When it comes to trucks, I’m a Ford guy through and through. I’ve owned five of them in my life. Two I sold, two were totaled in accidents and one I still own.
My F150 got totaled when another driver decided to drive their car into me at a high rate of speed. While I was in the hospital, my insurance agent asked if I would need another truck, and when I said “yes” he put me in contact with a client of his that runs an asphalt company. That guy buys 15-20 trucks a year, and he and gets rid of them when they are three years old. He had a 2016 Platinum edition F250 with a diesel engine for sale. It was in great condition, and although it had over 200,000 miles on it, it was used solely by a salesperson who drove it quite a bit visiting clients, so they were highway miles.
[Note: you may ask why we need a “Child Killer 5000” truck and the answer is that I own a horse farm. It really helps to have something like this when you are pulling a fifth wheel horse trailer]
It’s a great truck and it has been reasonably issue-free. Recently it threw a check engine light code related to a known problem with these trucks. I was told by my local dealer that they couldn’t repair it under warranty because the truck had too many miles on it. I went ahead and had the repair done and decided to write a letter to Ford asking them to consider paying for the repair, since while the truck has high miles it had been gently used and since this is a known defect I’d like them to cover it. I also sent in a copy of the repair receipt.
I stressed in the letter that if they didn’t pay for the repair that I would still remain a Ford loyalist, as I do like their trucks and I’ve survived two major wrecks in them.
What I didn’t expect is that their response would be so poor that I would reconsider my position on the brand.
Even though I took the time to write, print out and mail a letter, I got back an e-mail. Signed “Carissha” it reads as if it was written by a poorly trained AI.
It starts off well:
Thank you for taking the time to write to us. You’ve indicated that because your vehicle is outside the mileage limitation of Program 17M04, you are seeking an exception for coverage, and we appreciate you bringing this to our attention.
Good. They obviously get the reason I wrote to them. Then I get:
Upon careful consideration, we have determined that we are unable to satisfy your request because this program extends coverage to 11 years or 120,000 miles, whichever occurs first, and exceptions to this policy are not allowed.
Seriously? If by “careful consideration” you mean absolutely no thought at all, I get that, but don’t pretend that you even thought about it and then cite the recall coverage limits. If they had written something like “These parts will eventually fail with use, and we determined that they might fail early in these models, but since your vehicle has high miles on it the failure is probably due to use and thus we can’t extend coverage,” or some such, I would have been happy. Heck, I would have been okay with “exceptions are not allowed” but got angry when it was worded as if they put in a lot more effort in the decision than they did. It was like they never even read my letter, which was demonstrated in what followed:
If you decide to move forward with your repair, we recommend saving your receipts in the event Ford launches an additional program that allows for reimbursement of your concerns in the future.
So now it was obvious to me that they didn’t even look at the receipts I sent documenting that I already had the repair performed.
The rest of the letter was “thank you for your feedback [blah blah blah]” but it was already obvious that I didn’t rate a real interaction or response.
Look, the repair was a little over $300 so it isn’t going to ruin me, and I almost considered not sending a letter at all, but I was expecting a little more than I got in response. If I had to sum up the number one cause of customer dissatisfaction it is missed expectations, and my once unblemished view of Ford is now slightly less shiny (and Dodge is starting to make some amazing trucks).
Will that $300 come into play when I need another truck? I’m not sure, but it would have cost them a lot less to just write a real and honest letter instead of what they sent.