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Australian watchdog takes Ford local unit to court over transmission complaints

26 Juillet 2017

"The ACCC alleges that Ford's conduct towards customers who had complained of issues with their vehicles was unconscionable", Sims said.

But Ford has hit back at the allegations and defended its actions in looking after customers with affected gearboxes.

The ACCC alleges that Ford did not provide refunds or replacement vehicles to customers between 2011 and May 2015, even after some of their cars had undergone multiple repairs that still did not resolve the issue.

Ford Australia has refuted allegations by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that it misled customers of certain 2010-2016 built Focus, EcoSport and Fiesta models fitted with a PowerShift transmission and says it will challenge the consumer watchdog in court. "It is also alleged that Ford then on-sold vehicles surrendered as part of the Powershift Ownership Loyalty Program to wholesalers and customers, without disclosing the systemic or specific issues experienced with those vehicles".

Even when customers did pay for replacements under the "PowerShift Ownership Loyalty Program", Ford took the faulty cars and sold them on to other wholesalers and customers.

It is alleged Ford refused to provide a refund or replacement to consumers, even after multiple repairs that had failed fix the issue.

RACQ's Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said the transmission issues, including shuddering and shifting problems, were well documented and motorists affected should talk to their dealership or directly with Ford Australia.

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Ford has said, while it strongly disagrees with the watchdog's claims, it is willing to work with the ACCC to find a outcome that is beneficial for all customers.

Sims said the Ford case was an example of the "alarming" level of non-compliance in the nation's new-vehicle industry, which he promised would be laid bare by the release of the ACCC's study into the new vehicle retailing market next month.

The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, consumer redress orders, corrective advertising, and compliance program obligations.

'Cars are the second-most expensive purchase most consumers will ever make and if they fail to meet a consumer guarantee, people are automatically entitled to a remedy, ' Mr Sims continued.

CarAdvice has a long-running trend of readers complaining about their PowerShift transmissions, and has a significant explainer on what customers should do - and what their rights are under the Australian Consumer Law.

The "PowerShift Ownership Loyalty Program" closely resembles a dodgy extended warranty agreement, where the vehicle seller essentially tells the customer to pay for the protection that they are already entitled to under Australian consumer law.

Australian watchdog takes Ford local unit to court over transmission complaints