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Ford Motor Company - Ford Customer Relationship
Posted on Sunday, July 10th, 2011 at 3:24pm CDT by 1a53a83e
Product: 2011 Ford Fusion
Company: Ford Motor Company
5/16/11, I was in an accident on I 270 NB near Rockville, MD which totalled my 2005 Chevy Malibu. Had 3 days off from work due to a small injury and that much time to get into a new car. I opted to go new because, as I told each salesman I met with, I commute 106 miles each way to/from work from Great Cacapon, WV to Vienna, VA and I need a vehicle that won't leave me broken down on the side of the road. I had money down on a 2011 Chevy Cruze, but my father is a Ford man and talked me in to at least visiting Kent Parson's Ford in Martinsburg, WV. I did. Test drove the 2011 Ford Fusion and loved it. Behind the wheel I could forget it wasn't my Malibu, it felt about the same compared to others I'd been looking at (Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Toyota Camry and Nissan Juke-it was just too cute to not test drive! were my main contenders.) My salesman knew of my situation, that I had to be in my new vehicle that day, 5/19, to return to work the following day. He brought the price down to my ideal level and I took it, even though my dad said I should probably stick with the Cruze which had had everything - better MPG, remote start, OnStar, Bluetooth, USB port - but it was a little tighter fit than I like, so I was more comfortable with the Fusion despite losing some of the perks. 5/19/11 I became the owner of a brand new card and a Ford for the first time in my life, even though my father had given me a Taurus when I got my license and it was pretty much my car for 7 years until it was wrecked.
5/23 I realized the car had no working AC, just heat and slightly less hot air coming out. 5/24 had day off from work for doctor appointment, called the dealership to let them know & ask if they could just *look* at it that day. Was told, nope, they were booked, drop it off on your way home next week, we'll give you a loaner and work on it 6/1. Ok, not ideal, but I can work with it. The temperatures that week were in the 90s, hotter with the heat index and driving home in the evening with the windows down really did nothing to help, but ok. 5/30 I take the Dulles Toll Road to Route 9 to make it to Martinsburg before the dealership closes, drop off my car, get the loaner which has a little over a quarter tank of gas and tell my salesman that I'd gotten the next day off so I could be ready to pick the car up once it was done. I was in that town from 10am til 3:30pm and not once did the dealership contact me with any news, but the 1st time I called them, they were "just taking a look at it now," 2nd time, "I've ordered the parts, it's the air compressor and if they get here by 3 we should get it done today, we'll let you know by 3:30 if they've come in, and the 3rd time I called @ 3:25, I was told they were in, but they weren't going to be able to get to it before close. Which was 6pm. So, stuck with the loaner I did not want to have to take on that commute to work. My cell phone is the only way to reach me at work. Did they call it at all on 6/2? Nope. At about 1:21pm they left a message on my answering machine at home that the new compressor had been put on, but wasn't holding a charge so they were ordering another one and it would take an additional day to fix. I found that out from my mother who relayed the message to me as I declined overtime and tried to rush out of work @ 4:30 so I could make it to the dealership before they closed. Friday 6/3/2011, I call the service department on my first break and tell them since they have the car another day, to go over it with a fine tooth comb to make sure there were no other issues because I had to be able to rely on that car on my commute. He said, "Well, it's a new car, there's bound to be minor issues come up" and in the same breath when I expressed concern about this "minor issue" he assured me it was a car, this kind of problem is rare. So. Ok. Towards afternoon, I received a voicemail message on my cell to tell me that the car was fixed and had been detailed and was ready for me to pick-up "at no cost to you." (See they call my cell phone when they think they've got good news. COWARDS!) I had already agreed to work overtime, so I told them I could not collect the car until the next day, Saturday after I finished my part-time job, they said that would be fine. 6/4, I show up at the dealership around 1pm, my salesman is off, I go to the information desk and introduce myself, say I'm there to return my loaner and pick up my car. No one knows anything about this. After a few minutes one guy chirps up and goes, "I think I remember something about that one. Let me go get the paperwork." My mother and I are waiting and waiting. Bout 3 salesmen in there just sitting around. One in the middle goes after a few minutes, "Didn't you just buy that car?" Yeah. I did. At this point, I'm really not liking the dealership.
Finally get my keys and go. Get home and look at the paperwork. 1st workorder, COM= Air Conditioning; A/C has no cold air. COR: Check out & tested system, while testing it blew 3 fuses ran ids test -CODE P0533-00-68 (PCM) had a short in the A/C Circuit. Evacuate & recharge A/C found a short in coil and replace coil. Further down under "Ford Motors Data" is a line that reads "=Compressor Assembly-Air Conditioner - Remove and Install OR REPLACE" Second group of stapled together papers focuses on the coil, snap ring and 'multipoint inspection' they did per my request on 6/3. So, ok, looks like they did what I asked and it's ok now. I'm back behind the wheel of my Fusion and everytime I kick on that AC it puts out this cool, clean smell that I just loooooooove. I'm happy again with my decision to go with the Fusion.
6/15/11, I'm coming home on I66 West, the cruise control is starting to get a little jerky, but I think nothing really of it. I pull in to get something to eat in Winchester, VA, put my window down and look up at the sky to see the jet that must be going over because I hear this sound like a jet engine rushing. Then I realize its MY CAR. Get home, mention it to my dad and he says its probably just the fan kicking on.
6/16/11, I'm driving home the same way, have turned on to I81 NB moving towards Winchester, just passed the weigh station so I'm in the right hand lane because there's a police presence around there and you want to be obeying the 70 MPH speed limit. Shortly passed mile marker 305 my red battery light comes one. I think , uh-oh, shut off the radio, AC wasn't on, unplug my cell phone and GPS chargers to eliminate potential drains on the battery. Just as I finish that the check engine light comes on and the car starts to slow, gas it, it doesn't go. So I pull off on to the shoulder, put it in park, shut off the engine and let it rest a minute or so, then try it again. Check engine light comes on immediately, but no battery, maybe I can make it home. Put it in drive and start to inch along the shoulder looking for a break in traffic to get back on the road. Battery light comes on, car stops going forward. It never fully loses power, the radio still works and windows go up and down, but that's the battery, the engine is not working. I put it back in park, shut off the engine, call my salesman. I'm broken down on the side of the road in the brand new vehicle I purchased to avoid having to fear being left broken down on the side of a road. He apologizes after expressing his disbelief, promises to have a loaner ready for me and tells me to call roadside assistance. I do. I'm sitting right in front of mile marker 306 I81NB. They confirm the location, "are you in a safe place?" "Well, I'm pulled off on the shoulder, but so long as I don't get out of the car, yeah, it's safe enough." They put in the ticket and asked if I would like to be notified via email, text or automated phone call with the details of which company will be sent and when to expect them. I requested text. They said, well we'll give you a call TOO. Got the call though saying estimated time of arrival was 45 minutes, couldn't make out the name of the company or their phone number, but I didn't worry, I'd be getting that in the text they'd be sending TOO. Never got a text. 30 minutes later the recording calls back, your estimated arrival is 15 minutes, if your driver has already arrived press 1, if not we will call back after the estimated arrival time has expired. 30 minutes later it's the recording again, if your tow has arrived press 1 if not press 2. Pressed 2. Press 1 to be connected to the tow company, press 2 to speak to a roadside assistance specialist. Pressed 1. Connected to I still don't know the name of the company, they said he'd been in an accident and would be there in about 15 more minutes, I said, "WHAT?! He's been IN an accident!" She corrected herself, he was delayed by an accident, 15 more minutes. 30 minutes later it's the automated recording again, press 1 if your tow has arrived, press to if they have not. Pressed 2. Connecting you to a roadside assistance specialist. Told them I'm still waiting, they had me hold while they call the wrecker company, came back and said he's almost there, be there in a minute. We'll call back to check. 35 minutes later the driver arrived. The automated call did not happen again. The total time at the side of this interstate with car zipping past, including 2 state troopers, has been 2 hours and 5 minutes. That's only an hour and 20 minutes past the original estimate. Nothing to complain about there, right? Driver comes up and asks, "What seems to be the problem?" Well, me, I'm clearly just a lil ole girl don't know nothing about cars so there can't possibly be an actual problem with it, so I just start it up and let him judge. He watches the check engine light come on, the battery and I show him what happens when I try to move it. He said sounds like the alternator, but this is a new car, that shouldn't be." Yeah. I get that a lot.
Dealership closed at 8pm, but I knew by 7:23 that we weren't gonna make it, called and let them know so they said, if you don't make it, we'll leave the loaner out front with the doors unlocked and the key under the seat, just fill out the envelope, put your keys in it and drop it in the service dept drop box. We get there some time after 8, can't remember the exact time and I'm given no copy of the towing receipt for my records because I guess I'm not entitled to it to see the exact arrival times for the driver to have picked up and dropped off my car. I go to my loaner car. Its out front. Doors unlocked. Key in plain sight on the seat. Envelope tucked under the seat. Brilliant! Start filling out the paper work, get that done, put the key in and start the loaner car to drive it around to get the stuff out of my car and the loan chimes to let me know the gas tank is empty. Has this been a great dealership or what?! So I get everything out of my car, put it in the loaner, which I won't even comment on the cleanliness of because God knows if they don't put gas in their courtesy vehicles after they've been returned they can't possibly be expected to have the time to do something like clean them because both loaners I've had from them were Focuses that needed vacuumed and scrubbed with a disinfectant wipe or 10. I go, fill up the tank at the nearest gas station, and make it home around 10pm. I'm furious, wound up, need to get to sleep because my day starts at 4am to get to work on time. Get to bed around 11:30.
6/17, call first thing in the morning to talk to the mechanic. Has had a chance to look at it yet. Ok, I'll call back on my first actual break. Called and was told that it was the air compressor. "Again?" I asked in disbelief. Kevin?Gary?Travis, can't remember which it was to be honest, hadn't done his homework apparently, didn't know that the car had just been there 2 weeks before because of the air compressor and that Howie'd fixed that already. So now I'm starting to boil. By the end of the day Friday, I learn from this new mechanic that the air compressor overheated "burnt so hot it melted pulleys and snapped the belt." Would also need a new alternator. Monday, 6/20, I call the Customer Relationship Center number found on the back of my Ford owner little quick reference card I got in the mail. Told them what was going on and the woman I spoke to asked, "Are you looking for a buy-back or a replacement?" to which I replyed, "I know the Fusion is a good car and I think that mine unfortunately is a dud, I would not be opposed to a replacement, but I want to know my options." I was told I would get a call back within 2 business days. You'd think, since at this time I was still understanding and willing to stay with Ford if a replacement could be given, but apparently the purpose of the Ford Customer Relationship Center is really to build, establish or maintain positive relationships with the consumer who opt to buy from them in this day in age were money is so tight and we as consumers are trying yo make frugal decisions that positive short and long-tern benefits. Thursday, 6/23, I called them back, not having heard anything from them. Explained again the issue, got an empty apology for no call back because "you definitely should have gotten one by now" and I was transferred to the voicemail of Alexis, who was supposedly handling my issue. I called the dealership who was still working on the car. Had to put the engine back together before he could test it out to make sure everything was working as it should! By this time, my father had been given the impression by the mechanic that the previous tech had not done his job. That the work that should have been done the first time hadn't been, despite having been told something to the contrary. So, I requested to have the mechanic sign off on each thing he did, just a statement saying "I tested... and found ... Found this to be ... and replaced it..." Yes, something I could use in a court of law if it came to that. They would not do such a thing, "you'll get a copy of the work order." Funny thing about the work order from the first go round with them, there's a place on it for the tag number of the vehicle. They put my Malibu's tag there, which hadn't been transferred to the Fusion because the Malibu had been in mine and my father's name. They're very observant and attentive to detail here, obviously, so I really don't have any reason to doubt their word or ability after any of this, right? I finally think to ask to speak to a manager or supervisor. I get to leave a voicemail. The general manager of Kent Parson's Ford, Larry, calls me back to let me know he's just found out about my situation and will look into it. I tell him at this point, I want my money back and to just be done with them. Because he asked do you want a trade it in, to which I replied, "And take a loss on what I've already made and what the car has depreciated?!" He said, "No, it wouldn't be like that." Don't know what it would have been like, though, because there wasn't another word from the dealership about a trade or refund.
By close of business 6/23, I've got a voicemail from the mechanic on my cell phone letting me know my car has been fixed and is ready for pick up "at no cost to you." Isn't it cute, how they want me to know I'm not being charged any more than the original purchase price, interest on the 22k I financed with my credit union, the gas for the loaner that I should have at least been spared 1 tank of, stress and personal time used at work to deal with all of this during Ford's business hours which happen to also be my work hours and not to mention the $5.25 a pop it takes to use the toll road to get to Martinsburg in the timeliest fashion, but hey, that's all no cost to me! There's also a call from the manager of the service department, David, confirming that it's all better. Again. "See, what happened is, the factory installed air compressor..." I kind of stopped him right there because I knew it wasn't the factory installed air compressor in the car that could have done all this because they told me they replaced that with a new one 6/2/11. Oh, no, the story I now have is that they were not authorized to replace the air compressor on a new Fusion, it couldn't possibly be bad, they just replaced a pulley on the air compressor. Not sure where that is in paperwork from the first time that says "Compressor Assembly - Air Conditioner - REMOVE AND INSTALL OR REPLACE or FOUND SHORT IN COIL AND REPLACE COIL" but it must be in there because David assured me the only thing his techs did wrong was not call to keep me informed of the work being done. But wait, I have it on my answering machine still, Howie, stating they had replaced the air compressor but the new on was not holding a charge and so they had to wait for another one, but it's not like they've lied to me at this point, they just didn't keep me updated with the TRUTH. Ultimately, David said it was fixed. And I asked if I could put my life on that, because this car just suddenly stopping on a road like 270 or 495 or 66 or 267 would result in an accident and could result in my fatality. He said, "I can't tell you that because a car is man made and men make mistakes." But I have to trust these men that I have been dealing with, essentially with my life.
Friday, 6/24, I call again Ford Customer Relationship Center and state, at this point, all I want to know is do I have any option other than retaking possession of my car despite the fact that I now fear it and I have no faith in the assurance that "it's fixed." I speak to Larry, there is no talk of a buyback, just a statement that it's fixed, it's been detailed and he got me a full tank of gas. Big of them as it had over half in it when they got their hands on it. I got an email from Austin, who claims to be a customer "care" manager for Ford and he was "sorry to hear about the recent repair on your new vehicle. I have talked to the dealership and they have advised me that the car is repaired and has been returned to you." That certainly was news to me considering the courtesy car sitting the parking garage at my workplace and the plans I had to meet my parents at the dealership that evening to pick the car up unless I had ANY OTHER OPTION. Austin also, "would like to offer you a 5 year 75,000 ESP plan for your car. If you can please let me know if this is okay with you, as a loyal Ford customer I would like to do this as a good will gesture." I received that email at 2:03pm and replied to it stating that I may have been happy with that had it been offered earlier in the week when I was supposed to have gotten some kind of communication from his department, but in the days and events that had passed I no longer wanted anything to do with Ford or the car. I wanted my money back and to be done with it all. On my last 15 minute break at 3:45, I took out my cell phone and called the number Mr. Duggan provided me in his email. I told him what I'd been through. He confirmed that FORD did not authorize the correct repair the first time because they didn't believe it was the issue, but now it's been fixed. So I asked him, "What assurance do I have that you're not now authorizing the replacement of the air compressor to avoid having to replace the whole engine which has the actual problem simply because "it's a new car and this kind of thing doesn't happen to our new cars" despite the FACT that it has now happened to me TWICE in my first month of ownership?!" This is when SOMEONE finally told me that, "There is no replacement or buyback option in your warranty." And he then went on to say like it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, "We've extended your warranty to 5 years or 75,000." To which my response was, "What good does that do when at this point all I want is my money back for a car that I honestly don't think is going to make it to the original 30,000 mile warranty?" His response was, "I'm sorry, I couldn't make that out, you were breaking up." "Yes," I said, "because I'm crying." Wich I was, despite the fact that, I had work to finish and a very long drive ahead of me, but I could not hold them back any more over this stupid car. And the oh, so wonderful, gentleman from Ford customer "CARE" said, "Yes, I can tell," in response to my obvious upset. So I hung up on him.
Obviously, there is nothing else to say to them. If they had just said on Monday, we don't offer trades or refunds on our cars, go read your warranty sucker, it would have saved me a bit of head and heartache. Although, unless it's somewhere else, I can't find anything in the warranty guide that came with the car that says one way or the other whether they offer a replacement or buyback. So I left work knowing I was getting the car back and there was nothing I could do to change my situation and even though I no longer wanted the car I couldn't do anything with it without taking a significant financial loss by trading it in at a lower book value for a NEW new car. And I will not have my money wasted like that again. The Malibu I so loved and lost? It cost $8,900, but my loan was for $15,000 because dad had purchased a used Taurus to replace the one I wrecked and it was a junked with blown head gaskets and engine damage we couldn't afford to fix so it was traded in at a loss and the $5,000 negative equity from his loan went on to mine and you would have thought that'd teach me enough about Ford, but no. I GAVE THEM A CHANCE AND I LOVED MY CAR WHEN I FIRST BOUGHT IT!
So, I'm just waiting now for it to happen again, because 3 strikes pretty much anyone would agree the lemon is out. But Ford is quick with the salt in the wound. 7/5/11, 1:18pm, I received an email from RJ, Customer Service Manager.
"Dear Ms. Steiner,
Let me introduce myself. I am the new Customer Service Manager for the Kent Parsons dealership in your area, I understand the 2011 fusion that you had in for a a/c concern has been repaired and picked up at this time. I have attached my contact information should you have any concerns with the vehicle going forward and want to express my appreciation to you for letting us work with you to resolve this concern. I will be closing the concern at this time, but feel free to contact me or your local dealer should you have any additional questions or problems.
Ah, yes, that working with me they did by rendering me impotent and powerless to do anything but take all of this and have the car forced back on me as well. And, oh, that little a/c "concern." Here is the COR: for the 6/17 issue: "DIAGNOS, A/C pulley locked up causing belt to break-damage idler pulley and alternator, ids test pinpoint-P0217, evas and recharge A/C, replace A/C compressor-clutch-field-and pulley, replace alternator, replace idler and tensioner pulleys, m-time (CLEAN MELTED BELT FROM CRANK PULLEY AND WATER PUMP PULLEY) , charge battery, compressor would not come one-pinpoint test M-found blown fuse-replaced, retest and road test." Yep, sure sounds like a mere "concern" to me. But, hey, it's not like THAT'S gonna happen again. I mean, they wouldn't have made me take the car back and extended the warranty if they had any "concerns" about the safety of the vehicle, so my fears are pointless.
Through all this, I've learned it's not the car's fault, that's just a machine only as good as the people who made it. It's not even Kent Parson's Ford, I loathe from all of this, because I now know their hands were tied by the same warranty that's screwed me. The bad guys that have earned this complaint are the one's I foolishly and naively thought I could trust to help me with this mess, Ford manufacturing themselves. This is my first new car buying experience and the only time in my life I will ever put my name to anything Ford. The car is beautiful with many options, I would have taken a replacement and been happy to drive a Fusion before 6/24/11. Now, Ford is the foulest 4 letter "F" word you can utter in my presence. I have been treated like a melodramatic harpy, told essentially that new cars aren't built to last anymore, but hey, they're under warranty, so we'll give you a courtesy car and fix that up at *thumbs up, big whitened teeth grin* no cost to you and offered nothing but false sympathy. My work and life have been more disrupted by this car than by the accident that necessitated its purchase. I am disgusted by the "service" I have gotten from every point of contact, even my salesman, who was a nice enough guy, gets blame for not at least giving his manager a heads up about all this so someone may have thought it would be a nice touch to call me and offer an apology long before all this or to call and check on how the vehicle was holding up after the first issue, but no. I guess these people only have an incoming phone line. Those outbound calls can get expensive if you have to make them to everyone and not just the people who keep calling trying to get HELP.
Everything in this rant can be substantiated. I have the work orders, I have a few emails, some voicemails on my cell phone and most importantly, I think, we still have the recording at home from 6/2 stating the compressor was replaced when it so clearly now was not, but Ford doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong with those contradictory facts. We'll see what the Better Business Bureau's Auto Line policy has to say once they'rve reviewed everything I have.
I share this here because I need to get it out. If you can tell from the sarcasm and fury dripping from much of this, it's not healthy to harbor this kind of venom. Given how tight money is for me and so many of us, I also want to let it be known that if you're currently looking for a car and thinking of going with a Ford, imagine that it comes off the lot with a minor enough seeming issue at first then go see what consumers have to say about how the issue was handled/resolved. Do the research I didn't have time to given the time constraints to be in a drivable vehicle for my work.