It all started in January of this year with Heather Peters rejecting Honda’s class-action settlement to give Civic owners disgruntled over poor fuel economy $100-200 and a rebate on the purchase of a new Honda. Little did either of them know it would go as far as it has. In the latest chapter, hearings began this week with Honda appealing a small-claims court award of almost $10,000 to Peters.
But Peters then took the action of taking her case to small claims court. In February, she was awarded $9867. Peters has since encouraged other owners to take the small-claims route, and 1700 owners have opted out of the class-action settlement to pursue that strategy.
Facing a potential avalanche of small-claims suits with awards up to the $10,000 maximum allowed in small claims courts, Honda has filed an appeal to Peters’ award.
During the course of a hearing this week, Peters’ past vehicles were brought up as potential evidence that the shortfall in fuel economy might be due more to the driver’s habits than a problem with the vehicle itself. Peters’ last three vehicles have been two BMW Z3 roadsters, an X5, and a Mazda RX-8, none of which are particularly known for their frugality. She also had the audacity in the course of questioning to call her Civic Hybrid “the least attractive, least sporty car I’ve ever purchased,” in front of Judge Dudley Gray and Honda’s attorneys.
The hearing is scheduled to re-convene this coming Thursday, and will likely be watched closely by other automakers that have come under criticism and scrutiny from advocacy groups for their vehicles not meeting economy claims.
Per small-claims rules, the ruling for this case will be final, and further appeals will not be possible.