Nov 28, 2020 @ 13:23

CA affirms Ford liability over missing features of Ranger 2.2 XLT AT unit

The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the order of Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez for Ford Group Philippines, Inc., to repair a Ford Ranger 2.2 XLT AT unit with missing seat belt lamp, belt minder and electronic stability program (ESP), as well as pay a P280,000 penalty.

In a recent 12-page decision, the CA 1st Division denied Ford Group’s petition challenging Lopez’s September 17, 2018 ruling that held it liable for deceptive sales practices under Section 50 of the Consumer Act of the Philippines and Department Administrative Order Number 6, series of 2007.

The sanctions arose from a complaint by Mary Ann Conchada regarding the vehicle she bought in September 2016 from Ford Makati. The company supposedly offered a P25,000 refund and the extension of the warranty, but Conchada demanded a replacement Ford Wild Truck 2.2 Automatic or the refund of the full purchase price.

Ford Group argued that it did not guarantee that the supposedly missing features would be found in the vehicle because the Ford Brochure and the Owner’s Manual both stated that features in the brochure “may not be available.” It also contended that Conchada took almost a year to question to the lack of these features.

The CA, however, deferred to the “special knowledge and expertise” of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) over these matters and said Lopez did not commit grave abuse of discretion.

It stressed that the failure to reveal facts that a seller is, in good faith, bound to disclose “may be generally classified as a deceptive act due to its inherent capacity to deceive.”

“Petitioner Ford had the duty to indicate clearly in the Ford Brochure and Owner’s Manual, that the features described therein, were mere add-ons and were not included upon purchase of a Ford vehicle,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Nina Antonio-Valenzuela.

The court said Ford Group’s offer of a P25,000 refund and an extended warranty was an acknowledgment that it was remiss in its duties to indicate the actual features in the brochure and the manual or provide these in the vehicle.

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