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Ford Escape

Car owner claimed steering problem was not resolved

Settlement:   S21,906.00
Case Type:   Lemon Law, Motor Vehicle - Lemon Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution - Arbitration
Case:   William G. Chelius v. Ford Motor Company, No. 35117
Venue:   Education & Assistance Corp., Smithtown, NY
Date:   Thursday, December 07, 2006
Plaintiff Attorney(s):   Anthony T. Ballato: Massapequa, NY, for William G. Chelius
Defendant Attorney(s):   Amy Green; Zone Manager, Ford Motor Co., Ford Customer Service Division; Mahwah, NJ, for Ford Motor Co. / Nick Savino; Service Director, Able Ford: Rockville Centre, NY, for Ford Motor Co.
Facts:   In January 2005, claimant William Chelius purchased a new 2005 Ford Escape. The $24,001 purchase price included a standard manufacturer's warranty. Chelius claimed that the vehicle subsequently experienced functional problems that began two months after he purchased the car. He contended that the problems Included vibration and shaking of the steering column, and he claimed that the defects compromised the vehicle's safety. During the ensuing 13 months, the steering problems required six separate adjustments and/or repair attempts. As a result of that work. the vehicle accumulated more than 36 days of repair-shop time. Chelius claimed that the problems were never resolved. He attempted to return the vehicle, but it was refused by the dealership, Able Ford, and the manufacturer, Ford Motor Co. Chelius sought recovery via application of the New Car Lemon Law, General Business Law article 11-A, § 198-a. The matter proceeded to an arbitration hearing, which was conducted at Education and Assistance Corp.'s Community Mediation Center, in Smithtown. Chelius' counsel claimed that the vehicle's poor condition constituted a violation of the Lemon Law, which specifies that a vehicle's first 24 months and/or 18,000 miles should not include more than four repair attempts and/or 30 days of repair-shop time. Ford Motor's counsel contended that the vehicle underwent several repairs that included replacing and balancing of the tires and replacement of the vehicle 's rear axle.
Injury:   Chellus claimed that his vehicle experienced functional problems that included vibrations and shaking of its steering column. He contended that the defects compromised the vehicle's safety. He sought recovery of S24.001, which represented the vehicle's full purchase price, less $2,430 of depreciation, which was based on 6.225 miles of usage over the first 12.000 miles of free use under the statute. He also sought recovery of the arbitration's $250 filing fee and the vehicle's registration and inspection fees which totaled $585. Ford Motor contended that the vehicle's defects did not constitute a substantial impairment and that, therefore, Chelius was not entitled to a full refund.
Verdict:   Arbitrator Gerald Love rendered a claimant's decision. Chelius was awarded a total of $21,906. The award consisted of the $24,001 vehicle's full replacement cost, the arbitration's $250 filing fee, and the vehicle's $85 registration and inspection fees, less a $2,430 mileage depreciation. Editor's Comments: This report is based on information that was provided by claimant's counsel. The defense's representatives did not respond to the reporter's phone calls.

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