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VW lemon law buyback: 2023 Golf R 20th Anniversary

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Chris Teague

vw lemon law buyback

After a few frustrating months, my 2023 Volkswagen Golf R 20th Anniversary is gone. I turned in the car at my local dealer after receiving confirmation that VW would buy it back, and the automaker provided a check to reimburse the payments I’d made on the car to date. While I was angry with the car and disappointed in how it worked, I have zero complaints about Volkswagen and its customer service. Here’s how the process worked.

VW Lemon Law Buyback Process

Once I’d identified the problems, I documented the issues and took the car to my local dealer. They replicated two of the issues, including the blinking backup camera and rear cross-traffic alerts, and replaced the camera. While working on the camera, the techs destroyed the interior plastic panel on the car’s rear hatch. They were unable to replicate or fix the other issues I was having with the vehicle: Malfunctioning automatic emergency braking, non-working blind spot monitoring, and a new problem that arose during the repair process, a blinking infotainment screen. 

vw lemon law buyback

After getting the car back, discovering the interior’s damage, and hearing that the other issues had not been fixed, I emailed Volkswagen. The automaker’s customer support team answered my email that day and requested documentation of the problems. A day later, they asked for loan documents and registration forms that proved my ownership of the vehicle. A short three days after that, I had a conditional approval for my buyback. While VW quotes several days for each communication and states that the approval process alone can take a couple of weeks, my buyback was approved, and I had a check in my hand in roughly that time. The check covered payments made on the loan to date, as well as the down payment. 

What happens with the Golf R now?

Now that the car has been returned, it will unfortunately get a branded title, telling the world that it was a lemon law buyback at some point in its life. Assuming a dealer or shop can fix the issues and get the car’s electronics back into prime shape, it can be resold, albeit at a lower price than comparable models because of its title brand. Some banks won’t offer loans for them, and some insurance companies balk at lemon law cars, but they can be a great way to save a few thousand dollars, especially on a rare, high-demand car like the Golf R.

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