Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dupuis Ford Lincoln, I'm not happy with you!

I had a 'fun' customer service experience that I thought I'd share... just to get it off my chest.  As you know we recently purchased a new vehicle, as our lease on our Ford Escape was up. It was a three year lease, and we've never leased before, so we were trying it out.  Turns out, leasing isn't for us... we drive too many kilometers in a year to fit into a lease, and if I weren't on maternity leave twice in the three years we had the vehicle, we would have had to pay a pretty penny for extra mileage.  Luckily, I've been confined to the house for the last six months, so we were just under the mileage allocation at its maturity date.

So... to cut to the chase, we leased our Escape for Dupuis Ford Lincoln in Casselman.  When the deal went down, Dupuis screwed up royally... between the salesman and the finance manager wires were crossed and we ended up owing the bank $600 on the spot, because Dupuis got the numbers wrong, and after the papers were signed, it was our problem.  Fast-forward three years... and they are still using the same approach - not our problem, your problem.

Three months ago... we stopped in at Dupuis Ford and asked them about changing our winter tires back to our original all-seasons, which we knew two of the four tires had low tread on them.  The service manager told us that all we needed was four good tires that matched, with the same speed and rating as the original tires on the Escape (when we received it).  He said we would be taking a chance leaving on the winter tires when the warmer weather came around, but they were probably our best bet as we'd have to pay a replacement fee if the other tires were not good. In addition to this advice, I also went online and reviewed Ford leasing's documentation about the tires, and concluded the same thing, as no where does it specify that winter tires are not considered acceptable tires.

So... we took his advice and left the winter tires on.  The day we go to turn back the Escape and pick up our new non-Ford vehicle, we find out that we are being charged $125 per tire (totaling $500 + GST) for having winter tires on the Escape.  Apparently if we had turned back the vehicle before April 15th, winter tires would have been acceptable, but on May 30th, its a $500 charge. 

When you break it down... its almost understandable that they don't want winter tires on a vehicle in the summer... however, when we did our homework on the options, and we were given misinformation from a trusted source, this outrages me.  It also makes me mad that the winter tires that are on the Escape are in fantastic shape... and while they charged us for them, they still can re-sell them andndouble their money.  I mean... honestly! What we should have done is roll up on Dupuis' lot and then take our tires and run, leaving them with just the rims! The charge would have been worth it then!

I talked Dupuis and they told us that its up to Ford Credit if they want to reverse the charge or 'figure something out' with them, but upon calling Ford Credit, we got the reverse approach - its Dupuis who can make the adjustments.  Given that we learned about the charge 2 hours before we were to pick up our new vehicle, it left little time to figure out a solution (which we tired to find a set of used all-season tires to put on it, but to no avail).  We had already disposed of our all-season tires on the advice of Dupuis' service manager, but according to Ford Credit, we should have been talking to the leasing manager.  I explained that the service manager is our main point of contact for Dupuis Ford and has been for three years - but she corrected me in saying that it was a stupid move as I should have been asking my questions to the 'leasing manager' - who frankly I didn't even know exisited, but turns out, he's also the 'finance manager' (who originally screwed up the deal three years ago).  I'm annoyed because when we asked the service manager he didn't pipe up and say 'oh that's not my area, you have to speak to the LEASING manager'.  No ... he answered the question, like he has been asked it 50 times before.  I apologize for believing a manager of Dupuis Ford on an issue related to a Ford vehicle that we purchased at... Dupuis Ford.

All this to say... I tweeted about my frustration and someone from Ford Customer Service offered to look into the issue for me. I was happy about this, but even after all his efforts, he couldn't do anything as he was based in the states, and this is a Canadian issue. However, he did forward my tweet and the background to Ford Canada Customer Service and they phoned me... to tell me (in summary) its a sales issue and customer service can't intervene in a credit matter because, get this, Ford Customer Service is not Ford Credit AND, technically I'm not considered a client of Ford Customer Serivce, because Dupuis Ford is their client and I'm only a client of Dupuis. Oh ... and Dupuis really isn't Ford, their an independent broker who sells Ford vehicles.

Clear... as MUD! They're CUSTOMER SERVICE for Ford Canada right, but I'm pretty sure Charmaine, ID #4503, told me I'm not considered a customer, even though I leased a Ford Escape, from who I thought was a Ford Company, and I've paid Ford Credit every month for 3 years.

After speaking with Charmaine from Ford Customer Service, she advised me that she would 'make a note' of my frustration and forward it to Dupuis Ford, but that I needed to speak with Ford Credit and Dupuis if I wanted anything done about the charge. I did call Ford Credit as I wanted to know who I owed the $500 to? Ford Credit or Dupuis Ford?  The agent I spoke with, Candice, was actually very factual, and informative, telling me that Dupuis got their money for the sale three years ago, and any outstanding charge was owed to Ford Credit.

That pretty much explains Dupuis' lack of interest in my problem... as they've been paid for the sale and beyond that they could care less about my frustrations. The Ford Credit agent did argue with me quite a bit, but in the end she knocked off $70 from the charge for, as she says, 'trusting the service manager's word'.

$70 is better than nothing, yes... but the whole back and forth with Ford Credit, Ford Customer Service, Dupuis Ford car dealership was pret.ty. crazy, and at the end of the day I still owe a car payment worth of money on a perfectly good vehicle, that was turned back with practically brand new winter tires on it.

I am done with Dupuis ... done with their 'its not our problem' approach... and the now proven stereotype that car salespeople are only nice to you until they get your money.

I still do heart my Ford Escape and love the Ford product, but if we ever do drive a Ford again, it won't be from Dupuis 'independent broker who sells Ford vehicles' in Casselman.

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