment is handed down by the Federal Court, all affected car owners will be notified of the outcome in the way that the Federal Court orders, for example, the court may order that the outcome be publicised by email or in other public ways.

You also have an option, available right now, to sign up as an individual client with Bannister Law. Please note that you are and will for the time being remain a Group Member in the class actions proceeding before the Federal Court (unless you opt out) whether or not you agree to formally retain Bannister Law or Maurice Blackburn. However, signing our No Win No Fee Agreement allows us to act for you on an individual basis as a client.

The benefit of signing as an individual client is that we can assess your individual losses. For instance, any interest paid on a loan or finance, out of pocket expenses paid to have the transmission fixed/replaced, or any other peculiar issues you have experienced with your vehicle.

2. Why engage Bannister Law over anyone else?

1. We’re offering a highly experienced legal team:

Bret Walker SC
Has served as the President of the NSW Bar Association, President of the Law Council of Australia, Chairman of LCA National Criminal Law Liaison Committee and Governor of the Law Foundation of NSW. He was also appointed the first Independent National Security Legislation Monitor.

Dr Peter Cashman
Former partner of Maurice Blackburn Cashman, his publication Class Action Law and Practice is the current industry standard text. He was also the Commissioner jointly in charge of the Australian Law Reform Commission Reference on Class Actions and the Commission’s report led to the class action provisions in Part IVA of the Federal Court Act. He has been conducting class actions before Australian and US courts for over 30 years. He is also a Professor in the Law School at University of Sydney.

2. We believe a litigation funder is a much safer option.

As mentioned above we have entered a funding agreement with a litigation funder. The litigation funder carries all the risk of any potential costs ordered by the court and will also pay for the legal costs and disbursements along the way.

3. The No Win No Fee Agreement says there is a fee – what is this fee?

The No Win No Fee Agreement outlines information about the costs of our legal services. It says that our estimate of legal costs is $815.00. This is an estimate only. This estimate is made up of your individual fees incurred for the time spent by our team, and work done directly on your claim. This may include correspondence or emails with you and the assessment of your claim. We will claim this amount against Volkswagen and Audi if the class action is successful.

There are no up-front costs to be part of the action.

The class action is No Win No Fee.

4. What Bannister Law will claim for you as an individual client?

Once you sign our No Win No Fee Agreement, you will be a client with us.

The class action is making the following damages claims for the leading applicants and the Group Members in the Federal Court:

  1. The loss suffered by the applicant and Group Members will be calculated by reference to:
    a) the purchase price of the affected vehicle; or
    b) the difference between the price at which they acquired or leased the affected vehicle and the true value of the vehicle as at the date of the purchase.
  1. Alternatively, in the event that the court finds that the guarantee was not complied with by the respondent, and the failure to comply with the guarantee cannot be remedied or is a major failure, the applicant and each Group Member who acquired an Affected Vehicle after 1 January 2011 may reject the Affected Vehicles and be refunded for their purchase price pursuant to s. 263(4) of the ACL. Evidence of the purchase price will be provided in due course if this option is elected by the Applicant or any of the Group Members
  1. Alternatively, pursuant to s. 259(4) of the ACL or s. 82 of the TPA, the applicant and each Group Members are entitled to compensation for the reduction in value of the Affected Vehicles below the price paid

It is up to the court to decide which of these damages claims, may be allowed if the class action succeeds.

As the class action proceeds, we will obtain further information from you regarding your vehicle – i.e. purchase price, date of purchase, whether the vehicle was financed, and your experience with your vehicle. You should keep any information relevant to your vehicle. We will contact you via email in the future to obtain this.

5. What is the basis of the Bannister Law class action?

  1. A claim for a full refund of purchase price.Under consumer laws, VW/Audi guaranteed that the vehicles were fit for their purpose and free from defects. However, we are claiming buyers may have been misled by the claims of the Volkswagen that the pollutant emission levels were lower than they truly were.

    Our action contends, in supplying cars containing the defeat device, the statutory guarantee was not complied with. If that part of the claim is successful, the customer may be entitled to return the car to Volkswagen or Audi and get a full refund of the purchase price.

  1. The second claim is for ‘Damages’ for the decrease in the value of your vehicle.

We have become aware from expert valuers, affected owners and wholesale resellers that the emissions scandal may have already had an impact on the resale value of vehicles with the cheating software.

Owners are entitled to be fairly compensated for any loss.

6. How much compensation will I receive?

The compensation (or damages) awarded will depend on the Federal Courts final decision when the class action concludes.

WHAT IF WE LOSE?

7. What if we lose?

In the event of a loss, Group Members are not required to pay adverse costs.

As above, the action is No Win No Fee.

WHAT IF WE WIN?

8. What if we win?

In the event of a win, the estimate of $815.00 will be claimed from Volkswagen and Audi (i.e. we ask Volkswagen and Audi to pay and it is up to the Federal Court of Australia to approve that). If there is a short fall, (i.e. Volkswagen and Audi do not pay all of our costs), this may be apportioned between you and the other Group Members who recover damages or compensation. However, this will depend on whether the judge makes an order for the shortfall to be paid from the settlement or paid in additional to the settlement.

In the event of a successful case, we will charge an uplift fee of 25% on top of our estimated professional fees. This uplift fee is also claimed against Volkswagen Group Australia Pty Ltd (ACN 093 117 876) and Audi Australia Pty Limited (ACN 077 092 776) alongside the above estimate.

9. What does the litigation funder do if we win?

We have engaged a litigation funder. A litigation funder accepts the risk of funding the litigation, and is entitled to approximately 25-30% of the total settlement ordered by the court in the event of a successful claim, subject to the court’s approval. The 25-30% entitlement is a commercial return for them in taking the risk and paying all the upfront costs associated with the litigation.

As a litigation funder has been retained, if the class action succeeds, it is usual for the Federal Court of Australia to be asked, as part of the overall settlement of the class action, to approve a funds equalisation or common fund arrangement. This allows the total costs of the class action and of the litigation funder (including its commission) to be apportioned in a fair and equitable way across all Group Members who are entitled to compensation (damages) from the successful class action.

As a client of Bannister Law you have the option to sign a Funding Agreement. This is an acknowledgement signed by you in which you accept that the Funder is entitled to a percentage of the total settlement awarded by the court, and is a separate contract that you enter into with them.

It is your choice whether you wish to sign this Funding Agreement.

10. Can I terminate the retainer and funding agreement once signed?

There is a 5 day (business days) cooling off period for the agreement. If you decide to terminate within that 5 day period, you will not be charged.

After the cooling off period, if we have begun work on your file and you choose to opt out, you will be charged for work done on your individual file.

11. Will Volkswagen and Audi take my car?

If you were to receive a full refund, Volkswagen and Audi may take back your vehicle.

If you were to receive damages, you would keep your vehicle and receive an amount of compensation.

12. I am thinking about selling my car/ trading in? Should I wait for the end of the class action? Can I still claim?

Yes, you can still claim. We believe that the defects in these vehicles may result in a reduced resale or trade in price. See FAQ #4 above, which sets out the damages being claimed. It is up to the Federal Court to decide whether these will be successful.

We cannot give you advice on whether you should keep your car or sell it now.

If you sell/ trade-in your vehicle you can still be part of the action, and we can claim the loss you suffered that is attributable to the Defeat Device that may be installed in your vehicle.

13. Why should I be concerned about this at all? My car still runs fine and I don’t care about emissions?

We have sought advice from industry experts who have informed us that the re-sale or trade-in value of affected car may now be significantly lower due to the scandal.

We have also heard from wholesale sellers who say numerous consumers are struggling to get any interest in the sale of their car.

14. Time frame

It is too early to say at this stage. However, class actions of this nature usually take 6 months to 2 years.

15. My vehicle was purchased second hand. Is it included in the class action?

Yes. Second hand vehicles are included in the action provided that they are fitted with 1.6 or 2.0 litre EA 189 diesel engines; and provided, also, that your vehicle is specified in the table in FAQ #19 below.

16. I have had my vehicle fixed and/or updated to fix the issue. Can I still be part of the class action?

While it is a personal decision, we advise you to accept the fix if offered.

Please note having the fix may affect the amount of compensation you receive. This will depend on whether the fix is successful or whether it affects the vehicle’s performance or fuel efficiency.

17. My vehicle is financed. Does this matter?

No, this will not be an issue.

Once you are a signed client, we will obtain your finance/loan information when we assess your individual claim.

18. My vehicle is registered in a company name. What should I do?

If you are the manager of the company and have authority to act on behalf of the company, you are able to sign the agreement in your name. We will obtain your company information once we begin work on your individual file.

19. Is my car affected?

Your vehicle will be included in the class action if it is a Volkswagen or Audi vehicle fitted with 1.6 or 2.0 litre EA 189 diesel engines. Only diesel vehicles are included.

Your vehicle will NOTbe included in the action:
If you have a petrol vehicle; or
The specific model or year of manufacture of your vehicle is NOT on the list below.

The following vehicles are part of the class action:

Volkswagen Passenger Cars – 61,189
Golf 1.6 TDI/2.0 TDI (2009-2013)
Golf Wagon 1.6 TDI/2.0 TDI (2009-2013)
Polo 1.6 TDI (2009-2014)
Jetta 1.6 TDI/2.0 TDI (2010-2015)
Passat CC 2.0 TDI (2008-2012)
Volkswagen CC 2.0 TDI (2011-2015)
Passat 2.0 TDI (2008-2015)
Eos 2.0 TDI (2008-2014)
Tiguan 2.0 TDI (2008-2015)

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles – 17,256

Caddy 1.6 TDI/2.0 TDI (2010-2015)
Amarok 2.0 TDI (2011-2012)

Škoda – 5,148
Octavia 1.6 TDI/2.0 TDI (2008-2013)
Yeti 2.0 TDI (2012-2015)
Superb 2.0 TDI (2009-2015)

Audi – 16,085
A1 1.6 TDI (2011-2014)
A3 1.6 TDI (2011-2013)
A3 2.0 TDI (2009-2013)
A4 2.0 TDI (2008-2015)
A5 2.0 TDI (2012-2016)
A6 2.0 TDI (2009-2014)
Q3 2.0 TDI (2012-2014)
Q5 2.0 TDI (2009-2016)
TT 2.0 TDI (2009-2014)

You can confirm whether your vehicle is affected by checking the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) details of your car on these sites:

You will find your VIN in the front of the service book or at the bottom of the windscreen on the left hand side (as you look into the vehicle from the outside).

The VIN will look like this: WVWZZZ1KZBP000001

20. My vehicle is not on the list? What can I do?

Unfortunately, you are not included in this class action and we will not be able to act on your behalf.