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Judge Sides With Honda in Small Claims Verdict Appeal

Court says Honda justified using optimistic EPA numbers.

by on May.09, 2012

Heather Peters with her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid. A Superior Court overturned her small claims victory.

A California Superior Court Judge has reversed the high-profile verdict in a small claims case filed by a woman who claimed her Honda Civic Hybrid delivered significantly worse than the maker’s advertising claimed it would.

The original case, filed by Heather Peters, won a judgment of nearly $10,000 to cover her increased fuel bills and reduced trade-in value. Peters had decided to fight Honda on her own in Small Claims Court rather than participating in a class action settlement she argued would not adequately compensate owners of 2006 to 2008 Civic Hybrids.

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“We are never satisfied when a customer is anything less than satisfied with one of our products, and the company does not relish the necessity to defend the truth in opposition to any of our customers,” said a statement from American Honda Motor Co.

But the maker also said it “is pleased with the Court’s decision which affirms that Honda was truthful in its advertising of the fuel economy potential of the 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid. We are thankful for the support we received from the many satisfied Civic Hybrid owners who expressed their support throughout the legal process.”

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California Woman Aims to Sink Honda Class Action Settlement

Heather Peters fought and won in small claims court.

by on Mar.16, 2012

Heather Peters with her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid prior to last month's small claims trial..

After taking on Honda and winning a judgment over the inflated mileage claims for her Honda Civic Hybrid, a Southern California woman now hopes to derail a class action suit that would provide other owners just a fraction of the compensation she was awarded in small claims court.

Honda has been under fire for advertising significantly better fuel economy than it allegedly knew motorists would get with the Civic Hybrid sold between 2003 and 2009.  A proposed settlement covering 200,000 owners is now waiting for a final decision by Superior Court Judge Timothy Peters.  Until recently, it appeared likely the agreement would be accepted, but Peters shook things up last month when she decided to go it alone using the small claims process.

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The former corporate attorney – one of 1,700 Honda hybrid who opted out of the class action process — was awarded $9,867.  By comparison, the proposed settlement would provide owners $100 to $200 and a coupon good for a discount if they returned to buy another Honda.

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