As early as 2011, Ford Motor Company began to receive complaints that the transmissions on the newly released Ford Fiesta and Focus were defective. Owners complained that the Ford Focus (2012-2018) and Fiesta (2011-2019) equipped with the Ford DPS6 PowerShift semi-automatic dual-transmissions were subject to extreme transmission shuddering. Their vehicles would hesitate and jerk when accelerating, make loud grinding noises, stall and lose power on the road, and even fail to start.
Disgruntled owners and lessees have already filed thousands of lemon law cases against Ford and their dealerships and a class action was filed.
On October 18, 2017, the class action settlement in Vargas v. Ford Motor Company, United States District Court, Central District of California, Case No.: CV12-08388 AB received final approval. The settlement was objected to and appealed and on September 13, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal found that the trial court did not undertake the comprehensive review of the settlement required and vacated the settlement. Changes were made to the settlement and the majority of the objectors withdrew their objections. The trial court again approved the settlement on March 5, 2020.
The Vargas settlement may have a major impact on your ability to pursue lemon law claims. The follow are some answers to some frequently asked questions.
Who is Covered by the Transmission Settlement?
The class action and settlement only apply to the 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta and 2012-2016 Ford Focus. Ford continued to sell the Ford Focus through 2018 and the Ford Fiesta through 2019. The class action settlement does not apply to the 2017 or 2018 Ford Focus or the 2017, 2018, or 2019 Ford Fiesta.
If you have a 2016-2018 Ford Focus or 2016-2019 Ford Fiesta and have experienced shuddering, jerking, stalling, or other transmission lemon law issues, the Vargas settlement does not apply to you and you can pursue lemon law claims without restriction. Contact the experienced attorneys at Conn Law, PC today at 415-417-2780 or online today for a free consultation.
In addition, if you opted out of the Vargas settlement, you are excluded from the class action and may be able to sue Ford for your lemon law claims.
What if the transmission caused me to be involved in an accident?
If you are a class member and believe that your transmission in your Ford Focus or Ford Fiesta actually caused or contributed to an accident, you can still bring claims for personal injury or property damage. The Vargas settlement does not release claims involving personal injury.
Can I Still Bring a Lemon Law Case Against Ford?
By not opting out of the PowerShift Transmission Settlement, the class members have agreed to give up their right to sue Ford for claims based on problems with the PowerShift Transmission.
However, class members still have some rights and under certain circumstances can still ask for a vehicle repurchase
How Do I Get Ford to Repurchase My Car?
If your 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta or 2012-2016 Ford Focus is still experiencing transmission issues, you may be able to get Ford to buy it back. While you cannot bring a lemon law claim in court, the PowerShift Transmission Settlement created an Arbitration Program for class members to use instead of going to Court. And in California, the Arbitrator can still award civil penalties.
Class members have until the later of either October 5, 2020 or six years from the date of delivery of the vehicle to submit a request to arbitrate. If you have an earlier model vehicle (2011-2015), October 5, 2020 might be your deadline.
If you are interested in pursuing a claim in arbitration against Ford, contact Conn Law, PC today at 415-417-2780.
Do I Get Money Under the Settlement?
Even if you do not want your vehicle bought back, you may be able to obtain compensation under the settlement. How much you can get depends on the number of times you brought your car into the car dealer for service specifically regarding your transmission within the first seven years following your purchase, or first 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Some payments will range $200 (for each visit of three visits or less) up to $2,325 if you visited eight or more times.
If you did not receive any new transmission parts but received some sort of software or computer update more than three times you may be entitled to $50-$600. Other owners who incurred hardware and software replacements may potentially get even higher settlements.
Even if these services were performed for free because they were under warranty, you are still eligible for a payout amount. However, if you visited a third-party mechanic, you may not be eligible for this settlement offer. Even if you no longer own the car, you still have a right to qualify for this transmission settlement. There are some options for you to receive double the cash amount if you are interested in purchasing a new Ford vehicle and applying a discount certificate.
How do I get my transmission settlement amount?
You will need to provide to the court receipts or other invoices showing the date and work done on your vehicle. You will need to also provide proof of ownership along with a sworn written statement verifying the documents you are submitting. You have until October 3, 2020, to complete the paperwork for the transmission settlement for any service visits regarding your car’s transmission made prior to April 6, 2020.
Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
If you think that your Ford Focus or Ford Fiesta is covered in this transmission settlement, you may have the right to pursue compensation. Contact the experienced attorneys at Conn Law, PC at 415-417-2780 or online for a free consultation.