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A Long Beach, Calif., man filed a consumer-fraud suit against Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. in California state court last week claiming that Fleetwood exaggerated the towing capacity of certain of its Class A and Class C motorhomes, according to The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif.
The plaintiff, Donald Fairley, bought a Fleetwood Class C in 2000 from a dealer in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., and he contends that the motorhome’s braking system can safely tow only up to 1,000 pounds, not the 3,500-pound towing capacity listed on its label, according to the newspaper.
“Fleetwood sent letters telling them (certain motorhome owners) to get the supplemental brakes but didn’t offer to pay for them,” said Fairley’s attorney, Jonathan Selbin of New York. “They knew people couldn’t stop safely while towing a 3,500-pound load, and they lied to them.”
A Fleetwood spokeswoman, when contacted by the Press-Enterprise, said it is the company’s policy not to comment about pending lawsuits.
Fairley’s lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and Selbin will attempt to get it certified as a class-action, which means as many as 70,000 consumers nationwide could be affected.
Fairley wants to be reimbursed for the cost of a supplemental braking system and he wants a judge to order Fleetwood to halt any allegedly deceptive sales practices. Additionally, he wants Fleetood to pay the plaintiffs “any profits or revenues” resulting from the sale of the units at issue in the lawsuit, according to The Press-Enterprise. He also is seeking punitive damages.
Meanwhile, The Press-Enterprise interviewed RV service technicians at several Southern California RV dealerships and independent RV service centers, and their opinions were mixed about whether supplemental braking systems are necessary. One of those interviewed said a supplemental braking system package would cost from $600 to $1,200.