One Ford Complaint Resolution

Apr/30/2013 0 Malia Lane
Ford Escape - Towing Issues

An RVing friend of mine sent me the email included below in October of last year and I completely forgot I had never posted it, so in the spirit of better late than never, I’m going to do that now, following my own comments.

I guess this issue is back in the forefront of my mind since the three year extended warranty they gave me in 2010 to appease me is due to expire in August.  I was told by my regional Customer Assistance Center representative at the time that my case would not be closed even with this warranty, but that it was meant to cover me in case I had continuing problems, that she would always be available to help me, and that Ford engineers were diligently working on a final fix to the 6F35 transmission to make it flat towable as represented.

But due to my not being able to travel during the last year, I put it in the back of my mind and became busy with so many other things.  Now that I have a new motorhome (post about that coming soon) and I’m ready to hit the Natchez Trace Parkway, I looked up my warranty because I thought it expired in 2014.  I figured I had another year of towing to see if all the problems had been worked out by all the other work I had done on it.  The axle falling off during my 2011 tour around MI and a couple of other more minor fixes after that were the last times I had dealt with this issue.  But once I returned to Austin in November, 2011, I’ve never been able to take any long trips since then and have never towed the car.

Of course now I have to deal with it because there has been no fix from Ford and their only solution now is to have changed their minds about the Escape being flat towable.  They decided this part way through 2012 when, even though the manuals of 2012 Escapes they sold still said they were towable and people were still buying them based on that representation, they started sending out supplements to their dealers for inclusion in manuals for future sales that said they were no longer towable and doing so would void the warranty.  Hopefully dealers were including them in the manuals and no longer telling their customers that the Escape was not in fact towable, but I certainly don’t completely trust that.  Of course, they never sent this information to owners who had already bought 2012 models, but this was their start of just removing themselves from the towing market and to hell with those of us who were duped into buying them since 2009.

Anyway, I’m starting to deal with Ford and my dealer at Leif Johnson Ford again about this since I definitely no longer believe Ford will fairly take care of us without a whole lot of stink and lawsuits.  Although I can no longer reach “my” Customer Assistance Center rep, I talked to another one yesterday and was told that since they gave me their premium care extended warranty for three years, that closed my case!

I still hold out hope that Leif Johnson will work with me on this and we are in negotiations.  While there are some things I hold them responsible for, overall I think highly of that dealer, but especially their Service Director, Kevin Hopper.  He’s been my hero since the South Carolina dealer where I began having problems could not get a required part and he sent one from Austin to get me back on the road.  Ford as a company, on the other hand, I have lost all respect for and belief in and I would never even consider buying another Ford car.

Here’s the letter from my friend, but I will not use her name until I hear back from her that I have permission to use it:

For those of you who bought a 2009, 2010, 2111, or 2012 Ford Escape or another car with the 6F35 transmission in order to flat tow – you might want to read this.

We bought a 2009 Ford Escape in May 2009 in order to flat tow it behind our Motorhome. The first year was fine, but starting in Oct 2010, we had problems. Between Oct 2010 & July 2011, we had to have 3 transmissions replaced. All 3 burned up on the highway, traveling at 60 miles per hour (we always followed the flat towing instructions) while flat towing it. Ford replaced all 3 transmissions, had the car transported to us twice & paid for a rental car each time.

But due to the fact that smoke was pouring from the engine compartment each time, we were worried about our safety, not to mention the time involved waiting for the car to be fixed & the ruined vacations. We fought with Ford for almost 2 years. We filed formal complaints with the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration (NHTSA), the FTC, the Attorney General’s office in Florida, Ford Motor Co. & the Better Business Bureau Auto Line Program. The BBB Auto Line Program sent our complaint to Ford, who in turn denied there was a problem. It seems by replacing the transmission each time, they considered the car “fixed”.

Since that was unacceptable, we took them to arbitration, through the BBB Auto Line Program. We were able to do that in the state of Florida even though we were outside the Florida Lemon Law time frame. The BBB Auto Line Program has different guidelines in each state with different auto manufacturers. Check the requirements in your state. We did win in arbitration & Ford was forced to repurchase our car. The BBB Auto Line Program has a formula to figure out the repurchase price.

So we are once again “Happy Campers” towing a 2012 Honda CRV, which by the way doesn’t have any complaints about flat towing on the internet that we could find, unlike the Ford Escape. So our suggestion to any of you out there with a similar problem is to file formal complaints with the organizations I mentioned. The more people who do that, the better. Especially file formal complaints with the NHTSA & Ford Motor Co, since Ford must send all the complaints they receive to the NHTSA. My understanding is the NHTSA is still investigating this problem. And if you think you might need to go to arbitration, document everything – emails, invoices, pictures, phone calls, etc. The more you have to back up your complaint, the better. We truly believe that is what helped us win against Ford Motor Co. “

Like she said in her email to me, I hate to see Ford keep getting away with this!  Of course, I’d still like to hear feedback from y’all and any other tips and advice you have from your own experiences.

Happy trails!