'Built Ford Tough' slogan is fraudulent marketing, Roebuck alleges in second suit

David Yates Feb. 13, 2008, 7:35am

In an alternative to filing lawsuits against Ford, perhaps plaintiff's attorney Jeffrey Roebuck might want to consider starting a support group for people who trashed and lost their trucks because they ignored their warranty and installed engine-stressing, aftermarket parts.

When his engine blew a gasket, Roebuck learned the hard way that performance chips void Ford's F250 truck warranty. However, instead of accepting the consequences of his actions, Roebuck sued Ford in August 2007 for "fraudulently" marketing its trucks as being "Built Ford Tough."

Roebuck also sued the parts seller for "misrepresenting" that its chips won't void a vehicle's warranty.

In Roebuck's suit, defendants have denied the allegations and demand proof thereof.

Now, Roebuck is at it again, filing a suit against Ford and Superchips Inc. on behalf of Mark Anderson, who also claims Ford fraudulently marketed its F250 truck as "Built Ford Tough" when the company "knew that the diesel engine had defects."

Anderson's suit was filed in the Jefferson County District Court on Feb. 12.

Like Roebuck, Anderson also failed to check his warranty before installing a programmer.

"(Anderson) purchased the programmer (for his 2004 Ford F250) based upon representations made in Superchips advertising that the programmer would not void the manufacture's warranty and that the programmer would not damage the vehicles engine," the original complaint states.

A search on the Superchips Web site revealed that the parts seller does encourage potential customers to purchase chips that may violate the vehicle's warranty.

"Vehicle manufacturers are not allowed to void the vehicle warranty just because aftermarket parts are on the vehicle," the site said. "They must be able to prove that the aftermarket parts are indeed at fault."

Wanting to improve his fuel economy, Anderson says he purchased the programmer when his truck had incurred around 10,000 miles.

(Anderson) left the programmer installed for about 5,000 miles; then removed it because he did not see a significant change in fuel economy," the suit stated. "The vehicle now has 99,000.00 miles on it."

Late in 2007, Anderson's truck began showing signs of engine problems. He took the vehicle in for service and was informed, to his astonishment, "that Ford would not honor the vehicle's warranty because at one time a programmer had been installed," stated the suit.

Although Anderson was deceived by Superchips and neglected to check his own warranty, he is suing Ford on grounds that the automobile company allegedly "produced and sold the vehicle in question knowing that the vehicle had defects and reliability problems with the diesel engine," stated the suit.

"Ford marketed the vehicle as being as being 'Built Ford Tough' when Ford knew that the diesel engine had defects and reliability problems. Ford fraudulently marketed and sold the vehicle in question along with hundreds of thousands of other similar vehicles, knowing that consumers such as Plaintiff would have serious engine problems."

Anderson and Roebuck are also alleging conspiracy, claiming "Ford is denying the warranty when a vehicle has had a programmer installed, because they are aware that their 6.0 liter diesel engine was poorly designed and engineered and are using the programmer issue as a pretext to deny warranty claims," the suit stated.

"Ford has no evidence that the programmer installed on Plaintiff's vehicle caused the current engine problem, but still deny the warranty claim because of the programmer. Ford's denial of Plaintiffs warranty is improper and fraudulent.

"Alternatively, Plaintiff would show that Superchips marketed its programmer as a performance upgrade that would not void the vehicle warranty or damage the vehicles engine. Plaintiff's vehicle has a serious engine problem that Ford claims was caused by the Superchips programmer."

The four-count suit charges Ford and Superchips with Negligent Misrepresentation, breach of warranty, malice and fraud.

Anderson is suing for actual and exemplary damages, mental anguish and attorney's fees.

Roebuck is a partner in the Roebuck, Thomas, Roebuck & Adams law firm.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District.

Case No. D181-226

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