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Audi driver loses Volkswagen lemon law claim

Posted at 12:43 PM, Apr 14, 2016

The Florida Lemon Law board on Thursday was once again deciding if Volkswagen should buy back a diesel car.

This is the third case about this issue in Florida. Volkswagen won one case in Jacksonville, and consumer Walter Melnyk of Jupiter won the other case.

RELATED: VW loses case in January | Could case help other VW drivers?

Stephen Rosenfeld filed his Lemon Law case after seeing our Consumer Watchdog stories about Melnyk. He had no idea this was an option for him until he saw our stories.

Rosenfeld bought a 2015 Audi A8 L TDI Quattro Tiptronic for $96,825 and says now the value at CarMax is $53,000. There is even a disclaimer on the CarMax buy back appraisal that "Vehicle currently on no sell list from Audi."

Ultimately, the Lemon Law board did not put a lot of value in that appraisal offer. Volkswagen argued that the value hasn't dropped beyond the standard devaluation of new cars.

While most of the diesel issues have focused on Volkswagen cars, some Audi vehicles are also impacted. Consumers thought they were clean diesel cars and now question whether that's true because defeat devices were installed.

In this case, Volkswagen tested the diesel vehicle in question at a South Florida dealership.

Rosenfeld questioned Volkswagen's engineer about that inspection.

"Can you guarantee that being around the car is healthy?" Rosenfeld asked.

Neal Palmer, Product Liasion Engineer for Volkswagen, replied, " It's healthier than being around a lawnmower, school bus, or bolt of lighting."

Volkswagen did not take this consumer to court to try to stop the hearing like they did in the other Palm Beach County case, but they did try try to say that this case should not move forward until there is a decision by the federal government.

The Lemon Law board decided to move forward with the case.

The federal government has not been able to come up with an agreement with the car manufacturer on fixing these diesel cars.

Consumers have been waiting months for answers. They worry about the value, safety, and use of the vehicle and are using the Lemon Law to try to rectify the situation since there is still not a fix.

Volkswagen says its cars are safe to drive while they work on a solution.

Ultimately, the consumer lost in Thursday's Lemon Law case. The board did not feel the car "significantly" dropped in value, but noted it was a difficult decision.

While Melnyk won the other Palm Beach County Lemon Law case, and Volkswagen was ordered to take the car back and give him $15,000, Volkswagen is appealing that decision in court.

"I'm not intimidated," said 86-year-old Melnyk. "Why would you want to pick on a little guy like me?"

Rosenfeld is presenting his case today and attended Melnyk's hearing to see how the Lemon Law claims work.

At the time Rosenfeld said, "I'm really pleased they ruled in favor of the small guy because it gives me more hope."

Rosenfeld and his partner are representing themselves. Volkswagen has two lawyers, an engineer, and the manager of customer resolution at the hearing.

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