She’s had it with Honda, and Heather Peters, a former lawyer, hopes her unusual legal approach will garner as much as 10 times the cash reward and potentially serious consequences for the company if others follow her lead.
Peters, unlike the hundreds of Civic Hybrid owners who joined class action suits, decided to take Honda to small claims court over her 2006 Civic Hybrid achieving sub-par mileage. The car is said to get 50 mpg, but according to Peters, her car never came close and only managed 30 mpg as the battery wore.
Her choice seemed more attractive after finding out that people taking part in the suit would probably only receive about $200 cash and a $750 to $1000 rebate incentive to buy a new Honda. She aims to be awarded the maximum $10,000 allowed as of 2012 in California small claims court.
While taking the Japanese car giant to court might seem sort of senile, Peters is far from crazy. The first fist in her corner is that she has a legal background, so she will be able to prepare a case better than your average Honda customer. Second, California small claims court doesn’t allow lawyers, so Honda will have to keep their legal crack shots at home. Third, as Richard Cupp Jr., who teaches product liability law at Pepperdine University, told the associated press, “the judge will have a lot of discretion and the evidentiary standards are relaxed in small claims court.”
It’s true that most people probably won’t have the time, education, or energy to take Peters’ path against Honda. If she succeeds and others choose to take similar action, she estimates that it could cost Honda as much as $2 billion. For now, she’s launched a site to promote her cause: DontSettleWithHona.org.
As for her future car plans, she is willing to trade her Civic for a comparable car with a manual transmission because it’s all she trusts anymore.