An $18,000 Ford Fusion. An engine light. A shaking, sputtering, and jerking. A history of problems. Multiple complaints. Two wrecks. A repossession. 6 years. And thousands of dollars. That’s what large companies do. They fight and fight and fight. They spend money in order to try to prevent the next case, and they could care less about their consumer.
My client did not always make the best decisions. She hired an attorney before involving me, and he ended up disbarred. She let the dealer and Ford Motor Credit Company force her to relinquish the vehicle. She made three (3) payments while the dealer still had the car and refused to try to fix it.
But, she also continued to complain to the dealer. The dealer, Town & Country Ford, determined that her transmission fluid was two quarts low and never diagnosed the reason for the loss of fluid. The Dealer confirmed the jerking. Ford never sent a field engineer to look at the car, even after my client wrote them a letter and BEFORE the two wrecks. I have handled over a hundred lemon law and warranty claims, and the manufacturers almost always send a field engineer to inspect the vehicle. In fact, the week before the arbitration, Ford had an engineer who lives in Alabama inspect another client’s vehicle.
Nevertheless, Ford and Town & Country refused to do anything for my client, and Ford Motor Credit Company sued her for a deficiency (the amount she still owed after the car was sold at auction). At that point, she came to me, and in an effort to help her, I agreed to file a counterclaim and cross claim. She never intended to file suit. She was going to drop the matter because she thought Ford simply took the car back and took care of the loan knowing that it was a lemon. But, unfortunately, she was wrong, and her previous attorneys apparently didn’t explain it to her.
So, here we are in litigation with three powerhouse companies: Ford Motor Company, Ford Motor Credit Company, and Town & Country Ford. All three hire their own attorneys. We offer to settle early on, and my client would have taken $10,000 to $15,000 for her time, trouble and attorney fees in order to compensate her and pay off Ford Motor Credit Company. The three companies never offered a dime. But, they did offer their attorneys and the arbitrator money. The case most likely cost the three companies over $60,000.00 to litigate over an $18,000 vehicle. Additionally, after the vehicle was sold at auction, Ford replaced the electronic throttle control, but of course their engineer who flew down three times from Detroit for the litigation stated that the Electronic Throttle Control had nothing to do with my client’s problems. We lost the arbitration which I thought we might, but I was hoping the companies might help their customer. That was a false hope.
So, let’s see. Pay three law firms over $60,000 in legal fees to fight a customer who complains about her $18,000 car. That makes sense, or does it? When you consider that all these companies care about is the almighty dollar, it does. Maybe that’s why Ford isn’t doing that well. Maybe that’s why the foreign cars are winning the battle (and on top of that, the foreign cars are much more fuel efficient because they actually care about the environment).
But, this will keep us from litigating against these companies in the future, right? Not really. See the lawsuit we just filed against the same parties because another client’s wheel fell off the vehicle. We will keep fighting for consumers because we believe in helping people with their problems.