Local woman says Volkswagen of America buyback process has left her stranded

Woman says she's paying for a car she can't drive
Posted at 4:13 PM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-15 18:31:29-04

Alexi Sveine lives in Frazier Park and has owned multiple Volkswagens throughout her lifetime. 

"We love the product," said Sveine.

She says she and her husband bought a 2012 Passat that he could use to commute to work. 

She said when the news broke in 2015 about the VW emissions scandal, Sveine said she and he husband weren't all that concerned.

"As long as the car performed, that didn't bother us," said Sveine. 

She said she and her husband were still so confident that the went out and bought another VW, this time a 2010 3.0 Liter Touareg. 

Soon after, though, Sveine said the Passat started having mechanical issues, so she and her husband decided to take advantage of VW's buyback program. 

After a six month process, it was finally bought back in March. 

In the meantime, the Touareg which she says she was told would last 300,000 miles, started having costly problems much sooner than that.

Sveine had to replace or repair the fuel tank, battery, brake pads, rotors, sensors and the AC cooler. All of the work cost more than $5,000.

"I have never had so many problems with a vehicle in my lifetime."

Sveine said the service department at Volkswagen Family Motors in Bakersfield has been extremely helpful, but the repairs have been too much for her and her family. 

"We try to help as much as we can to try to get this vehicle repaired and driveable," said David Monty who is the Service Director at Family Motors. 

In order to be eligible for the buyback program, vehicles need to be operable.

Sveine, concerned with having more problems or the car completely breaking down, asked the local VW to keep it on their lot until buyback, which they agreed to do, free of charge. 

Since then, it's been collecting dust and has left Sveine stuck at home without a car. 

"Meanwhile I'm making $290 a month payments. So I can't go out and lease another car or I would," said Sveine.

The local VW said there isn't much they can do because the buyback process is being handled by the creator, VW of America.

"We could not even talk to the customers, we could not even say anything, call them to say I'm sorry for what took place or anything," said the Owner of Family Motors, Jose Arredondo.

Since Sveine went through the buyback process with her Passat, Sveine is already part of the online portal for the buyback, but now it's a waiting game.

"The stress it's caused is pretty dramatic," she said.

With half a million drivers in the U.S. impacted by this buyback process, Sveine expects this time around it will also take months to complete.

"I just want to return the car and be on my way," she said. 

Sveine and other VW owners are waiting on the court's final approval to start the buyback process.

The final approval is expected on May 11, 2017.

For more information about the VW emissions scandal and the settlement, click here.