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In plaintiff's action against the Ford Motor Credit Company (Ford) claiming that Ford's billing practices under a retail installment sales contract in charging late fees is prohibited by the Rees-Levering Motor Vehicle Sales and Finance Act, and actionable under Unfair Competition Law and the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, dismissal of the suit is affirmed where: 1) Ford's conduct of charging successive late fees for successive late payments does not violate Civil Code section 2982(k)'s prohibition on charging more than one late fee per delinquent installment; 2) plaintiff cannot allege Ford's billing practice is an unfair business practice within the meaning of UCL because the alleged injury is one plaintiff reasonably could have avoided; and 3) although Ford was the prevailing party, it cannot recover its attorney's fees pursuant to the Rees-Levering's reciprocal attorney's fees provision because the alleged Rees-Levering violation was merely a predicate to the UCL claims, and a prevailing defendant cannot recover attorney's fees under the UCL.
Filed November 19, 2009
Opinion by Judge Klein
For Appellant: Levy, Ram & Olson, Arthur D. Levy, Erica L. Craven; The Harris Law Firm, Aurora D. Harris
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