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Honda Civic Hybrid owner wins mileage dispute case

by Drew Johnson

A California woman has been awarded nearly $10,000 in a mileage dispute case against Honda.

After a in California's small-claims court, a disgruntled Honda Civic Hybrid owner has been awarded $9,867 for damages resulting from her hybrid not hitting the fuel economy figures stated by Honda.

Heather Peters, the owner of a 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid, originally set out to start a class-action lawsuit against Honda after her car failed to achieve its claimed 50mpg rating. However, the former lawyer realized any damages won in a class-action would likely amount to about $200, and decided to file a claim against the Japanese automaker in small-claims court.

That decision has proven to be a wise one as a Los Angeles judge ruled in Peters' favor to the tune of $9,867. That money is for money lost on gas as well as punitive damages. Peters was seeking $10,000, the maximum allowed in California's small-claims court.

"I am absolutely thrilled. Sometimes big justice comes in small packages," she told the . "This is a victory for Honda Civic owners everywhere."

Peters is urging other Civic Hybrid owners to file similar lawsuits in small-claims court. Unlike class-action lawsuits, lawyers are not permitted in small-claims court, giving owners a chance to take on Honda without an army of lawyers. The payout is also greater, with some states allowing for damages as high as $15,000.