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Bubbling Blistering Paint Causes Trouble for Ford

Jan 2, 2019

Do car owners have a remedy for a “sham” warranty?

Can you really say with confidence that a vehicle is “Built Ford Proud” if premature corrosion causes unsightly bubbling and blistering paint problems and the so-called “fix” allegedly knowingly masks the defect instead of repairing it? Well, Ford defects attorneys and their complaining Ford owners likely don’t think so.

After Ford started using aluminum panels instead of steel ones in certain vehicle models, the automaker began receiving complaints of corrosion and paint problems from owners of 2000 Expeditions, 2002 Explorers and 2005 Mustangs. The issue has sparked questions of breach of warranty and accusations that the automaker has offered a “sham” warranty that doesn’t solve the problem.

Upon internal investigation, the automaker reportedly issued the first of what would be several technical service bulletins (TSBs) over more than a decade in December, 2004 acknowledging that the bubbling and blistering paint is “due to iron contamination of the aluminum panel—[and] that the aluminum corrosion was caused by iron particles working their way into the aluminum body part, prior to it being painted”.

According to the proposed class-action lawsuit and/or buyers’ complaints, Ford allegedly:

  • ordered “sanding and painting” knowing it would only mask but not repair the defect
  • knew that replacing with identical aluminum panels would not fix the problem
  • knew that aluminum panels do not perforate despite corrosion
  • replaced its prior “non-perforation” corrosion warranty with a useless warranty that only covered corrosion damage if “perforation” was found
  • failed to disclose the problem to buyers

The lawsuit alleges that Ford knew the sham warranty was useless, concealed it, and then denied warranty coverage. In addition, it claims the problem has negatively impacted the resell value of the affected vehicles.

Fortunately for consumers, there are legal remedies for cases where manufacturers make an express warranty or promise about their products or their commitment to remedy defects in their products.

In addition, consumer protection laws exist to help car buyers and lessees who have been victims of dealer fraud. Dealer fraud can take many forms and can be found in advertising, price and financing negotiations, and a broader range of car misrepresentations.

If you feel you have been the victim of dealer fraud or that you may have a breach of warranty claim, the attorneys at Timothy Abeel & Associates can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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