Questions About Our Mass Action or Ford's Class Action Settlement?

 

Are you a current or former owner, or lessee, of either the Ford Focus (2012-16) or Ford Fiesta (2011-16) equipped with a PowerShift transmission?

According to a Notice published July 7, 2017,  a recent Ford Class Action Settlement affecting owners and lessees of the 2012-2016 Ford Focus and the 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta vehicles equipped with a Powershift Transmission is awaiting final approval on October 2, 2017, and, IF that occurs, every owner or lessee who has not opted-out by September 5, 2017, will be bound by the terms of the Ford Class Action Settlement. If you’re not aware of the details of the Class Action Settlement, you should know the following (you can read the entire Ford Class Action Settlement Agreement here):

  • There are approximately 1,500,000 current/former owners, and lessees, of the 2012-2016 Ford Focus and the 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta with an uncorrectable and dangerous PowerShift transmission defect that’s been identified in many vehicles, and that Ford continues to say is “normal.” 
  • Due to a transmission defect in these vehicles equipped with a PowerShift Transmission, thousands of Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta owners have experienced consistent slipping, bucking, kicking, jerking and shuddering while driving these vehicles, and many have reported sudden or delayed acceleration.

Ford has issued more than 20 Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) on these models equipped with the PowerShift Transmission to alert dealership service technicians about known mechanical issues. A common course of dealer action has been to re-flash the transmission control module (TCM) and replace clutches, but the transmission problems persist.

  • Don’t think your vehicle has been affected by this issue? The Focus and Fiesta models equipped with the PowerShift Transmission have apparently experienced incredible depreciation due to their unreliability, according to this article. This publication further points out “the Ford Focus has gone from a solid reliable car to one of the absolute worst in the industry.
     
  • Focus and Fiesta owners and lessees of vehicles equipped with the Powershift Transmission are now standing up to Ford. Our Mass Action Complaint,  filed against Ford on behalf of nearly 10,000 clients, asserts that the manufacturer and its dealerships, as part of an apparent coordinated strategy, actively discouraged many Focus and Fiesta owners and lessees from seeking these repairs by often charging a warranty inspection fee and by, we believe, falsely informing owners and lessees (according to the Mass Action Complaint filed against Ford by Stern Law) that there was no defect and that the transmission operated normally; by advising owners that they’re not driving the vehicle properly; to drive their vehicle at high speeds and the problem will disappear; that the vehicle will learn the driving style and self-correct with increased mileage; that they should speed away from a stopped position to avoid the problem; and/or that there are parts on the way that may solve the problem. These statements, as reported by thousands of Ford owners and lessees, have been largely false, we believe. Consider, too, parts shortages that prevent warrantied repairs even when the dealer is willing to help, and that Ford has abandoned many owners who deserve assistance.
     
  • The problem with this transmission will not somehow magically disappear, and the Powershift transmission is clearly defective in some way, though Ford continues to deny that.  Many, indeed far too many, have brought their vehicles in for service, only to be told nothing was wrong.

Our firm has now received requests for help from nearly 20,000 Focus and Fiesta owners and lessees of models equipped with the PowerShift Transmission, concerned about their defective transmission that Ford apparently has no universal “fix” for.  We hear from as many as 200-300 more Focus and Fiesta owners and lessees each day, and are adding clients to the Mass Action Complaint against Ford after a brief intake process.
 

How Does Our Mass Action Work?
How Does it Differ From the FORD Class Action SETTLEMENT?


There are State and Federal laws protecting every vehicle owner or lessee when their automobile is defective. These are sometime referred to as “Lemon” laws.  There are also laws which protect consumers that are deceived by the fraud of manufacturers who promote the sale of their dangerous and defective products.  Though every case is different, owners and lessees are frequently awarded money damages of several thousand dollars for these claims. While every case is judged based on its own merits, Ford has settled cases involving its defective Powertrain Transmission in the Focus and Fiesta for as much as $10,000, or substantially more in certain states.

In an effort to avoid or limit its liability under these State and Federal consumer protection laws, Ford has entered into a Class Action Settlement that is binding on current and former Focus and Fiesta owners, and lessees of vehicles equipped with the Powershift Transmission.  Under the terms of the Settlement, owners and lessees will be bound by the terms of the Ford Class Action Settlement unless they opt-out by September 5, 2017.

Notice of the Class Action Settlement was sent out on or around Friday, July 7, 2017, indicating that every Focus and Fiesta owner or lessee of vehicles equipped with the PowerShift Transmission might be eligible to receive certain benefits, including:

  • Cash Payments totaling up to $2,325, OR Discount Certificates of up to $4,650 toward a new Ford vehicle purchase, and
  • Possible repurchase of your vehicle through an arbitration procedure with Ford’s selected arbitrator


ANALYZING Ford’s Class Action Settlement:

  • Ford’s payment of up to $2,325 (OR the Discount Certificate of up to $4,650 for a new Ford purchase) is for those requiring actual Transmission Part Replacements.  For the inconvenience of having to return to the dealership for 3 visits involving Transmission Part Replacements, owners may receive only $200 cash (OR $400 in credit toward a future Ford purchase, with the maximum of $2,325 cash (which would require 8 or more transmission part replacements!) Don't believe us? Click here and scroll to Page 14 of the document. It seems very unlikely that many persons will ever qualify to receive the $2,325, OR the Discount Certificate in the amount of $4,650. And by the way - Ford requires you must use that certificate within 12 months (page 15)!
     
  • Very few may benefit here because Ford rarely if ever performed three or more actual Transmission Part Replacements.  In fact, we believe Ford and its dealerships discouraged many from seeking these repairs by often charging a warranty inspection fee and by falsely informing owners and lessees, as alleged in our Mass Action Complaint against Ford, that there was no defect and that the transmission operated normally.  Many, indeed too many, have brought their vehicles in for service, only to be told nothing was wrong.  That, you should know, may not qualify as a Transmission Part Replacement that’s required under the Ford Class Action Settlement for compensation. Once again, the system, like Ford’s transmission, seems rigged against the owners and lessees that entrusted Ford with their money, and for one of their most valuable possessions used to transport young children and other family members.
     
  • Owners and lessees may qualify for up to the $2,325 OR the discount certificate toward a future Ford purchase, BUT not both. In addition, any funds recovered or the amount of the Certificate will be deducted by Ford from any repurchase award. You can see this on Page 17 of the Settlement.
     
  • Think you’d benefit from a possible buyback in the Ford Class Action Settlement?   Look carefully again, though, at what you must have in terms of evidence to qualify under state Lemon law, or Ford’s Class Action Settlement. The Lemon laws of many states require that you’ve had three or more repairs and that you provide the manufacturer with written notice before filing a Lemon claim.  As Ford’s arbitrator will be instructed to strictly follow state Lemon law and determine whether the advance notice was provided, and whether the required number of repairs for a buyback have been satisfied as required by Ford’s Class Action Settlement, these arbitrations will likely lead to very disappointing results for Focus and Fiesta owners and lessees.
     
  • We feel very few may benefit from the Ford’s Class action buyback because they have failed to provide the required Notice before making a claim and because Ford rarely if ever performed three or more repairs. In fact, Ford discouraged many from seeking repairs by charging a warranty inspection fee and by falsely and fraudulently informing owners and lessees, as alleged in our Mass Action Complaint, there was no defect and that the transmission operated normally.  Ford is of course disputing there’s any defect and then informing owners everything is normal to discourage these repairs, he adds. Don’t get caught in this trap: It may be difficult, if not impossible to ever qualify for any buyback based on the required number of repairs Ford denied, discouraged, or represented were unnecessary. Whether you qualify is also determined by a Ford selected and paid for arbitrator, with a limitation on two months to prepare and no ability to document, claim and prove Ford's cover-up and fraud, as we alleged in the Mass Action Complaint, concerning the defect that Ford has no universal fix for and with no recovery for depreciation.
     
    • There’s no ability to sue Ford for fraud in Ford’s Class Action Settlement. By misleading owners that there was nothing wrong and otherwise refusing to repair, our Mass Action Complaint asserts that Ford fraudulently deprived many owners of the repair attempts necessary to receive compensation (or the buyback) under Ford’s Class Action Settlement. That’s fraud and the ability to recover for fraud isn’t available to you in Ford’s Class Action Settlement, our founder, Ken Stern says. Without an ability to sue Ford for fraud, your buyback or repurchase claim could be lost in Ford’s Class Action Settlement.
       
    • Ford’s buyback arbitration is also, "all or nothing."  That is, Ford’s arbitrator will only determine whether you qualify for the buyback, based on the number of repairs. In other words, there's seemingly no ability to settle, compromise or secure any "middle ground" by which owners could recover something less than a complete buyback in Ford's arbitration proceeding.  This means that many cases will suffer in Ford’s Class Action Settlement because as we know, so many owners were discouraged or misled about necessity for or value of continued repairs in connection with a PowerShift transmission defect Ford won’t acknowledge and could not universally fix.  The Class Action Settlement requires a favorable ruling from Ford’s arbitrator that you’re entitled to the buyback based on state Lemon law, only (based on the number of repairs we know Ford has discouraged), to achieve any buyback and the legal fee reimbursement in an expedited proceeding with little or no ability to confront Ford and its employees in the arbitration. That’s far different from what frequently occurs in many Lemon cases that can be resolved via settlement for less than a complete buyback when the proofs may be lacking in some way. This "all or nothing" feature can be a significant barrier to receiving compensation, we believe, that may eliminate any value for many under these circumstances. Unlike Ford’s Class Action Settlement, many Lemon cases usually result in compromise settlements, but it is also possible to get a buyback through the Mass Action Complaint under Federal (breach of implied warranty) law known as Magnuson-Moss or the Uniform Commercial Code, without meeting these strict Lemon law requirements Ford is requiring here before any buyback can be awarded. In the end, the possible remedy in the Ford Class Action arbitration is limited in scope and amount, as compared to the variety of remedies and damages that are available in the Stern Mass Action.
       
    • But wait, there’s more! Ford also limits attorney’s fees it will pay for representing you in their buyback proceeding to $6,000, but only IF you win (potentially leaving you personally liable for legal fees if you lose, and for any legal fees in excess of $6,000, even if you win). There’s an appeal available from the decision of Ford’s arbitrator, but Ford requires that YOU must pay any costs associated with that second arbitration. Ford pays for no attorney fees required to represent you in connection with the Cash Payments totaling up to $2,325, OR the Discount Certificate of up to $4,650 toward a new car purchase.
       
    • The usual award in Lemon, Magnuson-Moss and consumer protection cases in many states is likely to be more than what’s provided for in Ford’s Class Action Settlement, we assert in our Mass Action Complaint.  Some states award special damages, including penalties, interest and punitive damages that are not available in Ford’s Class Action Settlement that’s strictly based on State Lemon Law and Ford’s, “all or nothing” buyback option. Most importantly, your award under Ford’s Class Section Settlement is determined by an arbitrator selected and paid by Ford. Stern’s Mass Action is filed in a Court of Law, and assigned to a Judge with no ties to Ford.
       
    • An extended warranty won’t help—Ford has no permanent and universal fix for all these vehicles. You can have a warranty for even 400,000 miles, we believe, but if there’s no fix, you may be stuck with vehicle that has already depreciated with greater unreliability than nearly any other vehicle today.  Many owners have already been robbed of their investment, and their confidence in these vehicles, he adds. Your vehicle has also likely been depreciated because the market knows Ford has no universal fix. Left with little options, many owners have sold their vehicles for considerable losses to avoid driving a dangerous vehicle with a transmission defect that Ford will not acknowledge or universally fix.
       
    • These cases require some exchange of information through the process of discovery, including depositions of Ford's employees. This truth-seeking function is what's responsible for making clear what the actual damages are and what Ford has done to damage our clients in this process. According to our firm’s Founder, Ken Stern, that's how these cases normally work, not by severely limiting the legal rights of the clients to uncover and reveal in just two months before the Ford Class Action arbitration hearing the conduct of Ford’s employees that's responsible for the damage that's been caused. Cutting off and effectively eliminating any opportunity at discovery will severely limit any ability to prove the case and thereby limit the ability to adequately document the full extent of Ford's responsibility for all the damage owners and lessees have been caused. According to one report, Ford has actively concealed the defect in the PowerShift transmission, highlighting why it’s important to have sufficient time to develop the evidence of fraud and misconduct.  

 

Now compare all of that to our Mass Action Complaint!

Owners and lessees can now avoid Ford's Class Action Settlement and seek to force Ford to buy back these vehicles and reimburse all fees and expenses, without causing owners and lessees to live with a defective vehicle that Ford knows it cannot universally fix, and that will now depreciate more in value than ever before in light of increased litigation and media attention.

In addition, while every situation is different and awards are customized based upon the facts in each client’s case, Focus and Fiesta Owners and Lessees can benefit in the Stern Mass Action from a wide arrange of possible benefits, including that,

  • Owners and Lessees pursue the maximum allowable compensation available under the law, including detailed claims of fraud, starting with a possible full buyback, or depreciation/lost value, including out-of-pocket expenses, rental car fees, lost wages and inspection fees you paid to address these problems, as determined by a Judge in a Court of law as opposed to accepting Ford's excuse for the justice many now deserve. 
     
  • Owners and Lessees receive all the damages they’re entitled to receive in a legal proceeding, including a buyback, not some award according to Ford’s selected and paid for arbitrator that’s been designed to fail for many.
     
  • The client Never pays any attorney’s fees, at any time. Ford must pay any legal fee our firm is entitled to and the client’s award is always separate from the legal fee. Clients retain 100% of any settlement or award presented to them in the mass action.
     
  • The attorney Never accepts any award without client approval.  Each claim is different and every award is customized based on the unique circumstances of each client’s case.

You should consult our Ford Transmission Claim Center (844-808-7529) or speak with any lawyer knowledgeable about State and Federal consumer protection or Lemon law to better understand why and how you can do better, perhaps even far better, by joining Stern’s Mass Action Complaint or by otherwise taking direct legal action against Ford, and by opting out of Ford’s Class Action Settlement.  We believe you’ll quickly discover that few, if anyone, believe this is a good deal for owners and lessees. 


It's time to act!

Because of deadlines imposed by Ford’s Class Action Settlement, the time for deciding or sitting on the fence is now past.  If you do nothing and fail to opt-out by September 5, 2017, you’ll then be bound by the terms of Ford’s Class Action Settlement. You’ll have to decide what the investment you’ve made in your vehicle and all of the stress, combined with the lack of safety or security, and this annoying distraction is worth to you. While Ford has extended warranty coverage on these vehicles, it still requires the dealership to agree that the repair is needed.  If Ford doesn’t have a universal fix, and won’t even acknowledge there’s a defect, all with parts shortages and uncooperative dealers, we believe the extended warranty would be worthless.  

Now is the time for Ford Focus and Fiesta owners and lessees of vehicles equipped with the PowerShift Transmission to decide: Do they want to join nearly 10,000 clients in the Mass Action Stern Law has filed against Ford to receive all the damages they deserve, including a buyback, depreciation, and/or their out-of-pocket expenses, or do they want to be included in Ford’s Class Action Settlement?  It really comes down to whether owners and lessees can now trust Ford to do the right thing after all this time, or will their losses, frustration and worry only continue. 


If you have any questions about our Mass Action or your rights, or if you have other questions, you can contact us at 844-808-7529, or continue to review our website through the navigation menu above.