Louis-Phillip Edmonston, born in 1944, a native of Washington, D. C., trilingual (English, French and Spanish), and a graduate of Canal Zone College and Bowie State College (Maryland). He is married and has a son, Michel. He spent three years as a US Army infantry medic (1961-64) attached to the 508th Airborne Division in Panama — and one of the few Americans ever elected to the Canadian Parliament (C. D. Howe was the other American).
Phil is founder and past President for almost 20 years of the non-profit Automobile Protection Association (1968-1987), a former elected member of Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports) Board of Directors, and a colleague of Ralph Nader. He now resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida ([email protected]), where he writes his best-selling Lemon-Aid guides.
Consumer advocacy activities –
Phil has toured North America extensively as an expert pro-bono (asks no fees) witness before the courts and government committees. He castigated American automakers for not offering owners adequate quality and rust protection in their automobiles before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Technology in 1982. Shortly thereafter, he forced Ford to adopt a corrosion compensation warranty—the first automaker to do so. As President of the APA, Edmonston arbitrated thousands of consumer auto claims, negotiated many million dollar court settlements, and has won hundreds of lawsuits, including two victories before the Supreme Court of Canada against General Motors and Nissan (Kravitz and Pelletier).
His other accomplishments include:
In the early 70s, forced Nissan and Honda to improve the safety and durability of their vehicles. Previously, Nissan and Honda had launched several million dollar lawsuits against Edmonston after he called the 240Z a “Kamikaze car” and the early Civics “biodegradable rust buckets.” Both lawsuits were tossed out of court.
Successfully lobbied Ford, GM and Chrysler to set up special compensation programs up to seven years or 160,000 km (100,000 miles) to compensate owners with engine head gasket/intake manifold, automatic transmission, brake, and paint delamination complaints. These secret, and not-so-secret warranties are catalogued by service bulletins and dealer memos in the Lemon-Aid new and used car guides.
Securing free fixes for 1997-2004 Corvettes with locked steering assemblies.
Making VW/Audi fix for free over a half-million 2001-2003 model vehicles that would continually stall and not re-start due to faulty ignition coils.
Saw to the setup of “goodwill” 8-year+ warranty extensions to pay for Honda and Toyota engine and tranny failures.
Fought for the free repair or replacement of 1997-2001 Toyota/Lexus engines gummed up by oil sludge; lobbied Ottawa to make Toyota pay a $2 million settlement in 2003 over new vehicle price-rigging allegations related to its ACCESS program.
Made Hyundai and Kia admit they fibbed on horsepower ratings for all their 1996-2003 vehicles and lobbied them to give owners compensation up to $500.
Petitioned Shell Canada and GM to give compensation for automobile fuel pump and sensor repairs and out-of-pocket expenses related to Shell’s high-sulfur fuel and GM’s failure-prone fuel senders and fuel pumps. The Shell settlement can be found at http://www.shell.ca/code/help/faq/claim_form.pdf. Consumers have initiated class actions in Fort Lauderdale and in Quebec. Here is the GM fuel sender/pump bulletin found in Lemon-Aid.
:: Bulletin No: 01-06-04-008D::
In Quebec, successfully pushed for the strengthening of small claims courts, the setting up of the Consumer Protection Bureau, accompanied by effective, “seller beware” pro-consumer and class action legislation, and the adoption of partial no-fault auto insurance.
As a federal MP, lobbied for the setting up of Transport Canada’s website, the extension of class actions throughout Canada, and laws to protect whistleblowers.
Journalistic activities –
Mr. Edmonston is the author of 115 best-sellers dealing with consumer rights and the automobile industry. For almost 35 years, Phil has been an accomplished journalist. He has worked as a television consumer reporter, a syndicated newspaper columnist and three-year host of his own open-line show. He has been profiled in the Christian Science Monitor and Time magazine, and has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, The CBS Evening News and National Business Radio. Edmonston delights in telling radio and TV callers the present value of their vehicle, which secret warranties apply, and whether they should buy, sell, or hold onto their current vehicle.
For a lively interview or open-line discussion with the author, contact Phil at 954-941-4635, or [email protected] Call Karen McMullin at Penguin Books, 416-925-2249, for free promotional copies of Lemon-Aid and to be included in Phil’s schedule of interviews.