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Don’t Touch Ford System, Class Says

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Ford's MyFord Touch system is not only unreliable, it's an "unmitigated disaster" and dangerous for drivers, a class action claims in Federal Court.

The Center for Defensive Driving accuses Ford of deceptive trade and consumer law violations. It claims that that the touch screen entertainment and communication system is plagued with glitches that haven't been fixed.

Installed in Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models since 2011, the system was developed by (nonparty) Microsoft and Ford, and incorporates GPS navigation, Sirius Satellite Radio, and Bluetooth communication for mobile devices.

If it does not crash first, the touch system is meant to detect collisions and automatically contact emergency services, according to the complaint.

"Ford has touted MyFord Touch as a revolutionary feature in its vehicles, a feature for which it charges a significant premium," the 38-page complaint states. "However, since its launch in 2011, the system has been an unmitigated disaster for Ford. Indeed, the Internet is replete with complaints from Ford owners who have experienced significant problems with the system. Many vehicle owners complain that, among other things, the system freezes up, stops working, the screen 'blacks out,' the system fails to respond to touch commands, and fails to connect to the user's mobile phone."

During a malfunction, vital features such as navigation and climate control may stop working, the class claims.

"Additionally, because certain crucial vehicle functions, including the defroster and the rear-view camera, are routed through and controlled by MyFord Touch, these features become inoperable when the MyFord Touch system crashes. Thus, driving in winter becomes dangerous because the driver cannot defrost his or her windshield and other windows, and drivers are more likely to collide with other cars or pedestrians when moving in reverse because the rear-view camera fails," the complaint states.

The class claims drivers pay a "hefty premium" for the factory-installed system. By some estimates, it costs $1000 as a stand-alone product, the class says.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally conceded in 2011 that MyFord Touch does not work as advertised, but glitches remain, the complaint states.

"Ford has also recognized that it has a problem insofar as it has issued three purported 'updates' which it claimed corrected the issues plaguing the system. However, none of these updates have corrected the issues that the plaintiff and the other class members have experienced with their MyFord Touch systems," the complaint states.

The class claims that Ford's own technicians have said, "there is no fix."

"So rampant are the problems, Consumer Reports recommends that no consumer purchase Ford vehicles that are equipped with MyFord Touch," according to the complaint.

The class seeks actual and punitive damages, and costs.

The Center for Defensive Driving is represented by Elaine Byszewski with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, of Pasadena.

Ford did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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