After several years, a settlement has been reached between Ford Motor Company and Ford customers whose Fiesta and Focus models suffered from transmission problems. Consumer complaints first emerged from drivers of the 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta and the 2012-2016 Ford Focus who were struggling with defective PowerShift transmissions since first purchasing or leasing the vehicle. These transmissions were reported to suddenly jerk, lunge, stall, or otherwise fail, leading to multiple repair attempts with no true or lasting solution. As the terms of the settlement are revealed, consumers are voicing their relief that they are finally receiving some compensation for the headaches they’ve endured.
A Lengthy Legal Journey
Back in 2017, the plaintiffs and Ford had agreed to a settlement, and a federal judge had signed off on it. However, many of the customers began to voice their complaints about the settlement, arguing that the affected consumers were not receiving fair compensation. Instead, it seemed that attorneys for the plaintiffs were benefiting the most, as they stood to receive almost $9 million in attorneys’ fees. These objectors took their case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where the judges found in favor of these objectors, stating that the millions of dollars in attorneys’ fees was indeed “disproportionate to the class recovery,” and they voted to “vacate final settlement approval and remand so that the district court may conduct a more searching inquiry.”
Once the case was shifted back to the district court, both sides had the chance to make their arguments. Now, a new settlement has been reached, and it is awaiting final approval from the judge.
Examining the New Settlement Terms
The new settlement terms state that those Ford customers who made three or more qualified visits to Ford dealerships in search of a transmission repair will receive cash payments. For a customer who made three visits, $200 will be paid in compensation. Subsequent visits qualify for more compensation, with $2,325 being the maximum amount a consumer can receive. In lieu of receiving a cash payment, Ford is also offering consumers the option of receiving a Ford certificate valued at double the amount of the cash payment. For consumers who do not qualify for cash payments, or who didn’t make three or more visits to the dealership, there may be opportunities to receive transmission control module updates.
Additionally, any Focus or Fiesta customer who meets state lemon law requirements may be able to have Ford repurchase the car and receive a refund. If you have questions about your rights as a consumer in California, or you need help pursuing a lemon law claim in the Bay Area, reach out to Lemon Law Partners, LLP by calling (510) 944-0336 today.