In 2018, Thomas Becker wanted a quality used Volkswagen, so he decided to purchase a certified (“CPO”) Volkswagen. He found a 2013 diesel Volkswagen Jetta at Volkswagen of Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz County. Based on Mr. Becker’s research into VW’s certified vehicle program, he thought only the best vehicles were certified, and they would not be involved in any accidents. He was wrong on both accounts.

Within a week of his purchase, Mr. Becker noticed problems with the brakes, road vibration, and the vehicle pulling to one side. He returned to VW of Santa Cruz to complain about these problems. VW of Santa Cruz admitted they missed a few things when they supposedly performed VW’s 100+ point CPO inspection to confirm the vehicle met VW’s strict standards. VW of Santa Cruz replaced the brakes, but the road vibration and pulling continued. Mr. Becker complained about these problems to both VW of Santa Cruz and VW the manufacturer of the Jetta and returned the Vehicle to VW of Santa Cruz. Mr. Becker suspected he just got a bad vehicle and asked the both VW of Santa Cruz and VW to take the vehicle back. He had only had it for 29 days. They refused. In addition, VW of Santa Cruz told Mr. Becker not to bring back the vehicle to them anymore.

Mr. Becker took the Vehicle to another VW dealership to complain about the same problems. This VW dealership confirmed the pulling to one side and told Mr. Becker the sway bar link was bent, and the front struts, axles, and brake lines had been replaced. This type of damage only occurs from an accident. Mr. Becker was shocked to learn about this. A certified inspection should have discovered this damage and issues. In addition, the post-sale repair attempts should have revealed them too.

To make matters worse, Mr. Becker discovered this vehicle was one of the vehicles set up to cheat California’s emissions tests. The vehicle was repurchased as part of the lawsuit against VW related to this fraud. California law requires vehicle repurchased under another states lemon law to have its title branded a lemon law buyback. But, the title to Mr. Becker’s vehicle was not branded.

Mr. Becker has filed a lawsuit against VW of Santa Cruz and VW for both these issues. The lawsuit was filed in state court in the county of Santa Cruz, but VW removed the case to the federal court which handled the emissions cheating lawsuits. Mr. Becker has filed a motion to have the lawsuit returned back to the court in Santa Cruz. That motion has yet to be ruled on by Federal Court Judge Charles Breyer.