The Chairman of the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission, Rod Sims, has handed Ford Australia a AUD$10 million dollar fine, for what he described as ‘unconscionable behaviour’ in the way it treated customers complaining of faulty dual clutch transmissions.
Commissioner Sims said Ford Motor Company lied by omission to consumers and to dealers, by not revealing it knew the cause of ‘shuddering’ and other transmission-related faults. It even began demanding that customers replicate the condition in the presence of a Ford employee and a dealer employee, and when this was not possible, Ford told customers they would have to contribute ‘a substantial amount’ to replace the faulty vehicle.
More than 70,000 Ford cars were sold, with known faults, and at this time almost 37% of owners have complained. More Ford owners are now expected to press their claim, given the revelation that Ford knew about the problems and did nothing.
This is exactly how big companies should be treated, and the fine is more than justified when you take into account that, as Mr. Sims said: “People outlay considerable sums of money to buy a new car, and have reasonable expectations that the company will stand behind the product.”
Internet chat rooms have been flooded over the past two years by Ford owners complaining both about the Powershift transmissions and their treatment by Ford.
The ACCC has said this warning shot should be heeded by all car makers, and hopefully 'help them' to revise their treatment of customers where appropriate.
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