Archive for February, 2010
Yesterday I posted about the events surrounding my issues with Ford Motor Company and a couple of their dealerships. Since then, I have received two responses of note.
THE FIRST RESPONSE was from Scott Monty who works in Global Digital Communications for Ford Motor Company. Scott left the following reply to the aforementioned post:
Very sorry to hear you had this experience from our dealers. Due to them being independently owned and operated, our influence is a little limited. I’ve got an internal team taking a look at your situation in a little more detail. Expect to hear from someone shortly.
I did take the time to confirm his identity via Twitter – and he’s the “real deal.” I still haven’t heard back from anyone at Ford as of this morning, but I intend to keep an eye on my inbox and phone today.
THE SECOND RESPONSE came in the form of an unsigned email from a person alleging to be a tech at a Ford dealership. Here’s the email with my response below:
Hello,Interesting story. It seems a little misinformation was at the root of all of this. I am a tech at a Ford dealer, so I have a little insight to the “other side of the story”. First, to my experience, a lot of stripes are dealer add ons. They are nothing more than vinyl tape when it comes down to it. I am gettin the feeling that the “problem” was likely a MINOR issue, if an issue at all. New car, fine. There are seas of paperwork and info on a dealerships end, so “a simple phone call” isn’t quite such a simple thing. I deal with a lot of these “issues”, and often, the owners are the only problem. Not sure how warranty works on dealer installed stripes, either. USUALLY there is an addendum on the new vehicle invoice stating the stripes were dealer installed and the additional cost for that. Maybe they just did it and didn’t say anything, who knows. Either way, it is a stripe. Pretty minor, subtle aspect of the vehicle which doesn’t effect anything except appearance, maybe. I guess my problem is you are calling a FAIL on Ford, for something that is rooted at the dealer where you bought it. If dealers messed with every little petty complaint like this, man. Go back to the dealer where you bought it and make them take care of it. If they won’t they you’re pretty much outta luck. If the biggest complaint you have about the car is a spot on an add-on stripe, Ford is doing pretty well. Have fun.
HERE IS THE REPLY I emailed last night:
Thanks for writing.
While I appreciate the insight, there are a couple of things I’d like you to strongly think about:
Having never owned a car with racing stripes, I was not aware that most stripes are dealer add-ons. Regardless of that fact, a there has been a lot of press lately regarding a lack of full disclosure in financial dealings with the American public: predatory financing in the housing market, bad credit card practices, etc. As a matter of fact, the two aforementioned issues have recently seen a backlash from their actions (housing collapse and changes in credit card laws just last week.) That said – I repeat (and amend)… Having never owned a car with racing stripes, I was not aware that most stripes are dealer add-ons; nor was this explained to me when I bought my $34,000 sports car.
I agree with you that racing stripes are a MINOR issue – but that’s not the problem I’ve presented in my post. The problem is that it is becoming a MAJOR issue to get the minor issue fixed. Ford can push it off as “dealer responsibility” all they want, but the reality of it is that these actions are tarnishing THEIR brand.
To simplify my contention (which you seem to disagree with): I am calling FAIL on Ford because 1.) I was sold a brand new Ford product by a representative of their brand that is in need of repair and 2.) instead of conveniently fixing the problem they are forcing myself & my wife to take time off of work and drive, literally, hundreds of miles to take care of it because “it’s the dealer’s problem.” I expect to have to mail in my Xbox 360 if something goes wrong with a $400 piece of hardware, but I expect (as should anyone) a little more consideration for a $34,000 vehicle.
TWO THINGS in your email really bother me if they are (truly) part of the culture of working for Ford…
• “I deal with a lot of these ‘issues’, and often, the owners are the only problem.”
• “Go back to the dealer where you bought it and make them take care of it. If they won’t they you’re pretty much outta luck.”
If that is the attitude toward paying customers that Ford, the most successful American car company, has, then it’s no wonder the Japanese have taken over the market. (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/buying-advice/who-makes-the-best-cars/overview/index.htm).
In closing, I would like to make it abundantly clear that I LOVE my Ford Mustang GT. I think that’s why this is all the more disappointing since it feels that Ford doesn’t feel the same way about their product.
I bought my 2008 Mustang GT about a year and a half ago with the intent of keeping it on the road for as long as I had done with my old ’91 Trans Am (which lasted to almost 250,000 miles.) The first sign against it, though, happened over the past few days.
FIRST - You should know that this is my second Mustang. I had a 2005 Mustang GT, but after a couple of years of intense training at the local college parking lot, Shannon (my wife) couldn’t learn to drive a stick shift. Hence the new ‘Stang we purchased that I currently own is an automatic.
When I bought the ’05, it was a used car and after the purchase it exhibited a minor mechanical issue. The good news was: the car was still under warranty. The bad news came in the level of service I recieved; it was weak compared to what I had become used to from General Motors after the three Pontiac Firebirds I owned (’88, ’91 and ’94.)
I brought the ’05 Mustang to Velde Ford in Vero Beach, Florida and while they DID fix the problem, the attitude of the sales team there really turned me off. While talking to an employee (while waiting for my car) at the dealership about the mechanical problem the Mustang was having, the answer I got was, “well, that’s why you should always buy a Ford from a Ford dealer!”
Way to stand by your product, asshole.
Needless to say, the car was fixed and I decided never to return to that dealership… even for service.
HENCE – when it came time to buy the 2008, I started shopping at Sunrise Ford in Ft. Pierce, Florida. They were nice enough, but nothing on the lot seemed to really excite me – so I turned to the Internet to do my shopping. I found a car that Shannon and I both liked in Royal Palm Beach. It was 80 miles away, but worth it to us if it was exactly what we were looking for.
We drove down to Al Packer Ford West to see the car in person. It was a BRAND NEW black Mustang GT with silver racing stripes on it… and it had an automatic transmission. It was raining that day, but we could tell the car was a perfect fit for our needs so I signed some paperwork and handed over some cash… and let Shannon drive home the new car.
A couple of days later I noticed some water spots on the racing stripes. I wasn’t too worried since a good coat of wax would probably take care of it, but a couple of months later (and a couple of waxes later) the spots remained. The Mustang, mind you, has lived in my garage since the day it came home. Sensing an issue, I put in a call to Al Packer Ford and spoke to my sales guy (who had scored the easiest sale ever since the Internet did all the work for him.)
The sales guy told me he would have to check to see if his dealership put on the stripes or if the factory had and get back to me. This worried me because I had bought the car BRAND NEW – and no one made mention of ANY after market upgrades during the sale. To my knowledge, the stripes were factory.
Well, I played phone tag with this guy for MONTHS, but never got an answer beyond “I have your name on my desk here, but I’m still looking for an answer.” Over a year later I am learned why he was dodging the issue.
LAST WEEK I bit the bullet and went to the local Ford dealership (Velde Ford) to explain the problem. The guy in service (John M.) was very sympathetic, and jumped immediately at the opportunity to try and help. He checked the racing stripes and said that they were, in fact, covered under warranty. He took my VIN to run it and I sat in the waiting room for almost thirty minutes.
John returned and explained that the racing stripes were NOT listed as something from Ford on my VIN… which left me confused. I had bought a BRAND NEW CAR – so how did this happen? He told me to bring in my sales info from when I bought the car in to him on Monday and they (the dealership) would use that information to show the stripes were factory installed and (thus) covered by warranty.
SO THIS PAST MONDAY I brought my files to my office with the intention of bringing the info to Velde Ford during my lunch and just get the car fixed. As I sat at my desk that morning, I took a few moments to review the paperwork. NO WHERE did it say my car had racing stripes. I put in a call to Al Packer Ford West and asked to speak to the Sales Manager. The gentleman I spoke to seemed willing to help get a copy of the correct invoice info and fax it to me before I went to Velde Ford for lunch.
If only it were that simple.
Instead of a fax, I got a call back from the sales manager stating that the dealership (NOT Ford) had put the racing stripes on the car. They were covered under warranty, but I would have to take the car to them to get it repaired by their vendor down the street.
As you could probably guess, I was not thrilled at this prospect.
NEXT STEP: I called Ford directly at (800) 392-3673 and spoke to a call center employee by the name of Becky. Becky was useless. After I explained the problem she exibited the same sort of “that’s your problem” attitude I experienced at Velde Ford all those years ago. She did NOTHING to even attempt to help or find a solution.
SO I CALLED BACK AGAIN and spoke to nice gentleman by the name of Freddy. I tried to bypass Freddy and asked to speak to a supervisor or member of management. He said he could get me someone, but would really like the opportunity to try and help. He took my information (something Becky didn’t even take the time to do) and looked up my car in his computer using the VIN. Freddy explained that he would call Al Packer Ford and see if they would be willing to pay Velde Ford to do the repair so I wouldn’t have to drive 320 miles (there and back… twice) to fix the car. After sitting on hold for about 10-15 minutes, Freddy got back on the line and said the dealer said no and that I would have to drive to to Royal Palm Beach.
YOU’D THINK IT COULDN’T GET ANY WORSE… BUT IT DID. I called the sales manager of Al Packer Ford West again and he forwarded me on to the manager of the local shop that would do the repair. The gentleman at the custom shop said it would take “at least three days to get the old stripes off.” I called the sales manager at Ford and he agreed to supply a rental car during the time. Hence the plan was made for Shannon to take off work and drive down the next day.
Once she got there – things went south… fast. The custom shop manager said there was a miscommunication and that they couldn’t fix the car until next Monday. He just wanted to see the car to confirm if the stripes were painted or decals.
THE EXPECTATION WAS THAT SHANNON (THE CUSTOMER) SHOULD TAKE THREE DAYS OFF OF WORK AND DRIVE A COLLECTIVE 480 MILES TO HAVE THE REPAIR DONE.
The custom shop and the dealership both expressed this – and only AFTER I ARGUED did they agree to pay for a rental car and allow Shannon to leave the Mustang with them.
So what kind of rental car did FORD supply as a temporary replacement? A TOYOTA Camry. Seriously.
So now my car is sitting in Royal Palm Beach waiting to get repaired… and I am sitting here thinking about why the American car companies are shocked at their decline in business with service at this level.
I love my Mustang – and it has been a great car. If this is the level of service I can expect, though, then this will be the last Ford I will own. I’m big on brand loyalty and when Pontiac was “doing it right” I bought three of their cars.
If someone from Ford Motor Company reads this, I’d love to hear from you in a reply or via email at me@TomCroom.com.
That’s what my wife said after watching this video from a 1975 Star Trek convention on YouTube:
They built a replica of the bridge for the stage. That it truly epic fandom, and I can’t think of a single convention I’ve been to that does things of that caliber today.
We watched Pinocchio on Blu-ray last night – and it is amazing that it retains its G rating in today’s oversensitive society that we’re in. Things that happen in the movie:
- Animal Abuse – Geppetto kicks the cat (Figaro) with a WOODEN PUPPET. Not nice.
- Child Abuse – one of the clocks in Geppetto’s house depicts a woman spanking a child on his bare ass.
- Playing with Fire – Pinocchio plays with fire and starts his finger on fire!
- Smoking – Everyone smokes a puff… even Pinocchio with a big ol’ stogie. (Bonus – there’s even chewing tobacco in Pleasure Island!)
- Racial Profiling – the Italian puppeteer’s name is Stomboli. Seriously?!
- Whoring Around – Have you ever noticed that Jiminy Cricket hits on EVERY woman character in Geppetto’s clocks? (Why is late on his first day of work as Pinnochio’s conscience? He runs the next morning to catch up with Pinnochio while getting dressed… what was he doing that he had to be UNDRESSED? Think about it.)
- Human Trafficking – The Coachman wants Honest John to collect “little boys” for him. Oh. Em. Gee.
- Vandalism – Kids throwing bricks through windows for fun.
- Underage Drinking – While in Pleasure Island, Pinocchio has obviously drained the stein of booze in front of him.
- Language – Jiminy uses the phrase “jack ass” in a G-rated movie. So do other characters.
This past weekend, I made the drive down to Miami, Florida to do some work for the upcoming Florida Supercon convention. For those of you that know me well, my schedule is a nonstop run from my day job to running my hobby/business to working any one of a dozen creative projects. On rare occasions, though, the timing of things works out to my benefit and I am blessed with some time to see people I wish I could see more often.
One of those individuals in my grandmother.
She lives in a retirement community in South Florida and I was able to stop in and see her last Saturday. You wouldn’t believe it from the photo, but she’s 87 years old – but to me she looks the same as I remember her twenty years ago. It was wonderful to see her again.
That said – my 2 PM in Miami ran to until MUCH later than originally planned and I wound up getting home at around 4 AM the next morning. Sunday was spent sleeping, eating, playing a little bit of XBox 360 and then more sleep. This week is going to be pretty busy – so don’t expect much out of me except for the random “tweet”.
March, though, should be a month of more zaniness and announcements. Stay tuned.
We started a new promotion this month at Wasabi Anime to find out what (according to the Internet) the top ten greatest anime ever are. The survey is inclusive of movies AND shows – so we’ve been getting a fairly broad base of answers with certain titles showing up pretty consistently. Joey Snackpants will be disappointed, though, that his favorite title doesn’t seem to have come up yet…
The votes are now in the hundreds – so we’re pretty thrilled with the response. Thanks to the following for making mention of the survey and helping drive people to it:
(If I left someone out – please reply and let me know.)
So if you haven’t yet, take a moment to give your two cents. CLICK HERE FOR THE SURVEY.
Last night Shannon and I met up with Joey Snackpants, Katie McAwesome, Jingoro and his wife at The Vortex in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s great to get to see friends when travelling and even greater when you get to eat unusual food with said friends.
I had heard about The Vortex thanks to Shannon’s addiction to the Travel Channel. There is a show that we watch (not planned – just a “if it’s on” sort of thing) called Man vs. Food. In one episode, the host of the show (Adam) ate the “best burger in Atlanta” called the Double Coronary Bypass Burger. Since we pride ourselves as hardcore tourists, “we” decided that I should order the burger. From the menu description on the website…
Twice as big as the Coronary Bypass! Topped with two fried eggs, six slices of American cheese, and eight slices of bacon, all served between the two grilled cheese sandwiches that we use in place of the regular hamburger buns.
You read that correctly – SERVED BETWEEN TWO F’N GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES. Look at this thing: