The stories that will be mentioned next are true…
Lemon-Aid readers themselves provided them.

Website Successes

If you or someone you know is knowledgeable enough to create a website of your own, you can use that site to catch the company’s attention. Since websites are public and viewable by anyone, this can put pressure on that company, and they may settle your claim.

Or the other way to go for it is to get as much information as possible if this matter goes to court or call you in for negotiations.

The reaction of each brand will not be the same. Let’s take Dunlin Donuts, for example. An unsatisfied user created a website to tell the world how disappointed he was because his coffee did not have real cream. He also got people to comment who had the same issues. Dunkin Donuts bought the entirety of the website from that person for an unrevealed amount of money.

In a different occurrence, Ford USA lost a court case to shut down www.blueovalnews.com. They filed a petition for an injunction so the responsible party would take down the website. The reason for that is that, somehow, they got hold of secret documents that stated the 1999 Mustang SVT Cobras had problems related to their exhaust system, which decreased their engine utilization.

The fault decreased the horsepower by up to 50, making it 270 than the advertised 320. Due to this leak, Ford had to call back more than 5000 vehicles to eliminate this issue. And, guess what…the website still works.

Safety Defects Get Resolved Through Websites As Well

An unfortunate couple named Debra and Edward Goldgehn had a 1985 Ford Ranger, which caught fire and burned completely. They suspected that it was a factory problem rather than their fault. And later, their suspicions were confirmed when a TV show reported many similar cases with other Ford vehicles. The Goldgehns published a Flaming Fords website, which had huge amounts of information on related fires, lawsuits, witnesses, and similar incidents from other countries.

Like in Canada, for example, Ford recalled many vehicles to fix this issue. Due to this website, Ford agreed to call back 8.7 million vehicles, making it the largest recall announced by one manufacturer. Ford did say that the website was not the decisive factor for them to recall the vehicles, but purely coincidental. Well, we all know what that means.

In another incident, Michael Hos, who owned an Acura, got fed up that the brand was not responding to his complaints. That led him to create a website called “Acura 1997 CL 3.0L: My Lemon” to collect other owners.” There were comments collected from other owners and the most reported issues in the vehicle. It took half a year, but Acura finally decided to settle with him. Hos responded to the matter,

“Hi there. Do you remember me? I am the one with the lemon 1997 Acura lemon. Fortunately, Acura decided to settle with me. I finally got my payoff of $4000 alongside all my court fees reimbursed back to me. I am so satisfied that I don’t have this vehicle anymore.

I am retracting all my statements and actions, which I did, as they finally listened. I am also disabling my “anti-Acura” website. I will be receiving my compensation check within a week, and I gave them back my CL two weeks prior. I just want to thank you for your help and support in this case and your will to go on. These last few months with this car were extremely poor, and I am glad Acura did what they did.”

In Another Post, He Also Said This:

“About my website, I think it played a big role in their early settlement. I put a tracker on it to show them how many people viewed the webpage. It is pretty easy to create and publish a webpage as I did. I had a webspace on my university’s machine, so I could use it for free. People who do not have room can plan to pay about $20 a month, or if they have their email addresses, they can also get it without any additional cost.

They can also hire a professional for their job, but that will be costly, around the $100 mark. Just make sure that it has a counter for anyone to view, so the brand can know how much traction the website is gaining.

I stated facts only on there. I did not express my own opinions, as it opened up the possibility of a slander suit. To gain more viewership, it had to be available on all major search engines.

Submitit.com offers such services for free. Atag will help you with that. Posting to newsgroups also is helpful. I also wrote to JD Power, NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and any other consumer-oriented agency I could think of.

The settlement contract did say that I had to take down my website before receiving my compensation. This shows how much effect and pressure a website can create on a brand. Or else they would have canceled the deal itself. I also would have put up the brand’s phone number so people with problems could contact them by their selves.

Everyone who visited my website stayed by my side and agreed that it was Acura’s fault and they had to reimburse me. Of course, some did not support my decision to pick a fight with Acura, but I did not pay any attention to them. I have about 200 e-mail responses that people have mailed to me over the last few months.

Another reason they decided to settle with me is the fact that I had a great attorney. He had filed seven charges against them in Superior Court. He also did not take anything until after the settlement. My bill for him is $1500, but that was paid by the brand too. Also, I’m only 23, so anyone can do this if they are persistent.

– Michael Hos

2000 Pontiac Sunfire Lease Buyback

“Okay, let me tell you a short story. I leased my car on the 30th of June 2020. It started to experience problems soon. The most annoying one was that when the car was started in the morning and put in the first gear, as soon as it traveled only a few feet, it would jerk as if I had taken my foot off the pedal entirely; in reality,,, it was still there. The same thing happened repeatedly and was so common that I was about to have four accidents due to this issue.

When I took my car to the dealership, they straight up declined and said they could not fix it. The sales manager gave me the same answer too. I took it back again, and this time they were able to recreate it on another Sunfire. But they did not know how to fix it. Again, I was sent home. I sent a letter to the dealership’s owner and the directors, and the GM Canada president. The customer service contacted me, and they just said that a fix would be available in a few days. At the same time, I am driving around in a completely unreliable vehicle.

Then the dealership called, and they said they fixed the problem in another vehicle, so I could bring mine too to get it fixed. I sent it for repair on Thursday; they gave it to me back on Friday, claiming it was fixed. Then on Saturday, I returned as the problem emerged once again. I spoke with a representative from the Atlantic service department the last time I went to the dealer to fix it up.

The head service person of Atlantic Canada took it for a test drive, and as usual, the car did not show a single problem. I did inform her that if the car did it again, I would bring it back. And it did, not once, but twice. I told her it was the last time I was bringing it back. I called her and said that I would just leave the car there. Finally, GM agreed to buy the car back from me.”

Goodwill Settlements

The accompanying stories are about those Lemon-Aid readers who were able to extract their rightfully deserved goodwill reimbursement without ever having to step in court.

Hi Phil:

“In the fall of 1998, you gave me some information about the transmission failure in my 94 Ford Taurus wagon. Although the warranty was finished, Ford Canada still agreed to pay half the amount of the replacement. The bill I received was still $1500, which was a lot considering my car was driven less than 60000kms. So, I sent Ford a letter, threatening them to take this case in a claims court. The forms have been on my desk for several months, but I never got around filing them.

Ford Canada contacted me recently and they wanted more information related to the case. They did tell me that they were checking out a few cases that you had put in motion. After some arguments, they agreed to pay another 25% of the full amount, which would cost me $750. I think it is a reasonable offer, as the court action will get delayed. I, again, thank you for all you helped me with.

M.S

Phil:

I have spent the last 48 hours at the Ford dealership. The president finally agreed to pay the full amount of the head gasket repair. You can check my email for all the details. They also provided me with a courtesy car until mine is in for repair.

They recalled it because of the subframe mounts rather than the engine mounts, which I had already repaired with my own money.

P.s: I wanted to thank you personally because you took an interest in my issue and took it up.

Dear Mr. Edmonston, I have emailed you regarding the 1993 Mercury Sable (3.8L), which went through head gasket repairs in the October of 1998. I received the dealer memo from you and contacted Ford Canada. As expected, they did not accept my claim that they do not support independent warranty diagnosis (because it was repaired from a third-party garage). So, I proceeded to file a case in the small claims court, according to your advice.

Within two days of filing it, their lawyer called and offered me $1500. My claim was for $1700.
Well, I accepted the offer. Thank you so much for your help and consideration. I am indebted to what you have done to help us, consumers. This difficult process of facing large companies would not be possible if not for your help. Your advice was extremely helpful.

Good Day Phil,

Thank you for all the information you sent me earlier in February related to my explorer and my argument with Ford Canada and Chomedey Ford about problems with the rear seat’s release latch mechanism. It was similar to all the information I had collected from the internet in the U.S.A. There was a related case in the March of 1998, and Ford agreed to pay for the repairs.

A few days later, I complained to them again in writing but mentioned a deadline for them to contact me back. I would also pay for the full repair myself and then take legal action in a claims court to get all my money back.

Well, it had only been a few days when a service operator from Ford Canada, from the extended warranty program, contacted me just to say that they were not changing their decision and would not fix my seat. I also did not move from my decision that the case will go to court.

I still waited that the ten-day deadline to expire in case they would contact me again.

One day before the deadline, a service manager called me and informed me that:

  • • They had checked my loyalty and record
  • • They shared the matter with their legal team
  • • They had rechecked the interpretation of the warranty’s non-covered repairs, which they stated were confusing
  • • They had concluded that they would share the repair, in parts and labor, both, in good faith

The repair was performed after 14 days, and it cost me nothing.
To whom it may concern:

My father is an owner of a 93 Chrysler Dynasty. This week Chrysler agreed to replace the transmission fluid and the transmission controller at their own expense. The repair was estimated to be $395.95 for the parts and an additional $217.50 for the labor. My father bought it used a year ago with around 61000 km on it.

The warranty had finished, so he bought an extended warranty from GE Capital. But, for the repair, the warranty company refused to pay for it. Thanks to the radio program in Calgary, my brother got hold of the phone number of Bob Renaud at Chrysler. And I was finally able to contact them.

The conversation resulted in them taking note of the case and then finally agreeing to repair the problem without additional cost. I would like to appreciate the fact that Chrysler maintains their products, and your company helps make us aware of such chances to hold brands accountable for their products.

Dear Phil:

I did hear about you on CBC during a call-in show a few weeks back. I was deeply interested in what you said about Chrysler’s change of heart re transmission warranty. My 92 Grand Voyager also faced many problems, mainly due to tranny failures which causes stalling.

I had three transmission failures and many incidents in which the vehicles stalled. I also faced two liftgate prop failures. I was about to send all of the history to you but held back because I wanted to give CC a chance to refuse first. I decided not to call CC because of their reputation of warranty claims after they expire. The local dealer would not even budge.

Recently, I received a recall on the liftgate prop with a number of the customer service phone number. I did inquire that if they were being recalled, why were they not being addressed under warranty. I replaced both of them by myself. They asked me to submit all my invoices.

While submitting the initial invoices, I did ask them about the invoices for other problems. I received a cheque within a few days, along with a request to submit other invoices too. This was written to me by Mr. D. Kenny, who was the manager of the customer service.

So, I did exactly that on the 2nd of February 1998. I was surprised, to be honest, to receive a call from them within a week and during work hours. He went out of his comfort zone and requirements to get my business phone number. He was a friendly person and explained that there were limits to any reimbursement, but it would be better to talk about it personally. He showed his apology and was genuinely concerned. The invoices crossed $5000.

The cheque I received was for $3500, and I was honestly surprised at the speed and honesty it took to settle my case. Mr. Kenny stated that he hoped the compensation was a show of the brand’s commitment to quality and customer service. Recently, I purchased my fourth Voyager, after my 87, 89, and 92. The current one is of 1995. All of them were purchased as used vehicles, but by faith in Chrysler’s customer support is now back, thanks to your efforts and services.

Small Claims Court Winner

In the “In the courts” section of this website, some very interesting judgments related to peeling paint issues made sure to back GM up in a corner. Now let’s see what real trials look like. They are explained by people like yourself, who have never even been to court in their lives. The narrative below proves that the law does not always favor the righteous, but you still have a decent chance of winning at a claims court.

Hey Phil:

Well, I went to court, and as I was giving my testimony, the judge started laughing. Not at me, but the prosecutor. Ford was, without a doubt, guilty as hell, in his opinion. I earned $1,825.00 to get my 1988 Ford Ranger repainted.

Mr. Edmonston,

I was recently reading an article called Lemon-Aid/ Paint on www.ihs2000.com/peel/paint-Internet.htm. It was one you wrote, and it gives a clear outline of the measures buyers should take to request financial aid from automakers for paint peel issues.

The article mentioned (on page 7) a Part Three that addressed “Hidden Warranties/Service Tips/ DSBs,” a table on page 35 that discussed Ford’s internal distributor bulletins, and an Appendix II that included addresses and other details relevant to purchasing DSBs. None of these items could be found on the website.

Could you please guide me as to where I can find this article and all references as they are? Did you write a book, or did you publish it somewhere? I have a court date where I am going to sue Ford and want some information.

Phil:

I am not sure if you remember me, but I am Byron Williams in Nanaimo, BC, Can. I got into contact with you some time ago looking for some information on GM’s paint issues. This was for the small claims case against GM Canada. Your bulletins helped my case.

So, I thought you would be interested in how the situation panned out. GM offered a settlement of paying 50% of the repainting cost, only if we agreed to repair it ourselves and if we agreed to sign a non-disclosure agreement. They also offered me another option that I could take a $1500 credit for a new vehicle.

I showed my disappointment and told them I expected full coverage of the cost covered by them. I also told them that the second option was useless as I will not buy a GM vehicle again, along with the statement that they do not produce Japanese cars, so no credit would be enough. After that, GM decided that the case would go to court.

The trial began on October 7th of 1997, and it went for 3.5 hours. I had no issue in proving a factory fault and also proved that I had gone through all measures to get them to settle. But, they hid behind technicalities to refuse my claim. As expected, they objected to everything, but they were overruled.

They produced a witness who, according to them, was an expert. But he was not an expert when he was cross-examined.

The bottom line is that the Judge ruled in our favor on January 6th, 1998, as follows: When we started complaining in September 1994, the car was around six years old. In August 1995, we got an offer from a GM dealership. The Judge ruled in our favor and settled based on that original quote.

He paid the original quote less than $300.00 for his damage (I want to include that the quote did not include that damage which was below the side moldings). He then subtracted 25% for improvement (an existing car with a new paint job is preferable to an old car with an old paint job) and then applied interest from August 1995 to January 1998.

The $300 was the least of our worries. We were just pleased that we won the case. I will fax you a copy of the judgment, so it can be used in the future to help others. GM accepted responsibility only when the judge forced them to. They wasted too much time and effort to plead their case when they were guilty. They did not even talk to us until they received an order from the court and paid at the deadline’s very last date.

Ford GM Was Cited For Mental Distress

In recent years, Canadian courts have been more generous in awarding money to the plaintiffs for the mental distress that they go through such issues.

In Sharman v. Formula Ford Sales Limited, Ford Credit Limited, and Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, No: 17419/02SR, 2003/10/07, Justice Shepard awarded the owner of a 2000 Windstar $7,500 for mental distress resulting from the breach of the implied warranty of fitness, plus $7,207 for breach of contract and breach of warranty.

The sliding door wasn’t secure and did not have air and water protection, even after many attempts to repair it. So the judge cited the Wharton decision to award cite the manufacturer for causing mental distress.

The plaintiff and the family had undergone three years of inconvenience, worry, and concern about their safety. Our contract law did not allow compensation for mental distress, but that may be altered. I am in debt to the counsel for winning the case and getting the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s decision in Wharton v. Tom Harris Chevrolet Oldsmobile Cadillac Ltd., [2002] B.C.J. No. 233, 2002 BCCA 78. This decision was recently followed in T’avra v. Victoria Ford Alliance Ltd., [2003] B, CJ No. 1957.

In Wharton, a Cadillac Eldorado owner wanted damages against a dealer because his car emitted a buzzing sound. The dealer had to repair the vehicle much time over 2.5 years. The plaintiff was awarded $2257.17 in damages for not fulfilling the sound system’s warranty and $5000 for not getting the enjoyment from the luxury vehicle they deserved. The total amount added up to be $7257.17.

These two cases cover all of Canada and the fact that the largest automakers can be pushed to give you more than a few grains of sand. The latest Lemon-Aid also features several court decisions that got owners large sums of damages due to Ford and GM’s engine gasket problems.