By Terri Jo Neff |
While denying any wrongdoing, Ford Motor Company recently offered up more than $19 million to settle allegations brought by several states including Arizona that the company made false advertising claims about its C-MAX vehicles, model years 2011 to 2015.
But Ford Motor consumers who may have been misled by the advertising will not share in the payout. Instead, the money will be split among the attorney generals of 39 states and the District of Columbia.
Court documents filed in Maricopa County Superior Court show the portion allocated to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office is $884,364.40, of which $200,000 will be used for attorneys’ fees and costs. The other $684,364.40 will be deposited into Arizona’s Consumer Protection – Consumer Fraud Revolving Fund for use at the discretion of Attorney General Mark Brnovich as provided by law.
The Consent Judgment notes Ford specifically denies it has violated any federal or state laws. And nothing in the agreement precludes consumers from pursing claims against Ford on an individual or class action basis. However, such legal efforts would not be taken up by the State, according to the May 18 agreement approved by Brnovich.
“Only the Attorney General may seek enforcement of this Consent Judgment,” the document states. “Nothing herein is intended to create a private right of action by other parties; however, this Consent Judgment does not limit the rights of any private party to pursue any remedies allowed by law.”
In addition to the monetary payout, Ford agreed to be “enjoined, restrained, and prohibited” from making false or misleading advertising claims concerning the estimated Fuel Economy and Payload Capacity of any new motor vehicles.
The attorney generals of six states—Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont—were part of the executive committee which led the investigative action against Ford Motor Company’s C-MAX advertising.
The other attorney generals who will benefit are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.