Ford won’t live up to its promise no matter how many emails I send

By | December 17th, 2016

Louis Peasley needs help with his Ford Flex sport utility vehicle. But Ford is giving him the silent treatment.

He wants us to help him, but he can actually help us today. Peasley is going to show us how not to ask a company for help.

In October 2013, Peasley bought a new Ford Flex sport utility vehicle along with a seven-year/75,000 mile maintenance plan for an additional $4,997.

The problems began 31 days after he took delivery. That was when he brought the vehicle to the dealer for a service appointment. Peasley says the service advisor refused to honor his maintenance contract that day and at two later appointments.

Peasley got angry, believing he had been defrauded. He wanted a refund for the cost of the service plan. So he started sending emails – repeatedly – to various names at the dealership. When that didn’t get him the result he wanted, he started sending emails to a list of names at Ford. He says, “I have emailed over 300 times and have written and mailed at least 30 times.”

You can probably guess what he got as a result of his carpet-bombing campaign. His email address is now blacklisted at both the dealership and at Ford.

He also wrote to the bank that financed his purchase since he included the cost of the maintenance plan in the car loan. They didn’t help either.

The letters he sent to the dealership, to Ford and to the bank, based on the samples he provided our advocate, had the tone of an angry, repetitive rant. The letters accused the dealer of deliberate deceit, fraud, and violation of federal and state consumer protection laws.

Related story:   The airline said it was a weather delay. This passenger thought otherwise.

Letters like that generally won’t win cooperation. Companies will tend to stop talking to you when you accuse them of violating the law. As you might expect, no one would even respond to us when our advocate inquired about his case.

There is an important question here: Why would the dealer refuse to service his car? I found a possible answer on the Ford website. Peasley bought what Ford calls their Premium Maintenance Plan.

Ford Protect Premium Maintenance Plans cover all scheduled maintenance as listed in the Owner’s Scheduled Maintenance Guide plus routine inspections and normal “wear and tear” items that require periodic attention. This is a prepaid plan, you pay nothing for covered services.

He sent us a copy of the plan’s signature page, which has a summary of the terms and conditions. That page says that the covered services are at 5,000 mile intervals. Did Peasley drive 5,000 miles in the one month between buying the car and taking it in for service? If not, the dealer might have been justified in refusing to do work under that plan. Was that the case? We don’t know. Peasley didn’t tell us and the dealer isn’t responding.

A further question to consider: Are the multiyear prepaid service plans that car dealers offer worth buying, especially with a new car? That’s a subject for a future article. However, a 2014 article on this site looked at a related issue – new product extended warranties. You can see what our readers thought about those in the poll that followed the article.

Why did Peasley wait three years after the problem started before he contacted us? We don’t know. It could be that the trigger event was a recent recall notice affecting his vehicle. He says no one at the dealership will communicate with him about that either. Of course, he could go to any Ford dealer to handle the recall work. And, according to the maintenance plan’s description, any Ford dealer will honor the maintenance contract. So why does he want to keep fighting with that one dealer? We can only wonder.

What we can do is learn from his example. There are valuable pointers on our website on how to resolve a consumer dispute or complaint. Those include how to write a complaint letter that works.

A letter more along those lines to appropriate Ford contacts might have had a better outcome for him.

We can also learn from good examples. Here is a recent article from our site about a consumer who advocated successfully for herself.

As for Peasley, his actions poisoned the well at Ford to such an extent that there is nothing we can do for him. So we have to dismiss this case.

  • PsyGuy

    Time to go to court.

  • RightNow9435

    $5000(approx) for a plan that covers only the first 75,000 miles. Sounds like something one would buy only if they expect their new vehicle to break down constantly.

  • MarkKelling

    The words that were placed in the article indicate that the maintenance plan purchased covered “all scheduled maintenance as listed in the Owner’s Scheduled Maintenance Guide plus routine inspections” which to me means oil changes tire rotation and so on. What was the purpose of the scheduled service appointment? The agreement does not appear to cover anything outside of the normally required maintenance. So if there was some other problem, you would hope it was covered under the basic vehicle warranty if the vehicle was actually new.

  • Rebecca

    Things like oil changes can be expensive at the dealer. When we had a new VW, it cost almost $100 to replace a headlight bulb. My old Buick, $8 and I did it myself in less than 5 minutes. Same with the older Ford I drive now. But the stupid VW had the bulb encased in such a way that you had to have a special tool, which of course was not cost effective to purchase to change a bulb a few times while I had the vehicle. So you’re stuck paying $100 to change a headlight bulb.

    And before anyone asks, no, this was not one of those $80 bulbs. I’ve had a car that had those too. This was a $10 bulb that they were simply making it so you couldn’t change it yourself.

  • greg watson

    I think so, & Ford would win that harassment suit too. The OP wasted money on an extended warranty, & was rude, to the max………………& we don’t even know what the real problem was.
    Oil Change ?……….or ???

  • greg watson

    Also,………..3 years ago ?

  • Harvey-6-3.5

    Sometimes a company has to fire a customer, when the customer is too disruptive. Here, it is hard to tell if the OP had a legitimate gripe originally or not, but after an interaction that was clearly outside the norm, the OP seems to have only one avenue, a lawsuit, which could only reasonably be pursued in small claims unless OP would rather lose money on a lawyer to get a refund from Ford.

    Where I work, we get our fair share of crazy customers, but must respond for as long as they are willing to pay. At some point, even any reasonable points they might make in the context of a lengthy diatribe are lost due to their attitude.

  • PsyGuy

    I don’t think you can sue for harassment at least not in this context. Where’s Carver when you need him?

  • Patrica

    Rebecca, it seems there are so many of these “you can’t do it yourself” things on cars recently. i have worked on cars (and still do at age 74), replaced engines, trannys,..yet one bulb out on the headlight APPARATUS on a $96000 Cadillac REQUIRES taking it to a dealer unless I am willing to buy tools AND expend a great deal of time..

  • Mark

    A friend of ours in Seattle had a Honda with repeated problems. Honda failed to repair it or replace it so he went to one of our three TV stations with his complaint. The station sent out a TV cameraman with one of their investigative reporters. Shortly after the segment aired on a newscast, his Honda was replaced by the dealership. Maybe Mr. Pealsey should give this idea a try. It worked for our friend

  • cscasi

    That’s interesting. How old was the Honda? Was it still in warranty and if so, was the issue or issues covered under the warranty? Was it a manufacturing defect?
    I have heard of these things happening now and then and I am glad he was able to get his Honda replaced. It is sad that one has to resort to this sort of tactic to get relief.

  • Mark

    Less than a year old

  • Tim Mengelkoch

    Maybe this has been mentioned but after only 30 days the car would have been covered under the original manufacturer’s warranty, not the extended one. So, why wouldn’t the dealer do factory warranty work?

  • greg watson

    You do realize that I meant that Ford should have sued the OP for harassment !

  • joycexyz

    The rule of thumb is–the more you pay for a car, the more you can expect to pay for every bit of service and every part.

  • Pat

    Based on the way it is written, I think this is a case of expectations that did not match what they paid for. A car should not need scheduled maintenance after 1 month. It sounds like the expection was that he could take the car in at any time for maintenance. Then when he did not get his way, he went nuclear and no one want to deal with him.

    Unfortunately those contracts are not worth the money paid. They are pure profit for the dealer. My Ford dealer just puts the form saying it was offered and I declined in front of me for me to sign. They already know I will say no.

  • Tricia K

    My local Subaru dealer includes a certain number of free oil changes with the purchase of a new car. I bought my Outback in 2010 and just now crossed the 50k mark (very rare occurrence for us) and I finally had to pay for an oil change. They lasted longer because we only change the oil every 5,000 miles. We got suckered on an extended warranty on a Honda (a few years back) plus oil changes (that we pre-paid). We moved out of state and didn’t get the value on the oil changes and because the extended warranty was based on miles as well as years, we ran up the mileage not long after the original warranty ran out. Generally speaking, whether it’s on a car or on an appliance, these extended warranties are a lousy deal. About the only one I would buy is for any laptop for your college student. I have gotten my money’s worth on those thanks to an irresponsible act or two by one of my children.

  • PsyGuy

    Yes I do, Ford doesn’t to my knowledge have a cause of action for harassment in civil court. At best the dealership can get a restraining order or have him arrested for trespass.

  • LonnieC

    You, too? I’ve worked on cars all my life, and I can barely do anything on my new Lexus hybrid. I can’t even tell what half of the things are for, under the hood. My ’65 Mustang convertible, on the other hand….

  • cscasi

    Thanks. My neighbor bought a new Ford pickup and had it for less than a month and discovered that rodents had checked up some of the electrical wiring in the engine compartment. The Ford dealership would not fix it. He complained to the regional and other higher up offices without any relief. He was told that he had to use his auto insurance; that it would pay to have it fixed and his insurance company did do that.
    The issue was that apparently the vehicle had been on the Ford dealership lot for a period of time before he purchased it and that is when the damage was done as he had parked the vehicle in his garage at home after getting it and had no rodent issues there.
    So, I would agree about Ford. Buyers should ensure they know exactly what type of warranty they have and what it does and does not cover before purchasing a vehicle.

  • greg watson

    Whoa ! I was just having fun with your ” Time to go to court ” comment !

  • JewelEyed

    That assumes it was warranty work. It sounds like routine maintenance, which is sort of preposterous after 30 days.

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