No Fords!

Last Updated on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 23:22

Ford has screwed me over, and they refuse to accept responsibility for it.  One would think that in the midst of all of the bad press surrounding the tire recalls, they might be a little more responsive to people.  However, they are content to nickel-and-dime me to death!

In July of 2000, I received a recall notice from Ford, indicating that my Windstar needed some gasket replacement work done on it.  I took it in good faith to our local Ford dealership, on August 1, 2000.  They did the work, then sent us on our merry way.

On August 31, 2000, I took my family on a rather long road trip for a family reunion.  We got about 400 miles into our trip when there arose a loud noise from the engine.  We pulled off the highway in a small town, found a gas station with a garage, and asked the workers there to look at it.  They told me that the guy who would be able to diagnose the problem was not at work, but that he could be called in.  They asked me if I wanted him to come in to look at it.  Now I'm thinking to myself, "Duh, of course I want you to call him in to look at it," but I just asked that they call him.

Little did I realize what that meant.  When he finally arrived, he listened to the engine, heard the knocking sound, said that it sounded bad, told me he didn't have the right tools to reach the nuts holding the pulleys taught, and that it was the engine, and there was nothing he could do for it.  He then charged me $75 for his time and the emergency call.  He did, however, offer to call a tow truck for me.  That was an expensive phone call.

When the tow truck finally arrived, the driver took us back along the highway we had just travelled for about an hour.  Oh, the indignity of it all -- the tow truck had a flat bed, onto which he loaded my vehicle.  My whole family was piled inside the Windstar, held up high for the world to see, and the worst part of it was that not only were we paying through the teeth for the tow, but we had already driven that stretch of highway earlier in the day.  The farther back we drove, the worse it felt.

Upon arriving at a Ford dealership, the tow truck dumped our Windstar off, then left.  I went to talk with the service representative inside.  She was a nice, helpful person.  I actually felt like she had some amount of compassion for our plight.  She heard about how we had taken the vehicle in for recall service less than a month before, so she suggested that Ford would probably pick up the tab for the repair.  If not, my extended warranty, which would run out in about 600 miles, would cover the bulk of it, with a hefty deductible.

Then she told me that it might take up to six months to get a replacement engine.  After I picked my jaw up off the floor, she mentioned there was a possibility that they could replace it with a long block, which usually took six to ten weeks to acquire.

I explained that we were on vacation, with six people and luggage, and needed a rental vehicle.  She called a couple of places, and found one that had a van.  I asked her about expenses incurred as a direct result of the engine failure, and she told me to keep track of everything, and bring in the receipts when I drop off the rental van.  She told me that if the repair were covered under my extended warranty, Ford would cover only about $24 a day in car rental.  However, I thought I heard her then say that if it were covered under the recall, Ford would cover all my expenses.  Maybe I heard what I wanted to hear, but I felt that it should be the case, since the whole mess wasn't my fault to begin with.

We got a rental van that would seat all of us and our luggage for the remainder of the trip.  The rental agreement was for approximately $35 a day.  Since I understood that Ford would be picking up the tab, and since we couldn't have possibly fit our whole party plus luggage into anything smaller, I saw this as a reasonable and necessary expense.  Since Ford was supposedly paying for it, we drove the van all the way home, with the understanding that when they finished our vehicle, I would drive the van back to the rental place, then pick up my Windstar.

Time marches on...

About six weeks later, I received a call from the dealership telling me that an engine came in, and that they would be installing it over the next few days.  On a Monday, I got the call that it was ready.  I asked if I should bring my receipts with me, and she told me no, and that I would have to send them in by mail to an address she would give me when I got there.  So I took a vacation day from work on Tuesday, and left with the rental van at about 4:00 in the morning.

When I arrived, I half expected to find a family living in my Windstar, since it had been sitting there for so long.  Instead, the service representative asked me for the receipt for the tow that brought my vehicle to them.  I told her that, as a result of her response to my question the day before, I left all my receipts at home.  She told me to fax it to her when I got back.  She then dropped the bombshell that, although Ford was covering the repairs under the recall, they would only pay about $24 a day for the rental.

Let's recap:

  1. Ford recalled my vehicle for engine work due to faulty equipment.
  2. Ford "fixed" my vehicle.
  3. Ford obviously botched the repair.
  4. Ford indicated that they would cover my expenses.
  5. Ford then refused to pick up the expenses incurred due to their recall.

I wouldn't have incurred any of the expenses directly related to the repair of my vehicle if Ford had done their job properly to begin with.  But that's not all...

About a month later, my Windstar began leaking oil and coolant.  We took it in to our local dealership, and they "fixed" it.  A few weeks later, it was leaking oil, and making a strange burning smell.  We took it back in, and they fixed it, supposedly correctly this time.  They even had the nerve at the dealership to tell us the second time we took it back to them that they would have the same mechanic work on it, because he was most familiar with the work he did on it.

So, how many thousands of dollars has Ford lost because they chose to take the low road and refuse to accept full fiscal responsibility for their mistakes?  Well, I'll never buy another Ford again.  That's a start.  But the more people that see this, and see how corrupt their repair practices are, the more people I hope to influence away from Ford.


Instead, buy something reliable, like a Yugo, or a Hyundai.