Despite Libel Suit, Israeli Judge Allows Disgruntled Volvo Owner to Continue Protest

After dozens of unsatisfactory service visits, Danny Forkosh mounted a creative protest outside the dealership

Danny Forkosh protests outside the Volvo dealership in Haifa, August 22, 2017.

For three years, Danny Forkosh suffered a car owner’s – 30 visits to the dealer to repair defects in his father’s Volvo, without a resolution that satisfied them.

In response, Forkosh took creative revenge by erecting a sign on top of the car and parking it at various times outside the dealership in Haifa and the garage that serviced the vehicle.

“If you too are a victim of Volvo/Mayer send an email to volvovictims@gmail.com, 30 garage visits in three years. Catastrophic warranty!” read the sign, which was later updated to say 47 days rather than 30 visits.

The dealer-importer, Mayer’s Cars and Trucks, sued Forkosh for libel and sought an injunction to stop his protests. Forkosh, who acted as his own lawyer, responded that no libel was involved, merely a statement of fact.

Last week, Forkosh finally enjoyed every disgruntled car owner’s sweet dream of revenge, at least for now. Haifa District Court Judge Gideon Ginat dismissed the injunction and ordered Mayer’s to pay 5,000 shekels ($1,400) in court costs.

“I have no doubt, based on the information that has been submitted to me at this stage, that Forkosh made no false claims and that he is in a position to defend himself against the plaintiff’s claims. I doubt the plaintiff has a genuine claim and if it does, it is not strong enough to justify a temporary injunction,” the judge ruled.

The case will continue, but Forkosh is free to display his sign.

The story began in 2013 when Forkosh’s father, Asher, bought a Volvo XC60 SUV from Mayer’s for 307,000 shekels. Among other things, Forkosh claimed that he subsequently discovered that the car’s engine was made by Ford Motor Company, and that this was not disclosed at the time of purchase.

Mayer’s lawyers argued in court that even if Forkosh’s claims were valid, he should have used legal channels to resolve it rather than launch a public campaign with inaccurate information. The company did not dispute the number of service visits that Forkosh made, nor the fact that Mayer’s replaced the vehicle’s engine after the warranty expired.

To which Forkosh, answered,” Without a shadow of doubt, the number and the scope of the problems prove not only that we spoke truthfully but that we did not even say everything.”

In a statement, Mayer’s said it had offered several solutions to the car’s problems but that Forkosh had rejected them.

“This is a clear case of professional, extreme, illegitimate attempt at extortion, by a clever person who acted and is acting to extract unreasonable amounts of money that neither he nor his family deserve,” the company said.