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So I'm in the middle of the lemon law process

16802 Views 39 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  hkhoosier
Like the title says I'm going the lemon law route with my 2012 Ford Focus Ti. I live in Georgia. I'd like to share my experience so far.

The process requires you have had a non-conformity repair attempted in the first 12k miles or 1 year of ownership. Then two more attempts at repair in the next two years or 24k miles. Then you have up to 1 year additional to file a claim. It's a bit different if the non-conformity is considered a safety issue. The DCT isn't considered a safety issue.

It's also important to note that I don't have to participate in the BBB autoline program as is it isn't certified by the state of Georgia.

So at 6k miles I went in for the shudder/DCT issues and got programming done. At 15k miles I went in again for the shudder/DCT issues and got updated programming. At 18.3k miles I went again and was told there was no updated flash. At 18.6k I went back and broke the RPM flare threshold on the PID test, 350. I got new clutches and seals for my trouble.

That period was within the first two years of ownership. Over this summer the wonky DCT behavior has returned. I'm within the third year of ownership and as such I started the lemon law process. Currently around 28k miles. I filled out a form and overnighted it to Ford.

The form is an official request for a final repair attempt. You must give Ford a chance to fix the issues.

Well today Ford had their scheduled final repair attempt. A Ford service engineer drove my car for 31 miles and said no issues. He also said both my PCM and TCM were on the latest software level. That is interesting as neither have been touched since 18.6k miles in October of last year. I also know, thanks to this forum, about TSB 14-0131 which comes with updated software in addition to the "F" clutch revision. He also neglected to have another PID test ran on my vehicle. Or if they did, they didn't put it in writing on my repair invoice. He was nice enough to explain how a dual dry clutch transmission shifts though.

Tomorrow I'm doing step 3 which is overnighting a re-purchase request, per Ga lemon law, as Ford neglected to fix my non-conformity, DCT continues to require programming and/ or repair, when given a final attempt.

Ford has 20 days to honor my request per Georgia lemon law. I'm sure I'll hear back soon.

I've learn so much from this forum. I just wanted to share my experience for anyone on the lemon law fence.
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Lemon law case can be like using a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

It is a way to get out of an untenable situation, but the victory can be a pyrrhic one.

Walking away even is a best case result after all the effort involved.
 

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But wouldn't the OP have a great case against Ford's "seamless shifting" statement? He's proved "seamless shifting" is impossible, and didn't we have another poster a few months back who was going to have Ford banned from operating in Illinois because of the "seamless shifting" statement?

Or is that out of the scope of the lemon law process?

Even if it is out of lemon law scope, the OP should have an excellent case for a lawsuit against Ford. I'm not saying he's going to win millions, but say he settles with Ford out of court for $50k (minus lawyer fees of 30%?) on top of the lemon law conclusion, while still not a windfall, gets him into something more expensive than a Focus.
 

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But wouldn't the OP have a great case against Ford's "seamless shifting" statement? He's proved "seamless shifting" is impossible, and didn't we have another poster a few months back who was going to have Ford banned from operating in Illinois because of the "seamless shifting" statement?

Or is that out of the scope of the lemon law process?

Even if it is out of lemon law scope, the OP should have an excellent case for a lawsuit against Ford. I'm not saying he's going to win millions, but say he settles with Ford out of court for $50k (minus lawyer fees of 30%?) on top of the lemon law conclusion, while still not a windfall, gets him into something more expensive than a Focus.
Problem is suing is OK, but Ford can tie you up forever with that. A big problem with giant corps and the single citizen nowadays. These guy have gotten so big regular people have little to no recourse and even if you do manage to win you spent so much time and other resources you'd have been better off to have moved on and taken the loss.
 

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"My state law says a nonconformity means a defect, a serious safety defect, or a condition, any of which substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of a new motor vehicle to the consumer or renders the new motor vehicle nonconforming to a warranty."


Look at this condition for a lemon law case, quoted from the OP.

Ford's advertising doesn't even apply.

TooOld - I know you like to stir the pot, but for this one you prob. should start your own thread rather than going off topic here.


Tilting at windmills with a false advertising lawsuit is an entirely different subject, and I already tried to give a BROAD hint to the OP that it wouldn't serve him well in a lemon case.
 

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False advertising can get you some money (Redbull, anyone?) but I wouldn't think it would apply in a lemon law case.

OP would be much better off getting a written trade-in quote from a dealer (maybe even non-Ford?) that says how the shifting characteristics it is exhibiting negatively affects the trade-in value - but that would probably seem fishy to the dealer? [scratch]
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
My state law says a nonconformity means a defect, a serious safety defect, or a condition, any of which substantially impairs the use, value, or safety of a new motor vehicle to the consumer or renders the new motor vehicle nonconforming to a warranty.

...

Ford's advertising doesn't even apply.
That's simply not correct sir. Notice the end of your definition of nonconformity, "nonconforming to a warranty." A warranty can be expressed by advertisement. That's just as valid as an implied warranty.

Ford choosing to advertise the Powershift DCT as being seamless is an expressed warranty. Therefore a Focus with a DCT that is exhibiting shifting issues that could be defined as not seamless by a reasonable person has a nonconformity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
OP would be much better off getting a written trade-in quote from a dealer (maybe even non-Ford?) that says how the shifting characteristics it is exhibiting negatively affects the trade-in value - but that would probably seem fishy to the dealer? [scratch]
Actually that is another thing I'm doing. It's fairly easy to show a material effect in value between a vehicle with no mechanical issues and one with mechanical issues on an online vehicle pricing site.
 

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That's simply not correct sir. Notice the end of your definition of nonconformity, "nonconforming to a warranty." A warranty can be expressed by advertisement. That's just as valid as an implied warranty.

Ford choosing to advertise the Powershift DCT as being seamless is an expressed warranty. Therefore a Focus with a DCT that is exhibiting shifting issues that could be defined as not seamless by a reasonable person has a nonconformity.
Not my definition, YOUR quote from the Georgia Lemon Law.


You're welcome to approach this any way you please, IMHO you'd be better served directing your arguments more closely to the Georgia law's requirements you quoted.

Arguing that hyperbole from advertising is an "expressed warranty" gets into an argument that's unlikely to be upheld at the hearing level you are dealing with.

If that is going to be the crux of your case, I think you're wasting your time.


Hopefully you will make a better argument by the time this comes to a hearing, I'm only trying to prod you into a more productive path for your case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Not my definition, YOUR quote from the Georgia Lemon Law.


You're welcome to approach this any way you please, IMHO you'd be better served directing your arguments more closely to the Georgia law's requirements you quoted.

Arguing that hyperbole from advertising is an "expressed warranty" gets into an argument that's unlikely to be upheld at the hearing level you are dealing with.

If that is going to be the crux of your case, I think you're wasting your time.


Hopefully you will make a better argument by the time this comes to a hearing, I'm only trying to prod you into a more productive path for your case.
It's just a minor point of my argument. Regardless the expressed warranty issue concerning seamless shifts is 100% valid. I'm looking directly at Georgia state law in every regards to my case. Georgia's Lemon Law defines warranty in Section 10-1-782.

(27) "Warranty" means any manufacturer's express warranty or any affirmation of fact or promise made by the manufacturer in connection with the sale of a new motor vehicle to a consumer concerning the vehicle's materials, workmanship, operation, or performance which becomes part of the basis of the bargain. The term shall not include any extended coverage purchased by the consumer as a separate item or any statements made by the dealer in connection with the sale of a motor vehicle to a consumer which relate to the nature of the material or workmanship and affirm or promise that such material or workmanship is free of defects or will meet a specified level of performance.
Here is Ford's promise of seamless transmission performance in their sales brochure for the 2012 Focus. So since the statement of question is in writing and part of official Ford advertisements. It's going to be brought forth as evidence that my car does not meet Ford's advertised warranty and that my car does contain a nonconformity (after 5 repair attempts no less) under Georgia's lemon law. This isn't my only evidence obviously but evidence nonetheless.

http://www.ford.com/services/assets/Brochure?make=Ford&model=Focus&year=2012&postalCode=55401 It's on page 11.

I appreciate the feedback and dialogue, I really do. Ford will be sending a dispute resolution specialist, so I've got to be on point. Arguing over these forums is very helpful to me.

Also, I received my Notice of Arbitration today. Date is set for December 2nd. I'm currently reading through the rules of the arbitration hearing and getting my discovery request in order.

Lastly, Ford has 20 days to reply to the state and myself with a written statement. The statement should contain their defense or else the arbitrator can refuse to consider any defense or issue not raised by Ford in a timely manner prior to the hearing.
 

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I hope any dialog here helps, I've seen some fail at the lemon law process elsewhere (no details, assume not adequately prepared) and I've seen unexpected testimony at a hearing (outright falsehood) come close to derailing a case (not lemon law).

Sounds like the GA process is set up to favor the petitioner, just remember that it's not a slam dunk. Even the written response terms mention that the arbitrator "can" refuse to consider, not "should" or "must".

Clear timeline on your facts and at least a couple separate arguments on why you should prevail will help. You don't want to be in the position of going in with a single line of argument that has no backup.

In your planning, consider worst case situations like "shudder" being thrown out as subjective when it doesn't reach a tested value (the rpm variation std. used for clutch replacement by Ford) and prepare a back up argument for that contingency.

There's a good chance you won't KNOW during the presentations what will be considered as adequate proof, so presenting multiple separate arguments may be the only way to get at least one into the record that could be upheld in your favor.

Like a Chess game where an obvious attack can easily be parried, a second or third avenue could be the successful one.

The point here is that the more items in the law's definition that you can cover with separate arguments the better the chance of winning the case.


You've got "defect, serious safety defect or condition" an the front side (three avenues) and they have to "seriously impair the use, value or safety" for any of those to be applicable. Address each individually with the best argument you can make.

"Or renders the vehicle non-conforming to a warranty" is a secondary avenue to use for any of the front three situations when you can't show how they "seriously impair the use, value or safety" of the vehicle.


Hopefully this helps, and shows why I put less emphasis on your "implied warranty" approach.
 

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We won our GA lemon law case.... more to come in another thread....

Well that deserves a congrats! So congrats. Link to other thread.

So do you meet with a ford representative now to make a deal or...??
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
So I finally received the manufacturer's response with their position today.

Let's just say I'm really looking forward to December 2nd and being able to present my case.

Also called my dealership today and scheduled service for most recent TSB DCT programming and PID test. The service writer told me Ford is backordered on clutches and he's already has several cars on the ground waiting for clutches.... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
The arbitration was conducted today. I'll get the findings in a few days.

The format was as advertised. Both parties have an intro statement, I present my case. Get asked questions by Ford. Ford presents their case and I got to asked questions. We conducted a test drive and had final statements.

As far as if I'll prevail or not. Honestly, I doubt it. Everything I present was factual and in line with justifying relief under Georgia state law. I demonstrated a valid case. It really boils down to whether or not the issues with the car are still present in the mind of the arbitrator. The car operates fine in this sub-70 weather and did so in during the test drive. I indicated that the car would do so and that my complaints were made exclusively in the July August and September. Not December. I was able to get Ford to acknowledge new seals and clutches were available but not inside my car. So who knows. At this point one part of me is simply happy I'm arriving at this point. The other part wants to second guess.

I'll update whenever I hear the final decision.
 

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Same here, took vehicle back for service end of December, said I needed the "new and improved clutch" will be the 2nd clutch installed. As of 2/6/15 Ford has only shipped 200 of these new clutches nationwide. HA HA, contacted lawyer on this in the past week. Said I have a case, but the first one says wants to go with the Magnusson-Moss through the federal trade commission. Not sure what is better, which way to fight it out.
 

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Same here, took vehicle back for service end of December, said I needed the "new and improved clutch" will be the 2nd clutch installed. As of 2/6/15 Ford has only shipped 200 of these new clutches nationwide. HA HA, contacted lawyer on this in the past week. Said I have a case, but the first one says wants to go with the Magnusson-Moss through the federal trade commission. Not sure what is better, which way to fight it out.
As of Feb 6th, 200? From what starting date? And how do you get access to FoMoCo parts division statistics?
 

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Good luck.
I filed under my state lemon law and Ford sent an engineer down and replaced the clutch which still didn't fix it. As unsafe as the car is (2014 Focus SE) and not getting resolution through Ford or the BBB, I traded it off at a substantial loss just to get rid of it. My husband refused to let me drive it anymore as he didn't want me dead. I now own a buick and am so happy I am driving a safe car again. I will never ever own a Ford again and will bad mouth them for the rest of my life for not taking these issues seriously!
 
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