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Oh, Canada! Mazda Canada Faces Class Action Lawsuit

Posted in Design, Legal, Mazda, Newsworthy by Kurt Ernst | May 14th, 2010 | 11 Responses |

Just when you thought that bullshit lawsuits were reserved for the United States, our friends in Canada have proven us wrong. Mazda owner Alisha Koubi, with the help of her attorney, of course, has initiated a lawsuit against Mazda Canada for selling an “unfit product for profit”. Her lawsuit, given class-action status in British Columbia, alleges that 2006 Mazda 3 models were easily broken into, by impacting an area above the driver’s door. She is seeking damages based on Mazda’s profits for all Mazda 3 models sold in Canada from 2004 to 2007.

Was Koubi a victim of a smash and grab (or dent-and-grab) robbery? No. Did she have any problems whatsoever with the locking mechanism on her car? No. Could she have returned her car to the dealer for a no-charge upgrade to increase security of the driver’s door lock? Yes. Did she do so? No, because that would have avoided the fame and fortune of the lawsuit.

Let’s be clear about a few things. First, there isn’t a car made that doesn’t have security issues. Know how long it would take me to break into an E46 BMW 3 series with a factory alarm? Ten seconds, fifteen tops. Would the alarm go off when I opened the door? Based on the default settings, no it wouldn’t. Why stop there? Any car can be broken into using the ceramic insulator from a spark plug, so should we sue manufacturers for not giving us armored glass windows?

Here’s what people who file frivolous lawsuits don’t take into consideration: whatever benefit they may get from this legal action, in the long run, it costs all of us money. Do you really need a car with theft proof doors, bulletproof glass, an explosion proof gas tank, non reclining seats with automatic six point harnesses, an onboard fire suppression system, 60 mph crash proof bumpers and puncture proof tires? If you do, are you prepared to write a check in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for one?

For the love of God, people: stop the madness before it’s too late.

Source: Mazda Canada shoulder checked with class action lawsuit…

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11 Responses

  1. SomeGuy says:

    Keep in mind that, unlike the United States, you cannot sue for whatever amount you feel like in Canada. You can only sue for actual damages, or in some cases foreseeable future damages if what you are suing causes them (e.g. some kind of injury that prevents you from working). The concept of “punitive damages” doesn’t exist in Canada. If there is to be any punishment, that is done in the form of government fines levied against the defendant, and the plaintiff won’t see a dime. The most this person can hope to get is the cost of the upgrade (which was free), the value of any contents stolen (if any) up to some limit (e.g. Mazda won’t be held entirely responsible if she kept $100,00 worth of jewelry in the car) and some of her legal costs. Basically, we’re talking a few thousand dollars at most. You generally don’t get rich suing someone up here.

  2. Kurt says:

    Which only makes Koubi’s lawsuit all the more puzzling. She is seeking damages based on the profit Mazda made from selling these cars; since this is a class action lawsuit, I presume this will be split between all Canadian Mazda 3 owners.

  3. CHF says:

    ” 60 mph crash proof bumpers ”

    but suppose the bumpers you have got collapse and must be replaced at substantial expense after a mild knock at less than 1mph?
    suppose the flimsy nature of the bumpers is fairly well documented and well-known to the manufacturer (NOT Mazda, who make quite nice cars).
    surely there should be some redress?

  4. Kurt says:

    CHF, I’m not saying that automakers should be allowed to sell substandard products. It’s consumers that need to have reasonable expectations, and it’s plaintiffs filing frivilous lawsuits who need to understand that they ultimately cost more than they benefit.

  5. GuessImaBSer says:

    The door to my Mazda 3 — parked in a supposedly secure place — was “bumped” and opened (defeating the alarm), and $3000 worth of electronics and clothing was stolen.

    Had I been aware of the problem, I’d have parked elsewhere and not left valuables in the car. It was only after I asked a body shop for a quote to fix the dent ($900-plus) that I learned about bumping.

    I bought the car new from Mazda, and had it in regularly for servicing.
    They hadn’t informed me of the (common) problem, nor offered to fix anything or install the “upgrade” plate. It wasn’t til I searched the internet that I learned how many victims of bumping there are, and that there were “fixes”. I had to ask the dealer to install the fixes, and they didn’t offer to repair the dent in the door.

    I paid extra for the so-called “security” system… and although insurance covered part of my loss, I’m still out nearly $1000.
    I don’t think It’s an unreasonable expectation that Mazda ought to inform its customers of such a problem… or build a reasonably secure vehicle.

    Yes, I AM ‘a victim of a smash and grab (or dent-and-grab) robbery’. And so I DID ‘have problems with the locking mechanism on my car’. And had Mazda bothered to notify me, I would have taken advantage of the retrofit fix… although I might still have eventually found myself with a dented door.

    So now I’m a part of the so-called “bullshit lawsuit”, hoping to get at least part of my loss recovered.

    And as for your uninformed sarcastic opinion, Kurt… BS.

    • Kurt says:

      Guess, let me get this straight – you thought it was a good idea to leave $3,000 worth of clothing and electronics in your car, and you were surprised that it was broken into? Seriously?

      It doesn’t matter what kind of car you were driving, because a thief can break into a car in a matter of seconds. BMW knew about the weakness of their factory alarm system (and driver’s side door lock), and they didn’t inform me when I bought or serviced my 3 Series. My car eventually had the driver’s door lock punched with a slide hammer, causing $800 worth of damage. Did I ever think about suing BMW? No, I did not.

      A little common sense would have prevented your robbery. I’m sorry you had to learn an expensive lesson the hard way, but I don’t think the outcome would have been any different even if Mazda’s door retrofit had been installed.

  6. GuessImaBSer says:

    Good of you to be so altruistic.

    Did I say I thought it was a good idea? No.

    I won’t bother to go into the circumstances of why I left possessions of that value in the car — you’ve already made up your mind.

    I DO think there’s a good chance the retrofit would have prevented the easy-access Bump-break-in, although I’d still be left with a dented door.
    And considering where it happened, I doubt there would have been a more forceful attempt. But that’s just guesswork and hindsight — and has just as much value as your assumptions: none.

    I don’t expect to recover all the money and time I lost, but maybe, just maybe, the suit will be a reminder to Mazda and other manufacturers that they have some responsibility to provide their customers with security systems and other equipment that isn’t defective and will perform as advertised. And some responsibility to notify customers when part of their product IS defective.

    Maybe a little less “Zoom-Zoom” and a little more “Quality Control-Quality Control”.

  7. Kurt says:

    Guess, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one. My car was broken into in an airport parking lot in broad daylight. A slide hammer isn’t exactly quiet, but that didn’t stop the thieves from punching my lock, despite the fact that there were no valuables in my car (they were looking for the valet key to steal the car, since dealers used to leave them in the glove box). My point is this: if thieves have a reason to break into a car, you’re not going to stop them.

    Good luck with your class action lawsuit, but remember that no car (short of an armored car) is really secure from break in.

  8. Mike says:

    Speaking of class action lawsuits. Mazda is also being sued due to power steering pump failure. Do you think that is frivolous?
    I was driving on a highway at 60mph and just started entering the off ramp when mine failed. If it was my wife driving, she wouldn’t have had the strength to steer the car away from walls and it could’ve been worse.
    Mazda makes bad cars. They should be put out if business period.
    Sue them into the ground I say.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      Mike, I never said that safety defects are frivolous, nor do I believe that Mazda’s quality is any worse (or any better) than other manufacturers.

  9. Kamal says:

    Had a run in with the judge that approved this frivollous lawsuit…she’s more concerned with getting her name in the lawbooks than anything to do with using common sense and a fair verdict or judgement – just search her name out in the BC supreme court, or even google- she probably was appointed as a judge because she was a female visible minority – didn’t see many cases with her name on them that had fair or rational judgements on them…she thinks she is intelligent, but has not developed the ability to tell truth from leis, and she probably has been living in a bubble all of her life that doesn’t allow her to see two sides to any story.
    Why judges like this are appointed is a mystery.