Polish watchdog fines Volkswagen over 'dieselgate' scandal

FILE PHOTO: A car with the Volkswagen VW logo badge is seen on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's consumer watchdog UOKiK said on Wednesday it was fining Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE more than 120 million zlotys ($31.6 million) for misleading customers about the emissions of its vehicles.

The fine, the biggest ever given by the regulator for violation of consumer rights, is the latest chapter in a global emissions cheating scandal that has cost Volkswagen about 30 billion euros in fines, vehicle refits and legal costs, and also triggered a global backlash against diesel vehicles.

“False information in advertising materials caused misinformation - they referred to Volkswagen’s pro-ecological attitude, when in fact the cars were not environmentally friendly,” UOKiK president Marek Niechcial said in a statement.

Volkswagen in 2015 admitted to cheating U.S. emissions tests on diesel engines.

“Volkswagen Group Poland does not see legal grounds for the fine published today by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection in Poland (UOKiK),” the company said in a statement emailed to Reuters

“Customers have not suffered any damage. The Volkswagen Group has been conducting a service campaign related to EA189 diesel engines since 2016.”

UOKiK noted that Volkswagen could appeal the decision in court.

($1 = 3.7933 zlotys)

Reporting by Alan Charlish; Editing by Kirsten Donovan