So here’s my story:
I have a 2007 V6 Ford Mustang that I purchased new in 2007. It currently has 36,200 miles on it. The drivetrain is under warranty for 5 years or 60,000 miles.
I’m driving home around 1am Friday morning when my car breaks down. I immediately know from the sound it’s either the transmission or differential that has gone. A great friend of mine, who I now owe a huge favor, drove an hour to come get me and take me home. I call Ford Roadside Assistance around 11am Friday to have it towed. Ford sends a tow truck and takes it to the closest Ford dealer. (Warning #1)
The car is dropped off at Northgate Lincoln Mercury in Tampa, FL. I notice they have NO Ford brand vehicles, just Lincoln and Mercury. (Warning #2) They say they’ll try to get to it as soon as possible and give me a call once they know something. In the mean time, I’m renting a car from the enterprise office they have on-site for $50 a day. This is just to be able to get to college and back. (Day number 6 and counting)
I get a call at 5PM Friday night, saying it’s the differential and a “engineer/specialist” will have to look at it on Monday, fair enough.
I get a call Monday morning, the “specialist” is out of town and will get to it tomorrow. (Warning #3)
I get a call Tuesday morning…the service manager (Chris Haggstrom) and the “Ford Field Service Engineer” have decided that my warranty claim has been DENIED. They state that “THIS VEHICLE HAS BEEN DRIVEN BEYOND ITS NORMAL DESIGN LIMITS.” (I would absolutely LOVE to know what Ford defines as “normal design limits”.) I had just woken up and couldn’t fully comprehend what was happening. I was speechless, the only response I could manage at the time was “Seriously?”. Chris said he would have one of his advisers call me with a quote for the repair. I asked Chris for the phone number for Ford’s Warranty Claims department, which I proceeded to call to find out how to appeal this decision. I was told: “the decision can’t be appealed but financial assistance can sometimes be provided”. I’m stunned that I’m totally helpless in this situation.
At this point, I get my father involved. He was the one who actually purchased the car, although the title is in my name. He contacts various people at Ford, as well as the service manager at the dealer, however, we’re still in square one.
The dealer wants $2,600 to repair the differential, which is absolutely ridiculous. I can order an entire rear end axle assembly with a differential online for ~$800. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have $2600 lying around to pay for something that shouldn’t cost me anything.
At this point, my only real option is to pay for this out of pocket and then sue Ford for reimbursement. However, I’m not giving Northgate Lincoln Mercury a penny. I’ll be ordering a new rear assembly online and having it shipped to a local shop that can swap it out.
Update 11/23: Since my VIN number was banned from any drivetrain warranty repairs at any Ford dealer, I didn’t have a whole lot of options. I paid out of pocket to have the vehicle towed to my local (excellent) Ford dealer (Walker Ford) and also paid out of pocket for a new rear end from newtakeoff.com, it was delivered to Walker Ford who installed it had it ready to go the same day.
I’ll now be seeking $2,133 in reimbursement from Ford. This is the exact cost of my rental car, new rear end, towing, labor, and the $109 I had to pay Northgate Lincoln Mercury for looking at my car.
I guess my point is this: If your Ford vehicle is under warranty, it’s as good as being out of warranty. Ford and/or your dealer can claim your vehicle is (insert generic clause here) and deny your warranty claim. Ford doesn’t honor their warranty or stand by their products, and the dealers (especially Northgate Lincoln Mercury which has fought me tooth and nail) don’t have any motivation to actually fix a problem unless they get money in their pocket.
So if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing warranty service on your Ford and happen to live in the Tampa Bay Area, be sure to stay away from Northgate Lincoln Mercury. Even if you have to pay for a towtruck yourself, it’s a fraction of what it will cost you if they deny your claim.
The Consumerist has picked up my story! http://consumerist.com/2010/11/ford-denies-my-warranty-coverage-due-to-vague-design-limits-reason.html
Documents from Ford:
For those of you thinking this is a “one in a million” occurance, take a look at the Google results for “Ford Warranty Denied”.