Don’t Go Through the Better Business Bureau
Ford’s warranty claims that consumers are unable to file a Lemon Law claim unless they go through Ford’s Better Business Bureau or “BBB” program. What Ford does not say in its warranty is that in West Virginia, you are not required to go through BBB, and even if you win your case at BBB against Ford, you will still get a bad deal.
The West Virginia Lemon Law states that if a car manufacturer has a qualified third party dispute resolution program, then a consumer cannot file a Lemon Law claim in court until they have gone through the dispute resolution program. Ford uses the BBB as its third party dispute resolution program for warranty and Lemon Law claims. The catch is that a manufacturer can only prevent consumers from asserting a claim under the West Virginia Lemon Law if the dispute resolution program is qualified. It is up to the West Virginia Attorney general’s Office to determine whether a dispute resolution program is qualified. Up to now, the Attorney General’s Office has not determined that ANY dispute resolution program is qualified, not even the BBB. Because Ford’s BBB program has not been qualified by the Attorney General’s Office, Ford can’t make you participate in the BBB program and can’t dismiss your Lemon Law claim just because you did not go through the BBB. Regardless of what the warranty says, consumers are not required to go through Ford’s BBB program in West Virginia to file a lawsuit for Lemon Law claims.
Even though participation in the Ford BBB program is optional and not mandatory in West Virginia, some consumers still submit their claims against Ford to the BBB program anyway. This is a bad idea because even if a consumer wins against Ford in BBB, they will end up with less than what they are entitled to under the law. With a repurchase under the West Virginia Lemon Law, a consumer can receive a refund of their purchase price as well as expenses related to the purchase, including taxes, registration and interest charges. Ford has written the rules for BBB in West Virginia so that consumers cannot get interest charges refunded on a repurchase. Even worse, Ford charges a substantial deduction for mileage on all BBB repurchases, even though there is no mileage deduction in the West Virginia Lemon Law. A consumer ends up with thousands of dollars less from a repurchase from Ford at BBB than if they had filed suit under the West Virginia Lemon Law.
It simply makes no sense to submit a claim against Ford to BBB in West Virginia when it is not a requirement under the law and even a win will still give car owners far less than what they are entitled to under the West Virginia Lemon Law. The bottom line is that consumers should not submit their cases to BBB against Ford in West Virginia.
This only applies to Ford. Most other manufacturers do not deduct mileage and will reimburse interest payments for awards through BBB under the West Virginia Lemon Law, but there is still no requirement to submit to BBB in West Virginia for any manufacturer.
If you think you might have a Lemon under the West Virginia Lemon Law, don’t go up against the car companies on your own. Get free help to make it a fair fight. Contact Attorney Christina Gill Roseman at 800-745-5259 to find out your rights for free.