In December 2019, Ford Motor Company issued a recall for 2006 through 2010 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln Zephyr and MKZ vehicles for brake problems. A defect with the ABS system can cause the brake pedal to go to the floor but Ford says the vehicles will still stop and can still be driven. Even though it claims that the brakes will continue to stop the car, Ford has reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at least 7 crashes related to this brake defect.
The parts for the recall were to have been available in late first quarter 2020 or the end of March 2020, but that did not happen. Car owners have been told that the parts to fix the brakes will not be available until at the earliest late September 2020. Ford is refusing to pay for rental vehicles when dealerships refuse to provide loaner vehicles. If an owner pays for the $1900 repair out of their own money, Ford will not consider reimbursement until the recall parts are available in September or later. $1900 is a costly car repair under any circumstances but is even more onerous with layoffs due to the pandemic.
Car owners should not be forced to continue to drive an unsafe vehicle and risk an accident if they can’t afford to pay for the repair out of pocket. There are several potential ways to address this under the law. The federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act requires that manufacturers fix a vehicle under recall within a reasonable time after the vehicle is presented after the date for repair in the recall notice. The Motor Vehicle Safety Act presumes that 60 days is a reasonable amount of time to repair after the date that parts were to be available. More than 60 days have passed since the recall parts here were supposed to have been available at the end of the first quarter 2020, so Ford is beyond the presumed reasonable time to repair for this recall.
Under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the manufacturer shall replace a vehicle with a reasonably equivalent vehicle or refund the purchase price less an allowance for depreciation if it fails to perform a recall repair in a reasonable amount of time. Ford has not made any offers to car owners to buy back vehicles. Violations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act are enforced only by the Department of Transportation and not by individual car owners directly, but violations can support a cause of action under other laws such as the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act.
Ford has misrepresented the seriousness of the brake problem by telling consumers in the recall notice that this defect does not result in a loss of braking function, but reporting separately to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that there have been at least 7 car crashes that appear to be related to this defect. Ford’s misrepresentation of the severity of the defect may also give rise to violations of state consumer laws like the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act or the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act.
If you have a 2006 through 2010 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan or Lincoln Zephyr or MKZ, contact your local dealership to find out if they will offer a loaner vehicle. If they refuse, contact Ford Motor Company to request a rental vehicle or a buy back. If Ford refuses to provide alternate transportation or buy back your car, consider contacting a consumer attorney regarding your potential rights. Roseman Law Firm represents consumers against automobile manufacturers and automobile dealerships in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan. Contact Roseman Law Firm at 800-745-5259 or [email protected].