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CA loses ex-ambassador’s complaint versus Ford over rattly car

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The Court of Appeals (CA) has dismissed the complaint of retired Asian Development Bank (ADB) alternate executive director Marita Jimenez against the Ford Libis dealership over her car that kept making rattling noises.

In a recent 10-page decision, the CA 13th Division said Jimenez availed of the wrong remedy in challenging the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) finding that Michigan Motors, Inc., the operator of Ford Libis, did not violate the Consumer Act.

The CA said Jimenez should have filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court in appealing the decision of the DTI Secretary, as provided by Article 166 of the Consumer Act.

Jimenez had only filed a petition for review under Rule 43.

The court said she raised questions of law and did not allege that the DTI committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

“While the Court commiserates with petitioner, it must be emphasized that courts and litigants alike must abide strictly by procedural rules,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Maria Filomena Singh.

Jimenez in 2010 had to return her brand-new Ford E-150 three times even as the Ford service center tried to remedy the problem of the vehicle’s rattling sound.

On the fourth time on January 17, 2011, the technicians could not find any problem and found the noise to be within the normal range. Thus, Michigan informed Jimenez that the car was ready for pick-up.

Jimenez on January 20, 2011, sent a letter stating that she would pick up the car if Michigan guaranteed its replacement in case the problem continued. Michigan, however, denied the request on January 28, 2011.

Negotiations continued over the next several months, but when Michigan offered to conduct a joint test-drive, Jimenez refused to participate. This led Michigan to send an August 23, 2011 letter stating it would impose a daily P500 storage fee on the car.

In response, Jimenez filed a complaint with the DTI Adjudication Office for the Violation of the Consumer Act, which ruled against her on July 24, 2014. The DTI Secretary, through the Appeals Committee, upheld the said decision on November 6, 2014.

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