BURLINGTON, N.C. — Annette Jones had been looking for a new car for quite some time. She wanted something economical that got good gas mileage. After checking out a few options she settled on a Ford Focus, “I love it, love it,” said Jones.
The car was everything she had hoped for and then some. It was easy to drive, got great gas mileage and she could easily afford the monthly payments. Jones liked the car so much it made driving to work a joy, “It is fun to drive,” said Jones.
Then, about a year after getting the car she noticed something didn’t seem right. With around 10,000 miles on the car she says it started to vibrate at times,
“It feels like the transmission is going to fall out from 1st to 2nd (gear),” said Jones.
The vibration continued for a couple months but when Jones would take it in to be serviced, she was told the same thing, “They say there is nothing that can be done, Ford is aware of the issue,” said Jones.
2 Wants To Know's Kevin Kennedy explains how the team worked five months to find a solution.
The dealership tried to work with Jones, but Ford issued specific mechanical guidelines for any work to be done and Jones car kept falling within the specs of a no work needed. Jones continued to take the car back every few months as the issue seemed to get worse and eventually the dealership did replace the clutch.
The fix seemed to work for a year or so before the vibration came back, “There is nothing fun about it, I’m scared to death,” said Jones.
Again, Jones took the car in and again it didn’t fall within the designation to be repaired. She continued to drive it and take it to the dealership every few months. Right around 30,000 miles the dealership agreed to put a second new clutch in the car, “I just want a car I feel safe in,” said Jones.
What she hoped would be a permanent solution lasted about 6 months before the issue came back again. Frustrated about what she could do and with more than four years’ worth of payments left Jones called our Call for Action Volunteers.
We reached out the dealership and while it wanted to help it was having to follow parameters put in place by Ford. They did replace two clutches but were not able to swap out the car with a different one because Jones still owed almost $18,000.
Her car or a similar car is valued at around $14,000 so it would have meant a significant loss for the dealership and technically Ford did not consider it to be faulty so it would not cover the difference. Jones agreed to pay $18,000 for a new car even it was only valued at $14,000 but pulling that off would be difficult.
That’s when we reached out to the credit union Jones financed the car through. In most cases banks or credit unions won’t finance a car for more than the car is worth. The credit union was skeptical at first but when we pointed out it is the same situation it is in now (Jones owes $18,000 on a car valued at $14,000). The credit union agreed to work with the dealership and Jones.
The dealership was able to find a “similar” car and the credit union financed it at $18,000 and then Jones called and told us the good news, “I don’t know what I would have done (without your help) thank you."
Once Jones called us the entire process took about five months, but in the end Jones was able to get a replacement car and most importantly keep her payments the same as they had been.
Do you have a problem you need 2WTK and Call For Action to work on?
Email us: email@example.com or talk to a Call For Action Volunteer Tuesday & Wednesday between 11am-1pm 336-379-5618.