Appellate Court Upholds Consumer's Verdict Against Ford
Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
In August of 2008, Charles Keatts purchased a brand new Ford
Explorer from Crain Ford in Little Rock, Arkansas. The
vehicle was a lemon.
Throughout the initial bumper-to-bumper warranty period, the
vehicle was in the shop for multiple attempts to repair water leaks
that seemed to drip from under the dash near the gas pedal.
Ford could not detect or repair the problem despite repeated
Mr. Keats hired SmithMarco, P.C. to
pursue his lemon law claims in court. The matter went to
trial and after nearly a week of testimony, it only took the jury
about an hour to find for Mr. Keats, and award him the entire
purchase price of the vehicle - over $30,000. Ford
Ford claimed that Mr. Keats was supposed to take his claims to the
Better Business Bureau before he filed his lawsuit in court.
Ford had an informal dispute resolution procedure (IDSP) that was
part of the warranty booklet that required all consumers to put
their claims to the BBB first. However, the IDSP that Ford
included did not provide for all the same remedies that Keatts
could have obtained in a court of law. A vehicle manufacturer
cannot force a consumer into a dispute forum that does not provide
all the same remedies that the lemon law itself
allows. Ford's IDSP provided that if Keatts were to prevail,
he would be entitled to a comparable vehicle but it did not have to
be a vehicle that Keatts necessarily approved. The vehicle
need only be "reasonably equivalent" to the replaced vehicle.
Thus, Ford could put Keatts in a "take-it-or-leave-it position -
with perhaps a vehicle of a different color, with different
add-ons, tires, rims, interior, etc.
The appellate court found in Mr. Keatts favor and affirmed the
trial court's position. Ford's IDSP did not comply with the
lemon law, and did not provide the consumer all the remedies that
lemon law provided. Mr. Keatts
verdict has been upheld. SmithMarco is a consumer rights firm
that handles lemon law claims among the
various other consumer protection areas. If your new vehicle
is not functioning properly, and you are forced to endure multiple
repair attempts, contact us and we will
provide a free case