Sunday, December 23, 2012

I knew I should have gotten an Xterra

The S.O. has posted about this, too, but what the heck, the more repetition the better. This blog doesn't get  a whole lot of traffic, but who cares? The bottom line is Ford Motor Company lies to its customers. We've been a Ford family forever, the few brand-new, fresh off the assembly line vehicles we've had have all been Fords, but never again. I had a minor issue with my Focus -- the battery died -- that according to the owner's manual should have been a no brainer. The company says they're so proud of their Motorcraft batteries they'll replace them free for 3 years from the day you get the car and will prorate a replacement for up to 100 months. It's in black and white in the manuals they hand you along with the keys.

When you read that verbiage, it seems pretty straight forward. Ford thinks their batteries are so great they'll stand behind them for a remarkably long time. Pshaw. That page is actually printed on Charmin.

Back in November when the S.O. discovered the battery had a dead cell, we figured we'd just have to plan on buying a new battery one of these days (he had a decent battery in one of his POS trucks so we stuck it in the Focus for now). Not long after that, he was looking at the recommended service schedule for the car and came across the page pictured above. So he called the Service Department at Copper Country Ford in Houghton. They told him that warranty doesn't apply to original equipment -- it's only good if you buy a replacement battery. Which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever if you think about it at all, because it's supposedly the same damn battery. Anyway, he got fed the same story when he called the Ford dealer, Fox Motors, up in Marquette.

So I called the national Ford Customer Service number. The first person I talked with started off doing the same speech as the dealers, but when I read her the verbiage and gave her the page number so they could look it up themselves, she put me on hold while she went to talk with someone higher up the food chain. When she came back, she said I was right and someone from the closest dealership (Copper County Ford) would contact me. Never happened, so I called back. Lots of apologies, a promise to expedite the case, and I'd hear from Copper Country Ford within 5 business days. Again, nothing happened. So I called back. This time it was back to the script the two dealerships had read from: "it only covers replacement batteries."

Well, it doesn't take a genius to realize there is absolutely nothing in the text pictured above to indicate it only applies to replacement batteries. It's a manual given to owners of brand new cars -- obviously, the guarantee is for original equipment.

Given that the amount of money involved at this point is fairly small -- and was in fact small to begin with (car batteries don't cost a lot in the overall scheme of things) -- Ford's complete unwillingness to honor their own written promise speaks volumes about the company. If they're going to refuse to cough up less than $100 toward a new battery, what's their reaction going to be if something major craps out on a car? If they won't honor the warranty on a battery, why should anyone believe they'd honor a warranty on a transmission or an engine?

Bottom line: if you're car shopping, stay away from Ford. I still love my Focus, but I know I'm never owning a new Ford again. And I'm really, really happy I never had to call for Ford Roadside Assistance -- I'd probably still be sitting by the side of the road somewhere waiting for help that never arrived.


  1. I've been a Chrysler person but always wanted my kids to drive Toyotas back in the days when they were better than most repair wise. Only Ford I ever owned was a pickup. Gas guzzler and always in for repairs.
    If it wouldn't cost more than it was worth, I'd take them to small claims court.

  2. I wouldn't give up on Ford's just because of a little battery issue, based on my experience as a Ford service manager it's not like them to give you the run around but it's been some years since I was in that game so maybe things have changed.

    Pretty sure that they don't want to lose a customer because of a battery that maybe only costs them 20 bucks though. Somehow you just keep falling through the cracks.

  3. Just tell them you will never buy their "new" electric car. You know the one that is just batteries. That will cost thousands to replace.


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