WHAT YOU CAN DO
Learning of Other Complaints: You can get summaries of auto complaints & service bulletins from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by the Internet or by mail. To access complaint summaries for particular makes, models & years, visit NHTSA’s Internet website at www.nhtsa.dot.gov. Or for $20-40, you can get a computer printout of complaints or service bulletins from NHTSA’s Technical Information Services, which can be contacted through NHTSA’s Auto Safety Hotline at 800-424-9393 or 888-327-4236. Specify make, model & year as the more specific the request, the less expensive the printout.
Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs): Ford publishes TSBs to help dealers diagnose & repair problems on vehicles. Some dealers will let you view TSBs. Some state Lemon or Secret Warranty Laws require manufacturers or dealers to make TSBs available on your vehicle. You can access TSB summaries via NHTSA’s Website at www.nhtsa.dot.gov. NHTSA’s Technical Information Services, which can be contacted through NHTSA’s Auto Safety Hotline at 800-424-9393 or 888-327-4236, can also send a particular TSB once you identify it from NHTSA’s Website or its computer printout. ALLDATA provides free access to TSB summaries & sells copies of TSBs listed on its Website. You can also buy them from HELM, Inc. Call 800-782-4356 for ordering information. For your use, we have listed some of the more comprehensive TSBs on your vehicle. Check the above sources for other TSBs.
Recalls & Investigations: Call NHTSA’s toll-free Auto Safety Hotline at 800-424-9393 or 888-327-4236 (in Washington DC 202-366-0123) or visit NHTSA’s website at www.nhtsa.dot.gov-recalls and www.nhtsa.dot.gov-investigations respectively.
Small Claims Court: Go to small claims for advice on using small claims court to recover repair & other expenses. The Lemon Book (Moyer-Bell 1990) by Ralph Nader has an entire chapter on small claims court strategy, a state-by-state index & a chapter on your legal rights to help you better argue your case in court. You can order the book for $17.50 from CAS Publications.
Lemon Lawsuits: If you have to sue Ford over a lemon, go to CAS-Lawyers for a list of attorneys specializing in lemon law.
Contact Ford: Call Ford’s Customer Assistance Center at 800-392-3673 to register a complaint. If they cannot resolve your complaint, ask for an arbitration package for the Dispute Settlement Board (see below).
Dispute Settlement Board: This is Ford’s arbitration program for reimbursement of repairs or buyback of a lemon. If you get a bad decision, you can reject it and take Ford to court. If you accept it, Ford must abide. Both the consumer and Ford submit comments and records to the board by mail. In most cases, the board will not hear a complaint outside the express warranty – the length of which varies for the powertrain, emissions & other components. Important: The consumer is allowed to rebutt Ford’s comments. This can improve your chances and you should take advantage. If you have not received a Dispute Settlement Board arbitration package from Ford Customer Assistance Center, write to Dispute Settlement Board, PO Box 5120, Southfield MI 48086-5120.
Secret Warranty Disclosure Laws: Four states (CA, CT, VA, WI) have laws requiring automakers to disclose any secret warranties on their cars. Contact your state attorney general for information or to support such laws. Little Secrets of the Auto Industry (Moyer-Bell 1994) by CAS is devoted to secret warranties, how to find them & use them. Little Secrets is available for $17.50 from CAS Publications.
Supporting Ford Recall Efforts: Help us force the government to protect consumers by writing your Senators and Representative in Congress, urging them to contact NHTSA & the Federal Trade Commission on your defects in your Ford vehicle. Your local library has names of your representatives; write them c/o US Senate (or House), Washington DC 20510 (or 20515). Find and/or e-mail them at www.house.gov/writerep/ and www.senate.gov.
Support CAS’ Efforts: File a complaint with CAS which will be used to pressure Ford to take responsibility for defects in its vehicles. Become a CAS member by making a tax-deductible contribution to help us in our fight on your behalf against Ford and the other auto giants.