Consumer Caught Between Local Ford Dealer and Ford Corporate

Rennie Harris now drives a new Hyundai Tucson. Until recently, Harris drove a 2013 Ford Fiesta. But that car had one problem after another.

“The transmission shuddered,” Harris said. “And then all of a sudden, the battery was always dying.”  

Harris said it felt like her car was in the shop more than it was on the road.

“And several times they towed us back to the dealer,” Harris said. “And this was on and on and on. We couldn’t count on the car.”

The last time Harris’ Fiesta was in for service, the dealership - Veracom Ford of San Mateo - told her to rent a car and it would pick up the tab.

“Ford told me they’d pay for the rental,” Harris said.

Harris paid for the rental car, more than $2,000, using her credit card. When she asked Veracom to reimburse her, she said the dealership wouldn’t pay up, and told her to call Ford’s corporate office in Michigan.

“The dealership said Michigan had to take care of it, and Michigan said, ‘Well, we need more information,’ and I said, ‘I just want my money!’”

But Harris couldn’t get it. After weeks of trying, she finally turned to NBC Bay Area Responds for help.

When we called Veracom on Harris’ behalf, the dealership didn’t return our call. So we tried Ford’s corporate offices and had better luck there - it cut Harris a check for her rental car expenses.

“I don’t know what you guys did, but thank you very much,” Harris said.

In a statement, Ford’s corporate office said it decided to cover the rental charges to promote customer satisfaction and goodwill.

In a statement, Veracom Ford said it worked closely with Harris every step of the way to successfully resolve her concerns and find solutions.

As we mentioned, Harris no longer has her Ford Fiesta - that car turned out to be a lemon. And she had no problems working that out with Ford.

So how do you know if your car is a lemon? In California, generally, a lemon is a new vehicle with a problem that’s required at least four trips to the shop and has been out of service for at least 30 days during the first 18,000 miles or 18 months you own it.

If that’s your car, you could be entitled to a replacement or a refund.