Fords Silence Speaks Volumes
How long should a consumer reasonably
expect to get a response from a
good corporate citizen when one writes
a registered letter to their customer
service department? Any response? Even
just a brief sentence to acknowledge
the receipt of that letter and that
they're looking into it? Well if that
corperation is Ford of Canada, the best
response seems to be no response.
It's been over a month now since I
wrote them a letter outlining some
serious concerns and thank goodness I'm
not holding my breath waiting for them
to get back to me. Its an old and
tired game that youd think companies
like Ford wouldnt play anymore, but
they do, and their silence speaks
Im a 71 year old pensioner who takes
impeccable care of his 2000 Windstar
I put less than 18,000 kms a year of
light duty driving on it. I did
everything by the book.
On May 11th while leaving my driveway
the transmission of my vehicle suffered
a catastrophic failure. I initially
called Ford and no one got back to me.
Then I sent a registered letter to
their Customer Relationship Centre...
Shouldnt it behoove a company like
Ford to at least create a file or
incident report documenting the receipt
of a registered letter? Just what are
their protocols in such matters?
Also, how would such a flagrant
disregard for a consumer's concerns be
viewed in a small claims court?
Interesting how companies can spend all
sorts of money to "reach us" but when
it come to "reaching them" it's another
I live in hope.
(Please find a copy of the registered letter I sent Ford of Canada on May 17th below.)
[Please note that the last line about not wanting to "cause Ford of Canada any undue stress or adverse publicity" ceratinly applied over a month
ago when I wrote it. Now, is a different story.]
Ford Customer Relationship Centre
The Canadian Road
PO Box 2000
Oakville, ON. L6J 5E4
May 17th, 2004
Vehicle: 2000 Ford Windstar
Odometer Reading: 80,818 kms
Incident: Complete Transmission Failure
I am writing to inform you of a serious incident that occurred with my 2000 Ford Windstar on May the 11th, 2004.
An incident that came spontaneously and
without warning immediately after backing out of my driveway.
First off, let me preface this by
giving you some information about the
vehicle and my driving habits.
I purchased the 2000 Ford Windstar new
from Cruickshank Motors in November 1999.
This vehicle was leased for 3 years after which I decided to purchase it.
I did this because as the sole owner of
the automobile I knew its history.
I have always meticulously adhered to
Fords own prescribed maintenance
schedule as outlined in the vehicles
service manual. This automobile wasnt
just transportation, it was an
The type of driving I do could easily
be described as average to light duty.
I drive approximately 18,000 kms or less a year. I have never placed any
undue mechanical stresses on this
vehicle nor was there ever any
indication that it was operating
marginally or under some strained
condition that would result in the
failure I experienced on May 11th.
After having backed out of my driveway
I placed the car into drive and then
pressed the accelerator. The car
briefly moved forward and then I heard
a very distinct "thunk" after which the
vehicle ceased moving completely.
I had to put the car into neutral and
push it to the side of the road. With
assistance I eventually got it back
into my driveway and made arrangements
to have the vehicle towed to my
mechanic the following morning.
The prognosis the next day wasnt good.
Much to my surprise the transmission in
my vehicle had experienced a total
failure and at only 80,818 kms
(just under 50,000 miles).
It is an accepted fact that parts do
eventually wear out. However, I think
youd agree that the complete and utter
failure of an automatic transmission in
a car that has been impeccably
maintained, driven less than 18,000 kms
a year under optimum driving conditions
and with only a total of 80,818 kms on
the odometer does not fall within the
realm of acceptable industry standards
or "normal structural parameters".
One could have course suggest that I am
somehow misleading you with my
automotive practices. That I have
perhaps driven my vehicle in an abusive
manner putting undue stress on the
engine. Well I can assure you that I
have been driving my vehicle like
the 71 year old pensioner that I am.
If anything, I have been overly
protective and devoted to the care and
maintenance of my car.
So what about the cause? If
not "normal" perhaps something
Could there have been something
inherently wrong with the structural
integrity of my Ford Windstars
Based on many of Fords own internal
TSBs outlining a number of
transmission fixes for the AXOD-E/ AX4S
powertrain, well documented reports of
anomalies from many customers and
various studies by numerous consumer
advocacy groups it would appear
that I am not the only individual who
has experienced these problems.
(I can provide you with the documented
TSBs and a number of independent,
corroborating incident reports similar
to my own.)
In so far as not having an extended
warranty; it has already been ruled
that the absence of one does not
exculpate or absolve Ford from
liability in the unreasonably
premature failure of a major vehicle
component (based on normal, acceptable
industry standards) with regard to
federal and provincial consumer
Canadian jurisprudence has already
borne this out (see Quebec Small Claims
Hull Division, No: 550-32-008335-009).
My intention with this letter is not to
cause Ford of Canada any undue stress
or adverse publicity but to resolve
this issue in a prompt and timely
manner that is mutually agreeable to
both of us.
I thank you for your time and look
forward to your response.