Monday

Ford loses $2 Billion Judgment - sued by its dealers

Ford, which argues long and hard over having to buy back a lemon car, and then nickels and dimes its customers over every penning of the refund, just lost big time in a case where it was sued by a group of its dealers.

A $2 Billion judgment was just granted against Ford Motor Company in a class action case filed by a group of their truck dealers who found out that Ford was cheating them on truck prices.

And the Ford dealers, who have long said that they need a mandatory arbitration in their consumer contracts so that consumers can't sue them (the dealers), have a special law that allows them to sue manufacturers like Ford and it is illegal for manufacturers to put binding arbitration in their dealer contracts. But you? The dealer would just as soon stick it to you, folks.

$2 Billion. Well, folks, now you know what a binding arbitration clause is worth. It's what keeps a consumer from being able to do anything about it when a car dealer rips them off. But Ford couldn't use a binding arbitration clause to keep from getting sued when they ripped off their dealers - so the dealers were able to go to court and prove their case and win.

But you? Car dealers don't want you to get into the court house door and they will do anything to stop you - including slipping into your contract paperwork a binding arbitration clause.

So what can you do when a car dealer tries to slip an arbitration clause into your deal? Don't sign it. Take that ink pen and put a great big "X" over it.

How bad and one-sided is binding arbitration?

Well, if you sign the paperwork to buy the car and it's in there, and on your way out to the car to drive home, the salesman comes out after you with a baseball bat and beats you up - you can't take them to court. The public won't find out about it because arbitration is a secret non-public process where the company that the car dealer hired (and pays regularly for its arbitration "decision") will have you come in and tell your side of the story and then they will listen to the car dealer and its people tell their side. Then it will make a decision on what they think should happen and mail it to you later.

All of your legal rights will be decided quietly and privately by an "arbitrator" who gets paid by the dealer to make the decision on what the dealer should have to do for you. Who's side do you think the arbitrator will be on when you say that the sales person lied to you?

It's why we say arbitration sucks and you can find out more at www.ArbitrationSucks.com. You can change it by writing or calling your US representative and telling them that you want them to support Frankel's bill to ban arbitration, called the Arbitration Fairness Act.

You shouldn't have to give up your right to protect yourself - just to buy a car to get to work.