Ford sucks; is anybody (affordable) any better?

By | July 31, 2006

My wife and I own a 1995 Ford Taurus, which we bought used, and a 2004 Ford Freestar, which we bought new, from Framingham Ford, in Framingham, MA. Framingham Ford has lived up to all the negative stereotypes associated with car dealerships. We will certainly never do business with them again. Furthermore, because of the experiences we’ve had with them, combined with the overall (lack of) quality in the two Ford vehicles we’ve owned, we hope to never own another Ford vehicle.

The trouble started when we negotiated the price of the Freestar. Ford had a factory rebate program going, which meant that several thousand dollars were knocked off the price up-front. We essentially agreed to pay the retail price of the van minus the factory rebate. Shortly after we bought the van, I realized that the dealership was going to get reimbursed by Ford for the entire rebate, which means that as far as they were concerned, we’d bought the van for full price. “Stupid, stupid, stupid,” I said to myself. “I could surely have gotten them to knock several thousand more off the price if only I’d been thinking things through at the time. They don’t really expect to make anywhere close to the retail price when selling to someone who’s driving a hard bargain.”

Yes, I was stupid, but after I got past thinking about how stupid I was to pay several thousand more for the van than I should have, the next question in my mind was, “Why does it have to be this way? Why do car dealerships, Ford and others, sell cars in a way which actively takes advantage of people? Why can’t they all just sell cars at a reasonable price? Wouldn’t everyone be better off if the price on the sticker were a real, reasonable, firm price, so that the dealership makes a reasonable profit and the customer doesn’t have a lingering suspicion that he’s been shafted?” I’m sure I’m not the first person to ask this question, nor will I be the last, but I’d really like to know — is there a good reason why car sales in this country work this way? Is there any company which sells new cars in the US which doesn’t act this way? I heard a rumor years ago that one of the hallmarks of buying a Saturn was that none of the Saturn dealerships haggle — the price you see is the price you get. Is that true? Does anybody else work this way?

Once we’d agreed on the price, the next sign that Framingham Ford was going to live up to all the negative stereotypes was when I was reviewing the final paperwork before signing it and found the infamous “paperwork fee,” this one for $115, snuck in near the bottom. Admittedly, I was a fool not to negotiate a better price, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to fall for the old “paperwork fee” scam. We dickered back and forth for quite a while about this stupid fee. Our saleseman pulled in at least two other people, including his boss, to explain to us how everybody paid this fee and it just didn’t make sense for us to be making such a big fuss about it. In the end, I said, “Look, if it’s so important to you that I pay this fee, then simply lower the price you’re charging me for the car by $115, and we’ll both be happy.” They readily agreed to this, and the paperwork was reprinted and signed with the new, lower price, but with the paperwork fee intact. We should have walked out of the dealership and gone somewhere else, but of course they’re trained exceedingly well to prevent customers from doing that, and my wife and I just didn’t want to waste any more time on finding a van.

Fast forward to last week, when I took the van to Totten Pond Shell, the service station I use for maintenance (Incidentally, they’re fast, honest and friendly, and I heartily recommend them. If you decide to use them, tell them I sent you; I get a $20 service credit for referring new customers! 🙂 ). The head mechanic told me when I picked up the van that they hadn’t bothered to rotate the tires because two of them needed to be replaced soon — one has a bubble in the sidewall and the other has a crack in the sidewall. Since all four tires are OEM Michelin tires which came with the van, and we’ve put less than 20,000 miles on it, both of the tires should still be under warranty, so I called Framingham Ford to arrange to get them replaced. They refused to honor the manufacturer’s warranty on the tires and informed me that I would have to go somewhere else. I said, “Let me get this straight. You’re telling me that even though I bought this van from you with these exact tires on it, you won’t handle warranty service on the tires?” The service “advisor” on the other end of the line confirmed that my understanding was correct.

Later that day, I just happened to be reading the Scheduled Maintenance Guide which came with the van, and I found this text in it:

When your tires need to be replaced, consider visiting your Ford or Lincoln Mercury dealership for name-brand tires and people who know your vehicle. And if your Ford or Lincoln-Mercury dealership sells the name-brand tire, they can also honor the tire manufacturer’s warranty.

I called Framingham Ford back and asked them if they sell new Michelin tires for Ford vehicles, and they confirmed that they did. I then faxed them this letter. Yes, I was playing the role of demanding, pain-in-the-ass customer. Yes, I was making demands which I was fairly certain they would fail to meet. But were my demands unreasonable? Was it unreasonable for me to be pissed and act that way, given that they’d refused to honor the warranty on tires they sell, contrary to Ford’s corporate policy and doubtlessly also contrary to their contract with Michelin? No, I don’t think I was being unreasonable. Looking at it another way, as Jeffrey Gitomer points out in his wonderful book, Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless, every angry customer is an opportunity to create a happy customer. If Framingham Ford had viewed by angry letter as an opportunity to acknowledge that they screwed up and do whatever it takes to make it right, they would have made me happy and quite possibly earned future business from me.

Instead, true to form, they waited over four hours to call me back, late enough in the day that it was impossible for them to do anything to solve my problem that day as I’d asked. The guy who called me was rude and argumentative. He acknowledged that his service department could, in fact, honor the warranty on my tires, but he never apologized for the fact that they refused to do so when I’d called to ask about it. He again tried to convince me that I’d be better off going somewhere else to get the tires replaced. While remaining argumentative throughout the call, he repeatedly asked me, “Are you going to be argumentative or are you going to work with me?” In the end, I told him I really had no idea how I wanted to proceed with him or even whether I wanted to proceed at all, and he told me to call him back when I knew what I wanted to do.

Instead, I sent this letter to Ford’s corporate customer relations center. If they bother to respond, I’ll post their response here.

I could tell you about all the little things that have gone wrong with the Freestar that shouldn’t have, but I won’t bother. Suffice it to say that the quality of Ford’s vehicles seems only marginally better than the quality of their customer service.

We knew when we bought the Taurus, and later when we bought the Freestar, that Ford has a reputation for mediocre quality. We bought them anyway, for various reasons which aren’t worth going into. What we didn’t know was just how terrible Ford’s customer service is. Ford has squandered the opportunity to turn us into loyal Ford customers and has instead guaranteed that Ford vehicles will be the absolute last ones we consider for any future automobile purchase.

So, who should we look at instead? Yes, I’m interested in quality, but that seems less important to me right now than customer service? Which dealerships treat their customers with respect? Which dealerships price their vehicles openly and honestly, so that customers don’t feel dirty after negotiating for a new car? Which dealerships treat their customers with respect and competence after the sale? Are the only dealerships which do this the ones which sell cars that my wife and I can’t afford?

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62 thoughts on “Ford sucks; is anybody (affordable) any better?

  1. Anonymous

    I have a 1998 Expedition with over 100,000 miles. The greatest vehicle I’ve ever driven! Never had a problem, it’s now over ten years old and runs perfect.

  2. george

    I am the unfortunate owner of a 2002 Ford Explorer that died in the middel of the road with no prior warning.
    Turns out the engine is blown at 49000 miles!
    Apparently a gasket inside the engine blew allowing water to flow into the motor.
    I’ve owned 4 different Explorers since 1990 and all Ford can tell me is that the car is too old. Too Old at 49000 miles!!!
    They want 5k to replace the engine and Ford could care less. They refuse to back up their product.
    I would advise anyone to avoid Ford products at all costs. I know they have lost me FOR LIFE!

  3. paul

    I am so sorry for the treatment of our citizens by the criminals at Ford.I had my first and last experience with Ford in 1971.I bought a Pinto and kept it for 3 yrs.I spent alot of time at service and haggling to keep it running and make them live up to the warranty.I won’t waste any tears when this company goes under, and under it will go because it sells garbage and there are so many other companies that sell good products out there.I have a friend who bought a ford mustang and at the same time I bought a honda accord.Thirteen yrs later I gave the honda to my son as his first car who drove it for 3 yrs.I had replaced less than $200 in parts in those 160k miles.His mustang was in the junk yrd with less than 59k mile and only 8 yrs.It just fell apart.He,like me only buys imports now.End of story.

  4. Anonymous

    All I really want to say is how much I Really Hate FORD and the dealers that sell sell ford products. THIS MEANS YOU SANTAN FORD in Gilbert AZ
    Lance in fleet sales you scumbag piece of shit! I AM …going to get you fucker.

  5. John Masterson

    Iversen Ford in Billerica MA has treated me fair. I guess I am lucky I have serviced my 2002 Ford Ranger and 2001 Ford Tauras there since new and have no complaints. Go Iverson

  6. joanne



    LOL…..luv this!!

  7. joanne

    all i have to say is rip off…we bought a 2006 ford freestyle and we were one week late on the bill..I had called to let them know the payment would be a few days late because i was in the hospital..well, 2 nights later well actually 4am they repoed our car…with all our stuff in it..brought it to a tow yard and told me i had 24 hours to claim my stuff..well i called ford to see what was going on they told me id have to get another loan all together..for $20,000 i told them “no way” i went to claim my items in the car that included personal paperwork and bank slips and they had already taken it to be auctioned off with all my stuff, the plates which they neglected to take off, and my childrens carseats…well lets just say i never got any of that back…they ended up auctioning off our car for half the price our loan was..and want us to pay the remaining $14,000…well sorry but no, i do not have it i am in a finacial hardship right now due to medical reasons they are taking us to court in march and i can’t wait to speak my thoughts…I think this is unjust and hell no will i pay for a car that i dont even have…….any one else have this experience…i will not mind emails, because i am not sure how to handle this…

  8. ricardo

    i have a freestar 2004 and Im really happy with it always treat me cordial in the agency here in mexico and never brake down only fix the claxon and they lent me another car for a day

  9. jik Post author

    Apparently Ford doesn’t share your rosy outlook about the Freestar, since they stopped manufacturing it at the beginning of 2007.

  10. Alvin

    Am from India, and ford service sucks big time. Its been 2 weeks since i gave my car for service, those screwed up further and are trying to bill me when am covered under extended warranty. Inspite of sending several emails and phone calls, no one seems to be bothered about customers. My car is still in the service, I dunno when am going to get it back.

    Gosh, am angry at ford !

  11. dj88

    I just purchased a new 2007 Ford Focus on Oct. 28, 2007from Ancira Ford in Floresville, TX. when i drove off the lot the thing vibrated so bad. I called the next morning to report it and my salesman, KERBY KALE; asked me what i had done to it. by the time i went back to the shop, Nov. 1, 2007; i noticed a problem with the brakes grinding, a horrible smell that filled the rear of the cab where my infants sit and a ringing/whinning sound coming from the engine. The dealership in Floresville could not address any of the problems, (or would not). I picked it up only having to bring it back again. this time i left it there until the 16th of Nov. I then took it to a different dealer who in 20 minutes told me the smell was from LOT OF SPIDER webs along the exhaust system with field grass. i argued with both the dealer and ANCIRAs customer service department. They were not any help, just like the dealership. The Sales Manager, Clay Cliffton told when asked what he was going to do to help me with the car. his remark with a cowpoke accent was, “WE DON’T MAKE THE CAR, WE JUST SELL THEM.” talk about a piss poor attitude. Yes it is true that bad customer service travels fast as every vendor i deal with knows of the issue and where or who not to buy from. I did get another vehicle traded. another ford focus 07. GUESS WHAT? yes, you guess. this one is a piece of shit like the other one. bad vibration that two dealerships cannot correct and again the response is there is nothing they can do that i should call Ford Motor company. But after reading some letters on here, why bother. If i could get some cash, i may have to hire an attorney. this who thing is taking time away from my family, and i am a single parent with infant twins and a 7 year old. NOW WHERE CAN I GO? THIS REALLY SUCKS! FORD REALLY SUCKS!!!!! ANCIRA DOES NOT HAVE GOOD CUSTOMER RELATIONS.


    I live in mass, and the worse service shop in this area has to be watertown ford,e- mail me and i will send you many copies of work supposedly perfomred but nevre was on a used vehicle in 2006.steer clear of this dealer and their repair service if you want
    you auto fixed correctly. Please check the BBB of greater mass for any further informtation on this dealer. complaint filed with bbb..Their location is 672 pleasant st. watertown mass o2476,but with all he problems I’ve had this dealer locale should be called un-pleasant street.

  13. jik Post author

    What’s the CRC?

    We ended up giving up on our Ford Freestar and buying a Honda Odyssey. We traded in the Ford, although not for a heck of a lot of money, and managed to bargain the Honda dealership down to just about the Consumer Reports start-negotiations-here price. So far we’re quite happy with the Odyssey.

    Kia wasn’t really an option, since we needed an 8-seat minivan, and Kia doesn’t offer one.

  14. Jeremy

    I feel your pain.

    Suggestion, try a Kia. A friend of mine gave me his old 2001 Kia Rio and ever since i’ve been able to drive it, it has been one great blessing. I even think God asked him to give the car to me.

    BTW, don’t call the CRC, they don’t train their agents, nor do they give them much information.

  15. R Michel

    Maybe I am one lucky boy, I have been driving Fords (commercial and personal use) since 1975 and I have never had a problem. Yes, some dealerships hire nyuks off the street and ask them to work 7 days a week for 12 hours a day (commission -only) in hopes of making $600K a year, and it isn’t going to happen. Many dealership owners are greedy and pocket the cash and let their business go to hell. Any business that acts without integrity deserves what it gets…just as customers who go in uninformed and sign contracts without reading deserve what they get. Heads up, eyes opened.

  16. Robert

    On Feb. 8, 2006 we entered into a contract with Ladin Lincoln Mercury, Ford Motor Company and Ford Credit. We have issues with the vehicle that affect the safety and value of this 2006 Lincoln Navigator. Ladin installed items to the vehicle at the time of sale so as to make a sale (extra charge) but in doing so voided the factory warranty (airbags) and our safety. During the course of the other mechanical failures including the airbag issue the dealer said we need to lemon law out the vehicle and gave me the paperwork and numbers to call to get it started. Shortly after they had a lawyer send me a letter saying to stay away from the dealership and I am no longer welcome there. I was forced to take the vehicle to Kemp Ford in Thousand Oaks who has refused to work on it because of Ladins involvement, Ford Motor company’s notations in the Oasis database and the internal documents they call Cuddles. Kemp as well as other dealers have said they did not want to get involved as Ford will not pay the claims and leaves them. I contacted the California DMV and was instructed by a Mr. Joe , a DMV criminal investigator 805-xxx-xxxx, who directed me to Ford in Ventura. The friendly staff at this dealership said Ford has made notations all over the system not to work on this vehicle under warranty and they will not pay for any warranty repairs. There is much more to this deal I have as evidence including the selling dealer submitting fraudulent documents to the lender, I have been disabled for over three years yet the dealer had me sign a blank credit application saying it was for us to test drive the vehicle. The dealer then completed the loan application making up information. I have requested Ford Credit to suspend payments until the lemon action, not yet filed, has been completed but they have refused. I informed them that Ford Motor Company is in breach of our contract as they are refusing to honor the written factory warranty and have blocked us from getting contractual warranty repairs done or even looked at and repaired. The vehicle has been in storage for two months and we have been making all the payments and paying full coverage insurance premiums. As an added note the Service manager at Ladin Lincoln Mercury in Thousand Oaks told me to take the vehicle to Mexico leave it there and report it stolen as we have gap insurance.
    After the selling dealer with Fords Motor Company’s blessing refused to honor the factory warranty and we had been told to take the car to Mexico and report it stolen they also told us to buy another car if we did not feel safe. We did and now are making payments on two cars. I cannot in good faith sell this dangerous Lincoln Navigator to another family as it is dangerous vehicle. We have been lifelong Ford customers but will no longer purchase one of their products after being treated in the manner they have treated us. We need to find a lawyer willing to take them to task as they have breached the contract we have with them but seem unconcerned about that or our safety or customer service.
    Also please advise anyone who is considering using Ladin Lincoln Mercury in Thousand Oaks, CA to avoid them as even other Ford dealers are now having issues with them. The submit doctored documents and if you have private matters do not tell Jim Ladin unless you don’t mind the world knowing your personal business…Ask Lenny Dykstra….

  17. Rita

    Ford customer service is horrible! I had my Mach 1 Mustang repaired at their collision center shortly after it’s purchase. After Ford having my vehicle for almost 2 months (because they admittedly lost parts) they began to harrass me. I began receiving calls from the dealership ( voicemails saying this is so and so wanting to speak with you about your service) First off, I am not returning this phone call because I have already filled out their damn customer survey and refuse to fill another one out. I was unhappy with the service and wanted to be done with it. These phone calls continue off and on for the next three months. Then.. I get a voicemail saying they are pressing charges against me for theft of services. Im outraged! WTF? What the hell did I do? 5 months later?

    Long story short. When I picked up my vehicle, the lady ( the one placing the phone calls to me) handed me all my paper work, apologized for the delay in service, i signed stuff, asked if there was anything else, she says no and gives me my keys. I leave.. happy considering they had the car longer than I had owned it.

    Come to find out, I owed the deductible of my insurance. I had no idea. I had never filed a claim before and was in such a hurry to leave it never occurred to me to ask.

    I returned the rude and threatening voice mail immediately. ( She called me names, insulted myfamily, threatened and harrassed me in the voicemail which I still have saved) She begins screaming at me, calling me a criminal, and for me not to play stupid I knew I owe them money. After a shouting match I ask to speak to her manager because this whole situation was ridiculous. He gets on the phone and uses the same technique. Accuses me of avoiding them. ( yes – I did not have anything to say to them and they never told me what they wanted) Then he accuses me of not accepting any of the FOUR certified letters demanding money. I calmly told the guy I had received NOTHING from these people EVER saying I owed them a dime. Longer story short, they mixed my file up with another customer and were mailing her the letters and calling her at work. One they realized I never received any certified letters or got any phone calls about me owing money they were very apologetic…. but I do not care. Nothing excuses the manner they treated me in. He then asked… Well would you like to pay with a CC over the phone so we can settle this matter. My response…. No thank you, I will be there bright and early Friday morning to personally hand u a check and show you the human being’s face that you have harrassed and insulted…. put a face with my name – Never call me again.

  18. Robert

    Ford Motor Company and its local Lincoln Mercury dealer in Thousand Oaks California have not only refused to do warranty repairs the dealer has refused to even allow us on their lot. They installed illegal devices on our new vehicle and have compromised the air bag system. We have smelled electrical burning and have severe brake problems. For d stated unless they see it on the computer they will not look any further.
    Before our falling out with the dealership we had been asked to let them remove the device from the vehicle before Ford found it.
    The dealership said Ford would rather payout an injury or death settlement as it is far cheaper than having to recall thousands of defective vehicles.
    I would stay away from Ford and this local Lincoln dealership located in Thousand Oaks California.
    We had taken the vehicle to another Ford service center but Ford added notes to the system not to work on our vehicle. A service writter who spoke before he spoke informed us of this fact.
    Is this not a breach of the lease agreement…Any Lawyers out there?

  19. James

    FORD sucks. My 2003 Expedition has been at the dealer for 2 Months waiting on parts, Catalytic Converter to be exact. Nobody from Ford will return my calls, they just tell me there is nothing they can do. Dealer won’t let me pick up the car unless I sign a release waiver, as the truck could catch on fire. Ford doesn’t even feel like they owe me a rental car. The part is under warentee, but does not cover anyghing but the part and labor. 2 F-months, and I still don’t have a responce from them when it will be done.

  20. Finn

    Finally got rid of my wife’s 2001 Ford Escape. Will never buy another Ford again. This car needed three transmissions. The first one went at 42,000 miles. Ford agreed to pay half towards a rebuilt transmission. That transmission went bad at 68,000. Ford would not do anything, dealership or corporate. So much for quality is Job 1. Since the third transmission we have been trying to sell but there is no interest. At 75,000 miles the transmission slipped when putting in reverse. Later that week we traded it in for a 2000 Toyota Camry and had to pay 2,000 above trade-in value for this car. What a relief to be out of that Escape. Still paying off the third transmission. It had multiple recalls in addition to the transmission problems. I am convinced it was another part like the Power Control Module that was causing these transmissions to go bad. All Ford had to do was admit it and we would have replaced that part (much cheaper than a new transmission) but no, they acted like it was the first time anyone had a problem with the Escape.

  21. Joey

    Service is bad everywhere, I live in Kentucky and am getting the run around. I bought (on the same day and paid cash) for TWO brand new F-150’s last summer. This winter I noticed that whenever I used the 4 wheel drive the wheels seem to jerk at low speed, like pulling into a parking spot. My wife has the same truck and does not have this problem. I took it into the Ford Dealership off Route 18 (I-75 exit 181) in Florence, KY and while out on a road test with the mechanic the truck jerked and the guy said “that’s normal” then all of a sudden we heard this big “clunk” in the back and the mechanic looked at me & said “that does not sound good.” Here we are 2 days later and I have heard nothing about the truck, so I called and was told “Oh, you can come and get your truck there is nothing wrong with it.” So I asked if anyone even looked at it and was told “No” we took it for a drive and determined nothing was wrong, but if you want us to take it apart and look further then we will charge you for that.” Its under warranty but apparently that means “Jack”
    I am right with a previous writer about customer service, obviously they do not know that statistically 92% of all customers who leave because of bad service NEVER return and you lose additional business because of the people they tell about there bad experience.

  22. terry

    I have a 02 F350 power stroke crew cab 40,000$ dumb a$$ but anyway i had a leak in a return fuel line from the injectors to the filter housing less than 18 inches long there is a bracket that is made to hold it and that is what made the hole FORD enginering flaw this part is a 1/4 in steel line 18 inchs long everyone will do the same thing it cost 60$ cost 5 bucks to make max FLEECED i could have fixed it with a hose and 2 clamps but it took 2 1/2 hrs to get it out so i asked the parts guy how many of these they sold in 06 he told me 8 there is 3000 or so dealers in the us i ask the customer service person on the phone ( she hung up on me ) so at anyrate 3000 x 8= 24000 x 60=1,440,000 FLEECED BY FORD

  23. Don

    In my opinion, there are plenty of good used vehicles out there that I will never have to purchase a new one again. State auctions are a good source of used vehicles. We have purchased several from the Texas DPS in Austin. They almost always have high performance engines and suspension. Everything is overkill, the cooling system, external engine oil cooler, power steering coolers, and tranny coolers, heavy duty air conditioners, large tire option, HD brakes, silicone radiator hoses. I have purchased some very good vehicles from them. In Texas, you can look at the vehicle maintenance logs before the auction and see if one has been wrecked or something.

  24. Dave

    Ill second arntzvilles comment about Herb Chambers. I ordered a new BMW from them and waited the 3 months for it to come in from the fatherland. It was completely wrong in spec , could not actually show me the car but directed me to the room where “Johnny” sat waiting for my 35 grand. Never again. I bought a used 525i for 18k less from European Engineering in Framingham. Good experience from them.

  25. Steve Marish

    I will NEVER again buy a Ford vehicle, since they hired that new guy and paid him $20 million before he even stepped foot in his office. Then they proceeded to lay off thousands of people and close factories. What ever happened to ‘doing the right thing’ in this country? I hope they go completely out of business and close their doors forever!

  26. Michael

    My wife and some friends have used a Boston-area buyer’s broker named Robert Aron ( to purchase their cars, and avoided all the hassle of negotiating a price, talking to salesmen, and arranging test drives with the dealerships (Robert takes you on those). On my wife’s purchase of a new Corolla, his fee was offset by the much lower price he was able to get from the dealer than we would have gotten. And he’s a decent guy, and I’d strongly recommend him to anyone who doesn’t enjoy the cost (in stress, time, and money) of negotiating with car salesmen.

  27. Don

    A Pro Chevy rhyme for your entertainment

    My ’81 Chevy, refuses to die,
    While Energizer bunny, hitches a ride,
    He rode in a ford, and feels like a chump,
    And now he’s tired, and may need a jump,

    Three hundred thousand, and still going strong,
    I stand on the throttle, all the day long,
    Carbureted and heavy, so so on gas,
    Only half throttle, still kicking your A$$!

    Very few parts, do I ever need,
    Cheap and plenty, endless indeed,
    Big and Brown, with chrome wheels to boot,
    Factory paint, the Chicks dig it too!

    Runs everyday, without a glitch,
    While you and your ford, are stuck in the ditch,
    Transmission, clutch, fuel pump or brakes,
    How much more can your wallet take!

    I’ll tow you in, in my Chevrolet,
    Better use a trailer, your brakes might fade,
    Come to think, I’ve changed my mind,
    Your brand new ford, may burst into fire!

    The end! HaHaHa!


  28. Don

    I wish Honda would give us a full size truck with at least a 300 cubic inch V8. Knowing Honda, It would probably be at least 1 hp per cubic inch or more.

    I once cursed the Japs, for the junk they made,
    While repairing on my ford, in the shade,
    Then I grew up, and became aware,
    Never again, a ford I swear!

    Customer service, and warranty’s a joke,
    One the side of the road, in my power stroke,
    Transmission again, third times a charm,
    I’m now on my way, to the funny farm!

    Looking to trade, but no one will talk,
    Looks like from here, I’ll have to walk,
    Off to the lake, my boat I’ll take,
    On the ramp I forgot, to set the brake……

    The end…..


  29. jik Post author

    This is off-topic,but the reporting of large cash transactions is hardly “anonymous” — there’s actually a strictly regulated system in place for which transactions have to be reported and how, and the reports go to the Federal government, not to the local police.

  30. Don

    The only way I will ever purchase a new vehicle is to pay cash in full, and I don’t mean a check, credit card, cashiers check etc. I plan to walk in Italian style with suitcase full of green FRN’s (Federal Reserve Notes) alreading knowing exactly what I want to purchase. I’m not answering any questions or asking any, the less me and the salesman say to each other the better, because if they start talkin’ I’ll start walkin’. I don’t want “special clearcoat sealer” or Interior “Scotchguard” protectant. By the way, If you bring large amounts of cash you are considered a criminal suspected because you have too much money and may be anonymously reported to the Police by someone at the dealer. No kidding. I once purchased a new Ford T-bird in 1993 and at about 6,000 miles on the car one night far from home we had a flat and there was no lug wrench in the car! To top that, the dealer that we purchased the car from, Bill Utter Ford in Denton Tx. would not give us one! So I purchased one from an auto parts store.

  31. jik Post author

    I just don’t agree that it’s OK for any business to screw over customers who aren’t “smart.” It’s unethical and immoral. I realize that this attitude that it’s OK for businesses to get away with anything they can, as long as it isn’t outright illegal, is prevalent in society nowadays, but I still think it’s wrong.

  32. ROB

    A smart customer gets the best deal, with all the information that is available today about car purchasing anyone who feels that they got screwed by a car dealer should get screwed. All dealerships will discount a car as far as they can go if it means selling a car. People have been complaining about car dealerships since the beginning of car sales. I have purchsed 7 cars in my lifetime and have always felt like I got the best deal because I knew everything about the car I was purchasing including how much they could go down. Its easy to say they screwed me after you let them. It is an entirely new industry and all consumers should use the internet for what it is full of KNOWLEDGE!

  33. Don

    To fords credit, I must say that I bought, drove and eventually sold three Texas DPS Mustangs before I bought the new fords in the early 90’s. Two ’87’s and one 1988 model. Other than the infamous ford heater core and fuel pumps, these cars were indestructable. All were 5.0 liter, 5 speeds with 3.08 gears. Probably one of the best balanced bang for the buck factory hot rods I ever drove and got good mileage too. Don’t let the 225 hp rating fool you, these little guys would scream. I am reading that the Mustangs of today are plagued with all kinds of problems like so many other ford products. I hope the new guy can get them back on track. Don

  34. Don

    I have nothing but bad experiences with ford vehicles and their customer service. I bought two new fords in the early 90’s and they are the last fords I will ever own. My dad gave me a nice 93 ranger which sat in my driveway for months until I sold it, I refused to drive it. My Chevrolets have given phenominal service, and both were bought used. I personally do not know about GM’s customer service because I have never needed to call them, but it doesn’t take much searching on the net to figure out who takes care of their customers and who don’t…. Fords junk is catching up with them.

  35. jik Post author

    I had ot order a replacement passenger-side mirror for our Freestar, because the old one fell off (due to yet another Ford design flaw). I decided to give Muzi Ford a try, based on the recommendation someone gave in an earlier comment. They’ve got a form you can use on their Web site to send a parts inquiry, which is cool in and of itself. I used it, they got back to me quickly, I called and ordered the part easily, it was priced reasonably, it arrived quickly, they called me when it arrived, I picked it up the next day, and they were friendly and helpful throughout the experience.

    Even more amazing is that their service and parts departments are open until MIDNIGHT.

    These guys definitely have potential.

  36. arntzville

    Whatever you, don’t buy a car from any of the Herb Chambers dealerships. They are some of the slimiest people (outside of the real estate industry) that I’ve ever had the displeasure of dealing with. Truly odious. After my bad experience, I’ve spent the last three years directing people away from them every chance I get.

    The only car brand that I’ve ever heard consistently good things about with regard to customer service (both in sales and service) is Lexus. But you were looking for affordable…

  37. ptcakes

    We got a Chevy Suburban from Connolly Chevy six years ago on Rt 9 in Framingham, and we have been very happy with the vehicle and the service.

  38. altira

    Next time, follow the rest of the country in buying a Toyota! I looked up the dealer’s price on-line ahead of time and then called around to find the best rate. Wellesley Toyota gave me a great rate, no haggling, and a thoroughly enjoyable experience all around.

  39. jabbett

    We own a 2004 Chevy Malibu, which we’re very happy with, but buying it new at Hillcrest Chevy in Salem was, like yours, a harrowing experience. I knew far more about the car than the salesman, and he insisted on selling me the vehicle on his lot, rather than one in the configuration I asked for.

    As for service, we’d taken it for warranty work at Clay Chevrolet in Newton a few times… always very friendly, never an argument about warranty coverage, but never thorough — they broke something each time they fixed something. Since they closed down, we’ve taken our car to Muzi Ford/Chevrolet in Needham — very professional, friendly, and thorough so far.

  40. Jason

    I’m sorry you had such a bad experience at Framingham Ford. My family has purchased several cars from them – from a 1972 Torino wagon to my new 2000 Mustang. While the fit and finish of the Mustang is not 100% (but it’s pretty close for the price I paid), the dealership was pretty honest with me, and at the end of my lease when I purchased the car, the process was 100% painless. They followed my lease agreement to the letter, and the price which was stated in 2000, was the price I paid for the car. You should check with the BBB to see what they can do… good luck!

  41. jik Post author

    I got this form letter back from Ford yesterday:

    Dear Jonathan Kamens,

    Thank you for letting us know about your experience with your dealer.

    Pleaes accept our apology for the circumstances you described. Excellent dealer service helps us maintain our customers’ goodwill. When that service affects you, we need to know. Customers such as you give us information that helps keep dealer services at the highest possible level.

    Because our regional personnel work directly with the sales and service activities of Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealers, the information you provided has been forwarded to the appropriate Regional Office for their records. We are certain they will want to know about your situation. For future reference, should you need assistance beyond that provided by your dealer, please contact our Customer Relationship Center at the above address or by calling us toll free at 1-800-392-3673. Hearing impaired callers with access to a TDD may call 1-800-232-5952.

    We regret the situation that caused you to contact us and hope we can regain your confidence in our products and the service of our dealers around the world.

    Thank you for taking the time to contact Ford Motor Company.

    I am not impressed.

  42. jik Post author

    Watertown Ford is another dealership whose service department I won’t use anymore.

    Then there’s Waltham Ford, which was slightly better when it was Main Street Ford before it got bought out and renamed by the Watertown Ford folks.

    Like I said in the letter I sent to Ford’s corporate HQ — I’ve yet to find a Ford dealership service department I’m actually willing to do business with.

  43. burnedbyford

    I had a similar experience when negotiating to buy a used van frmo Watertown Ford last year. The snake that I talked with pulled out every trick in the book — “oh yeah, it was owned by an old lady –this van’s been treated like a queen”. When I asked about the the Mass Department of Corrections sticker in the back window, and all the cigarette burn marks on the dashboard, he admitted he didn’t know about that. Then when I said I was going to go home and get the carfax information, he told me not to leave, he’d get it himself. He went back to his office print it out, and when he didn’t come back for five minutes, i went to see what was up. He was whispering with another sales guy, and wouldn’t look me in the eye when I asked to see the carfax report. It revealed it was rebuilt in Texas, and was filled with all kinds of warnings. Needless to say I didn’t buy the van, but someone else surely did. Caveat emptor!

  44. jik Post author

    I find it hard to wrap my brain around your statement that Framingham Ford is under no obligation to honor the warranty on my tires. They sold them to me with the van, they sell Michelin tires off the rack (as opposed to on a new vehicle), and the Ford Scheduled Maintenance Guide says that they can honor the warranty.

    On the other hand, I just visited Michelin and searched for authorized Michelin dealers in Framingham, MA, and Framingham Ford didn’t come up in the search results. I’m not sure if this means that Framingham Ford is not authorized to sell Michelin tires, or if Michelin puts them in some special category because they’re a dealership.

    All of this is, to a large extent, beside the point, because a decent service department with a clue about building customer loyalty would have gladly agreed to honor the warranty when I called, rather than giving me the runaround. Whether they’re obligated to do so is really irrelevant, since merely doing what they’re obligated to do is way below the threshold of barely acceptable customer service.

    Jerry Chase is the guy who called me first in response to my letter. As I noted above, he was less then helpful. Apparently, the cluelessness about building customer loyalty extends all the way to the top. This is not surprising, since consistently great customer service requires a customer service culture supported and modeled by the highest levels of management.

  45. BF

    Of course a car dealer’s service department is profitable. A lot of places, it is where almost half the profits come from. First off, they are selling labor and parts, which are loaded with margin. They also tend to do a lot more for customer loyalty when done right, so much so that a long-term service customer will get treated like a king by a good dealership. Nowadays, with so many integrated electronic sensors and controls and navigation and radio/sat. radio/dvd systems and OnStar and blah blah blah, people just don’t feel comfortable bringing the car to the guy down the street.

    As I understand it, Framingham is under no obligation to do the warranty work. However, it is clearly a losing move, given the outcome of your case so far. A good service guy will save more customers than even bad salesmen can drive away, but a bad one (service manager, I would guess?) just can’t understand how loyalty works. Can’t see the forest for the trees, as they say. Try talking to the sales managers, Brian Jones or Bill Phillips, or even go to Jerry Chase Jr if you want to be heard. Jerry owns the joint, and the other 2 have at Least 6-7 years in place at FF.

  46. jik Post author

    Do the dealerships make any money from their service departments? Independent of the issue of how offensive it is how new cars are sold, there’s also the issue that I’ve never encountered a decent service department at a dealership, and many other people have similar complaints. This makes me suspect that perhaps the service departments don’t make money and the dealerships only have them because they need to.

  47. abbasegal

    Car dealerships are independantly owned and operated, so they are all competing with each other, despite the fact that they are selling commodities. Their incentives lead them to cutting deals (on example: if they meet a certain quota, they get an extra N dollars per car from the dealer — thus a dealer who is 2 cars away from that quota might be willing to even take a paper loss on a particular car if it means extra profit overall for the quota period).

    The system sucks, but it can be played. I bought our van (a Toyota, which we absolutely love and will be sad to sell when we move) using a “FAX attack” as described by the kit I bought from I may not have gotten the absolute best deal possible, but I certainly got a much better deal than I would have gotten had I tried bargaining with the professional sharks salespeople.

    The gist is you figure out what you want, know as much as you can about the dealers incentives and cost structures, and then FAX a bunch of dealers telling them what you know and telling them that you’ll buy from whomever gives you the best deal. It is a lot easier to “walk out” of the negotiation when you haven’t driven there in the first place!

    Our Toyota has been such that we’ve not even needed to go to the dealer for service (we do our regular maintenance at an independent), but I’ve heard good things about their service departments, too.

    They are more expensive than the american cars, but there is a reason…

  48. jik Post author

    I just got a call from someone at Framingham Ford asking me if I was planning on bringing the van in for them to service. I told him I found the whole experience of dealing with his dealership so unpleasant that I was going to find another one. He didn’t even try to talk me out of it.

    What these folks don’t seem to get is that it costs a heck of a lot more to find new customers than it does to keep existing customers happy.

    They also don’t seem to get that the customers who complain the loudest when they are treated poorly are often also the ones who will sing their praises the loudest when they are treated well.  Word-of-mouth advertising is the best kind you can get.


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