— A Ford 3G class action lawsuit will move forward in court after Ford failed to convince the judge the plaintiff's claims should be sent to arbitration.
The lawsuit alleges certain Ford and Lincoln vehicles were equipped with 3G wireless modems, but those modems turned into paper weights when AT&T phased out 3G service in 2022.
According to the Ford 3G class action lawsuit, these vehicles were affected by the changes.
- 2014-2020 Ford Fusion Energi
- 2014-2017 Ford C-MAX Energi
- 2016-2018 Ford Focus Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
- 2016-2017 Lincoln MKZ / MKZ Hybrid
- 2015-2017 Lincoln MKC
- 2017 Lincoln Continental
- 2016-2017 Lincoln MKX
Between 2016 and 2020, the plaintiffs who filed the class action purchased or leased these vehicles equipped with 3G modems.
- Michael Scriber / 2020 Ford Fusion Energi
- Stacy Powell / 2019 Ford Fusion Energi
- Doug Harrigan / 2020 Ford Fusion Energi
- Susan Wisner Phillips / 2016 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
According to the class action, the 3G modem is an onboard wireless module that allows vehicle owners to communicate with their vehicles using AT&T’s 3G network.
The wireless modem allows numerous internet-capable features to work through the MyFord App and MyLincoln App, such as:
- Roadside emergency safety
- Remote starting of vehicles
- Vehicle charging
- Location features
- Monitor fuel levels and battery life
The plaintiffs contend Ford knew as early as 2019 that 3G would be phased out nationwide and yet continued to manufacture vehicles with 3G modems.
The plaintiffs also assert to date, "they have not obtained an adequate repair or replacement for the non-functional 3G modem."
However, Ford noted that in November 2021, Ford offered a limited-time customer satisfaction program (21B09) which allowed vehicle owners to purchase 4G upgrade kits, and Ford would pay all labor and installation costs.
The program expired in May 2022, and the plaintiffs filed their 3G class action lawsuit in November 2022.
According to Judge Michael M. Anello:
"It appears that none of the Plaintiffs participated in the program."
Ford 3G Class Action Lawsuit: No Arbitration
Ford filed a motion to compel arbitration in June 2023 and submitted documents which allegedly showed arbitration should be compelled based on these agreements:
- (1) Scriber and Harrigan’s sale contracts
- (2) Powell and Phillips’ lease agreements
- (3) Scriber, Harrigan, and Phillips’ "Connected services agreements"
However, the judge wasn't impressed by Ford's arguments:
"Surely, Ford knows how to draft a mandatory and binding arbitration clause, and this is not it. The Court is utterly unable to discern the intention of the parties with respect to these provisions in the Connected Services Agreements. As a result, these provisions must be construed against Ford."
According to Judge Anello, the Ford 3G class action lawsuit will continue for now because it is "Ford’s burden to show these questions of law should be resolved in Ford's favor.
"The Court finds that Ford has not met its burden of showing that there is a mandatory arbitration agreement that encompasses the dispute here under Michigan law. Accordingly, the Court DENIES its motion to compel arbitration based upon the Connected Services Agreements." — Judge Anello
The Ford 3G class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California: Michael Scriber v. Ford Motor Company.
The plaintiff is represented by Ahdoot & Wolfson, P.C.