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A disgruntled Honda Civic owner is hoping her small claims complaint against the automaker will be a big win for customers frustrated with the hybrid model's mileage performance, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
After opting out of several class action lawsuits accusing the company of misrepresenting the Civic Hybrid's fuel efficiency, Heather Peters chose to pursue a potentially bigger settlement from American Honda Motor Co. Inc. in a Torrence, Calif., small claims court, according to a press release she issued Dec. 28 urging other customers to file similar claims.
In her suit, Ms. Peters claims her 2006 car was never capable of achieving the 50 miles per gallon that Honda advertised—it struggled to reach 30 miles per gallon as the battery wore down, according to her website.
Ms. Peters is seeking damages for the extra gas she was forced to buy up to $10,000, the California state maximum for small claims settlements.
If she is successful, Ms. Peters said she hopes other customers will file small claims cases, instead of accepting class action settlements as low as $200. In her statement, she said the absence of attorney participation would help level the playing field.
“Class actions are great for little cases, but not for cases like this where Honda's false advertising is costing already cash-strapped families more every day at the gas pump,” Ms. Peters said. “It's time for Honda to go one on one with its customers where they can't hide behind high-priced lawyers. I want people to know that small claims court is not so scary, it's a lot like Judge Judy.”
Ms. Peters' trial is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.