Ford Cheats Consumers On Lemon Law Repurchase Or Was It An Honest Mistake In San Diego?
Ford Motor has been buying back cars sold as “Lemon Law” buybacks for more than twenty years, and it’s no secret to Ford dealers or Ford-hired attorneys.
Among the hundreds of Ford owners we’ve represented since 1996, there is a noticeable pattern: Most owners get paid less than the full amount owed under the law. And in most cases, their cars were bought back without any repairs having been made.
It’s not surprising; if you read the fine print in the state lemon laws (and we recommend that you do), you’ll see that there are no requirements like getting your car repaired before filing for Lemon Law repurchase or providing notice to Ford of intent to file for repurchase. It does say that you must still make a good faith effort to get your car repaired under warranty, but not that you actually have to succeed in having it repaired.
We’re not saying it’s easy; just saying there is no requirement that you do so.
So what happens when owners don’t get all of their money? Is Ford entitled to keep some or all of the remaining unclaimed monies? Or is the law meant for consumers to receive every penny they are statutorily owed, even if they choose not to follow up on their rights by making repairs or filing an action for repurchase?
There is no case law directly on point, and opinions vary. But we believe most elected officials would say yes; any remaining monies are meant for the consumer. After all, that was the purpose of passing these laws in the first place: to protect consumers, not Ford’s bank account.
Ford Motor Company, Of Course, Takes A Different Stance
The company claims that it is not required to pay the full amount statutorily owed under the law unless and until the consumer makes the demand for money or files an action in court based on the statute.
In other words, Ford wants its cake and eats it too: It doesn’t want to pay owners what the law says they are due but instead would rather keep any unclaimed monies (again, we know this because we’ve represented hundreds of Ford owners). When challenged by consumers who don’t follow up with demanding payment or filing suit to force Ford’s compliance with the state lemon laws (and sometimes even when they do), Ford usually settles those cases as part of a dealership buyback.
The dealership simply asks for a release of all claims against Ford, accepts the settlement check from Ford Motor Company for less than what is owed under the law, and deposits it. Most owners are happy just to have received something. If the owner doesn’t care anymore, he or she usually won’t even cash their check, so that’s why many dealerships will immediately deposit those checks.
Contact Scott Law Group P.C. to learn more about how we can help you. We’re experienced in Lemon Law and consumer protection cases such as these and would be happy to discuss your case with you.
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