Heather Peters was successful in her small claims case against Honda, in which she alleged that the car wasn't getting anywhere near the 50 MPG she says the company advertised her car would get. Although Honda only has to pay her $9,687 for this particular ruling, Peters has essentially laid the groundwork for other owners to make similar claims that could ultimately cost the company an enormous amount of money.
When Civic Hybrid owners realized that they weren't getting the promised fuel economy they started a class action lawsuit that Honda eventually settled for what came out to be about $100 per owner plus rebates. Peters refused the settlement and instead filed a claim in Los Angeles County Small Claims Court.
She also launched the website DontSettleWithHonda.org, which shows owners how to opt-out of the settlement and file a claim in small claims court. Unlike a class-action lawsuit, small claims court usually allows an individual to file a complaint without having to hire an attorney. In the case of L.A. County, for instance, even Honda wasn't allowed to use a lawyer in court.
"I am absolutely thrilled at the reports that I won, even though I won't see the actual judgment until it comes in the mail," Peters said in a statement to Jalopnik. "It's a victory for Civic Hybrid owners everywhere! Sometimes big justice comes in small packages."
Peters was just shy of the $10,000 maximum award, which should give the people at Honda a lot to worry about if people heed her advice.
Honda spokespeople, in response, said in a statement today that "we disagree with the judgment rendered in this case, and we plan to appeal the decision."
Photo Credit: AP