Jon Perz, the disgruntled Mossy Toyota customer who has become an outspoken critic of private arbitration as a means of settling consumer complaints, has taken his feud with the car dealership to a new level.
Perz and the activist group Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety had a billboard erected Monday morning on Mossy’s own used car lot.
It features a picture of a lemon on wheels, the word “Yikes” and the web address “Usedcarnightmare.org,” a website that describes Perz’s six-year fight with Mossy Toyota and includes a YouTube video detailing the defects that Perz claims were present in a vehicle he bought from Mossy in 2006.
We outlined Perz’s fight with Mossy in this story. Here’s a snippet:
Perz said he took the car back to the dealership another two times, and tried to negotiate with Mossy repeatedly over the next few weeks. “They basically laughed in my face,” he said.
Perz said an independent expert he hired concluded the car had probably been submerged in water, causing the electrics to fail and rotting the vehicle’s frame with rust. Perz decided he couldn’t in good faith sell it to recoup his money. So he hired a lawyer.
That’s when he learned that he couldn’t take Mossy to court.
“My lawyer said I had to go to to arbitration,” Perz said. “I didn’t know even what that was.”
It was the first time he had heard the word, but arbitration was about to become a big part of Perz’s life. He had signed a contract that included a section known as a “mandatory arbitration clause,” meaning he had essentially waived his right to sue Mossy.
Perz says he’s spent the last six years trying to get a fair hearing in court. Mossy’s attorney says Perz is on a crusade against arbitration, and isn’t interested in having his case tried in a fair arbitration setting, which is why he and his attorney have fought to keep the case from coming to a hearing.
Rosemary Shahan, president of Sacramento-based CARS, said her group has been advocating for Perz for a long time.
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Interim Song Beverly Ruling: Dated September 15, 2014
Breach of Express Warranty and Implied Warranty of Merchantability (Song Beverly Act)
Mossy Toyota I ncluded a limited express warranty (90 days or 3000 miles) for 100% of the parts and labor costs on engine and transmission repair. The panel finds this would include the vibration problem. Mossy made two attempts to repair the vehicle with no success whatsoever and then informed Mossy it could not be repaired and was, at any rate, "normal" for this vehicle. In the event a warranted defect substantially reduces the value, use or safety of a vehicle, the seller must replace or repurchase the vehicle, or otherwise make restitution to the purchaser. This was a vehicle purchased at retail, for Perz' personal use.
Perz made several requests of Mossy to repair the defect, and Mossy agreed to attempt the repair twice. Mossy Toyota was given adequate opportunity to repair or replace or make restitution. It was unable to do the first and refused to do the others.
Perz has proven the elements necessary to prevail on this cause of action.
The implied warranty of merchantability requires that the vehicle be fit for its ordinary use, in this case personal transportation to and from work. The only description of the condition of the vehicle is that it was unsafe to drive. Mossy's attempt to "reduce" the vibrations at stops by putting it into neutral corroborates the intensity of the vibrations and the unsafe measures which had to be taken to reduce the vibrations and allow for accurate vision through mirrors and the windshield. No opportunity to repair is required, though several opportunities were given.
Perz has proven the elements necessary to prevail on this cause of action. Under the Song-Beverly Act. The panel is authorized to award double damages on the Song-Beverly causes of action, if Mossy's failure to act was willful, which it was. (Civil Code section 1794(c)). Perz is entitled to an award of fees and costs on the Song-Beverly causes of action (Civil Code section 1794(d)).
Perz is entitled to reasonable attorney's fees and costs.
JAMS ARBITRATION NO. 1240021161