Sokol Gjonbalaj has become the lead plaintiff in a class action complaint, filed in New York, against Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. and Volkswagen AG (collectively VW). Gjonbalaj alleges the carmaker “knowingly used deceptive practices, to sell tens of thousands of class vehicles with sunroofs that have inherent design and manufacturing flaws.” Gjonbalaj is seeking a trial by jury along with financial compensation.
“[The known flaws] cause leaks resulting in damage to the vehicles’ interior, including electrical systems, audio systems, upholstery, carpet, roof headliners, seats, and more,” a portion of the complaint reads.
The VW models that make up the “class vehicles” in this suit are the 2015-present Audi A1 Mk2, Audi A3 Mk3, Audi TT Mk3, Audi Q2, Audi Q3, Volkswagen Arteon, Volkswagen Atlas/Teramont, Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Passat, Volkswagen Polo, Volkswagen Tiguan, and Volkswagen Touran that are sold with a sunroof. Gjonbalaj noted the sunroof design is similar for all of the class vehicles.
The complaint alleges VW was aware of the sunroof defect and continued to sell the aforementioned vehicles to its consumers since 2016.
“VW wrongly profits on its defective sunroofs because it has known of the sunroofs’ defective nature for years and VW never informs consumers of the defect; never warns about the consequences of the defect; actively conceals the defect from consumers; and fails to live up to the express and implied warranties it made through its warranty materials, advertisements, and other contractual agreements and promises made to consumers,” Gjonbalaj said in his complaint.
VW issued a number of technical service bulletins (TSBs) related to the defective sunroofs. In addition, there were several VW vehicle owners who complained about having the same sunroof issues via blogs, VW group websites, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), social media, and other forums, according to the complaint.
According to the complaint, there are six claims against VW, some of which include:
- Breach of express warranties;
- Breach of implies warranties;
- Violation of MMWA Inc.; and
- Unjust enrichment.
Gjonbalaj purchased his 2018 VW Tiguan in August 2017. He stated at no time prior to, during, or after his purchase, did VW inform him that his class of vehicle contained the sunroof defect. According to the complaint, Gjonbalaj experienced approximately four separate leak events in his vehicle, which he claims is due to the sunroof defect.
“Each leak has occurred in the rain and some occurred while Gjonbalaj was driving on the road. On or about October 11, 2018, while it was raining outside, Gjonbalaj experienced the first sunroof leak,” a portion of the complaint reads.
Following the first sunroof leak incident Gjonbalaj took the vehicle to a Volkswagen dealer for a repair. The VW dealer kept the car for approximately two weeks, at which time, the VW dealer claimed that it could not replicate the leak and returned the vehicle to Gjonbalaj.
On or about November 13, 2019, while Gjonbalaj was driving in the rain, he experienced another sunroof leak. He took his vehicle back to the dealer where a hose test was performed and after one week of being without his vehicle, Gjonbalaj was told the dealer could not replicate the leak. According to his complaint, this happened at least two more times.
Due to the allegations mentioned in Gjonbalaj’s class action complaint, he is seeking a trial by jury. As of press time VW has yet to respond to the class action complaint. Look to a future edition of glassBYTEs for more information on this suit.