Ford Settles Rollover Suit With Gift Vouchers
Now that's what I call a marketing! The Associated Press reports that Ford has settled a four-state class action lawsuit regarding the rollover dangers inherent in Ford Explorers sold from 1991 to 2001. As part of the deal, Ford has agreed to provide plaintiffs with a $300 voucher that can be applied to the purchase of any Ford, Lincoln or Mercury product; or a $500 voucher for a new Explorer. (Needless to say, the vouchers are transferable to anyone living in the same state as the plaintiff.) The settlement also requires Ford to distribute information about SUV rollover dangers and to limit safety claims in its advertising (our SUVs are safe-ish?). Safety campaigners are spinning the deal as a major win for consumer rights, albeit in their own special way. "The $300 or $500 vouchers should be enough to cover the cost of optional electronic stability control systems on new vehicles," pronounced consumer advocate Rosemary Shahan of California-based Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, blissfully unaware that Ford's stability control system is now standard on the Ford Explorer, SportTrac, Expedition, Edge, Escape; the Mercury Mountaineer and Mariner; and the Lincoln Navigator and MKX.
Sajeev: Let's say, $10/tire x 4 tires, x 400,000+ vehicles x 5 years (2nd gen Explorer until problem publicized) = at least $80 million. This was, of course, completely wiped out after the turn of events that followed.
EEGeek beat me to it. The lawyers won. More proof (as if we needed it) that class action suits are nothing but extortion on the part of class action attorneys and that the plaintiffs (on whose behalf the whole action supposedly exists) typically get little or nothing from the deal. Think about it: How often do you get one of those little cards in the mail telling you you are part of a class action settlement involving some product you purchased in the past? Invariably the only "settlement" you will get is a voucher giving you a few bucks off the purchase of another product by the same company, meanwhile the lawyers walk away with millions. I probably get one of those cards/letters every couple of months. They usually go straight into the trash.