Almost four years ago, (End of August 2015) we were looking at buying a new car. Trev had sold his Ford Focus ST and as it was my turn for the new car, we were enjoying ourselves, looking at what was available.
We’d just about decided on a new Focus RS when Trev said, “What about a new Mustang?”
Guess how long it took me to think about it and decide?
Off we went, down to GK Ford at Alfreton. Brian and Ben have been looking after our family for years where new cars are concerned and we trust him and Ben (and Adam, previously) to help us out.
We ordered a brand new Mustang and put down a £1000 deposit on the car the day after our 29th wedding anniversary. Happy DAYS!
Yeah, we knew we’d have to wait for the new car to be built, shipped and delivered, but that was part of the excitement.
I could hardly wait, but Trev was even more excited for the new car. As soon as the details came through for the car so he could track its progress, he was on it. He looked up every little detail he could find. He joined forums, newsgroups and discussion groups. He even looked up the shipping times for the car.
One evening, he was looking at his iPad. “Look at this,” he said.
I looked. There was a traffic camera showing cars crossing a bridge over a river.
“What am I supposed to be looking at?” I asked.
He pointed to a large ship passing under the bridge.
“Your car’s on that ship!” he said. “It’ll be docking in Zeebrugge in a few weeks.”
And so we waited.
We called in at GK to sign some documents and Trev mentioned the car’s progress. Ben didn’t know as much about it as Trev and they chatted about where the ship was at that moment. Then Ben told us we’d have to deal with another dealership for delivery. I wanted to know why. The reason was that GK had sold the company to Perrys and only the larger showrooms could take delivery of the Mustangs.
That’s not what I wanted to hear. I wrote to Perrys.
12 June 2016
Ford Customer Relationship Centre
Ford Motor Company
P.O. Box 7597
I’m writing to ask if I can get back to how Ford used to work for me and my family for buying our cars.
Twelve years ago, we first entered the Ford Family and bought a brand new Focus. We were delighted with it and advised our daughter to buy a new Ka. She then bought a Fiesta and went on to buy a Focus Eco which she still owns.
We deviated from Ford and bought a Vauxhall. Since then, we returned to Ford and bought a new ST. Then we saw the Mustang and ordered one last August (the day after our wedding anniversary).
Now, we are unable to buy our new purchase from the store where we have built up a relationship over the last fourteen years and we have to go to a ‘superstore’ to finalise everything. That’s the part that upsets everything.
We’re no longer dealing with people we’ve come to trust to help us with our purchase, we have now been ‘handed over’ to people who don’t know us and seemingly don’t care.
Our new Mustang is in Southampton and we can’t get to speak with the Sales Manager as he’s out of the office (perfectly understandable). He is ‘happy’ for someone else to deal with us but unfortunately, he’s not available either.
So, rather than feeling like valued customers, we’re now left with being handed down the line and this experience which we’ve been anticipating for almost ten months is becoming tarnished.
I would MUCH rather we be allowed to deal with the store we ordered the Mustang at, so if you could overlook the rules this once, I’d once again, be a happy Ford customer.
D Michelle Gent (Mrs)
I received no response and I suppose I should have taken that as a sign of things to come…
In dealing with Perrys (Chesterfield), I’ve been less than impressed overall.
Trev asked if we could get pictures of the car’s arrival. “Yes of course!” the guy said. “But it won’t be for a while yet, they’re not even in the country.”
“Actually, the car is in Southampton,” Trev said.
“No, no… it’s not even left Zeebrugge yet.”
“Could you check please? We’re excited to get the car as soon as possible.”
“If course we’ll check, but it’ll be a longer wait, I’m certain.”
The next day.
“Mr Gent? Your car should be with us this week.”
“OK, good. Thank you. Could I ask one more favour? When it arrives, could you not put the reg plate mounts on the car. We don’t like them and you have to drill homes in the car to fix them.”
“Of course, no problem. See you soon.”
He sent pictures of the car arriving at the dealership and everything was awesome.
When we got to the dealership to sign the final documents, something got ‘lost in translation’ and the wheel insurance cover wasn’t explained to us and therefore, we didn’t take it out.
Me being the cheeky sod I am, asked if there were any ‘goodies’ to be had at the hand-over. I was promised goodies for the children and a keyring for me – Yay!
On the day of the hand-over, we went up in two cars so all the grandkids could see the brand new Mustang.
The reg plate mounts had been fitted and they look ugly. Not to mention there are now holes in my car where I didn't want holes.
The car had been filled up to the showroom’s limit (which was appreciated) but the keyring didn’t materialise.
“They’re on back-order,” he said. “If you’re passing, call in.”
That actually took more than a year to arrive… and then, only after complaining to Perrys.
Jason, Perrys’ liaison guy phoned me and wanted to put things right. He made a cracking job of getting things sorted, making good on the promises made and for the first service on my new car, he sorted out a Mustang for the courtesy car! Thumbs up to Jason!
Trev kept an eye on the forums and he saw a disturbing thing mentioned. The underseal that was put on at Zeebrugge wasn’t up to any kind of standard and Ford were putting it right in some cases. Trev looked under my car and sure enough, the ‘underseal’ had been applied – in one strip, coating mainly the exhaust system, not the underside of the car where it’s needed.
Nigel at the workshops was brilliant. He took a look at my car and submitted the case to Ford. He had the work done and then took the time to actually show us that the guys in the workshop had done the work. Thumbs up to Nigel!
The next thing I had to query was the odd-looking wear pattern on the tyres. That was looked at and I was assured it was normal.
Then, disaster! Parking my car on the drive one night, I misjudged and went up onto a lump of brickwork (nothing drastic, a couple of inches proud of the drive). When I pulled forward to re-adjust, the wheel slipped off the brickwork and scraped the wheel.
And I don’t have wheel and tyre insurance.
The Alfreton store went the extra mile and sorted out the repair and the insurance for me (which usually isn’t available after-market). Brilliant job! Thumbs up to the Alfreton store!
Coming up to owning the car for three years, and a few things are coming up as red flags.
There’s been an alert put out for cars made in the same year as mine. I had an after-market oil cooler fitted by Perrys at my own expense because when that goes wrong, it creates all sorts of problems. Water leaks into the oil coolant and emulsifies, rendering the coolant ineffective and blowing the engine on some cars. I’m a great believer in prevention being the best cure and I paid to have the fix. If Ford decides it’s covered by warranty in the future, I’ll get a refund on that, but for now, I have peace of mind.
The heater blowers wouldn’t work. We went for a 60 mile drive in the car as it hadn’t been driven for a while over winter and we almost froze to death (not really, but it was cold enough for coats inside the car, with the heated seats on).
Booked the car in at the workshop, dropped the car off, battling through morning rush-hour traffic. “Please can you ask the engineers not to take the dashcam off the windscreen?” were my only instructions.
Picked the car up in the evening. “The heater’s fixed.”
Dashcam was still stuck to the windscreen as I asked, but disconnected. I always wonder why they do that, especially if they’re taking the car out on the public highway, into traffic. I bought and installed the dashcam to record traffic as I drive my car. It protects me in the fact that it would record an accident or incident and serves as proof if a matter has to go to court. What are they so worried about when driving my car that they don't want a record of it?
On the way home through evening rush-hour, I discovered the heater has not been fixed. I phoned Perrys as soon as we got home (a little before 6pm) and the Receptionist put me through to the workshops – who didn’t answer because it’s almost 6pm and home-time.
I messaged both Perrys (Chesterfield) via Facebook, and the main contact for UK via their email form and waited.
When the engine was cold, Trev put it away in the garage. The heater was working. It blows out a healthy stream of warm air and I was mortified that I’d complained. I went right into the house and wrote back to both parties.
Not that anyone has messaged me about the mistake or checked that everything is ok since.
Our granddaughter noticed rust-bubbles on the wing. Trev looked at both wings. Both have rust starting to bubble under the paintwork. This car is less than 3 years old. It was built in April 2016 and it has rust!
Today, we took the car to the Ford Accident and Repair workshops – the Ford bodyshop. On the way up, the heater didn’t work. So the issue isn’t ‘fixed’.
The guy at the Ford bodyshop looked at the car and is sending a report to Ford so we can claim on the warranty.
Perrys (Chesterfield) were contacted about the heater blowers.
I went to Facebook and told a shorter version of this plight and a very useful reply came my way.
Your issue is the ac blend motors they fail alllllllllll the time with Ford's all the time I currently have one in my Ranger doing it again for the second time they have the same motors, but it a massive pain in the ass to do on the mustang.
*Thanks Paul (FB)
A different Paul from Perrys rang and we had a nice chat. He explained that the engineer couldn’t find anything wrong with the heater blower.
I explained that I wouldn’t be so annoyed if I’d had that message when I first picked up the car. Rather than saying, “It’s been fixed,” if the message I received had been, “They’ve had a look, but couldn’t recreate the problem. Let us know if it happens again,” I would have been more understanding.
I’ve already beaten myself up about overreacting and being annoyed, believing that I was at fault because I’d not switched on the heaters correctly (after 3 years, I should know how to work them).
Perrys, you have a long way to go in terms of Customer Service.
I would additionally recommend keeping an eye on forums, listening to your loyal and faithful customers and trying your best to make things right when they go wrong.
For instance, we’ve been buying new cars from Alfreton since 2002 and our daughter and her husband have just taken delivery of a new Kuga. I’m coming up to looking at a new car and I have plenty of options.
Hand the Mustang back. (I don't want to do that, but I will if necessary.)
Exchange the Mustang for another. (A possibility, but probably a different dealership.)
Pay off the remainder for the Mustang. (Again, another possibility if the issues are resolved.)
Swap it for another car altogether. (This is an exciting possibility.)
The only criteria I have for a new car, should I decide to buy one, is that it should be red. Jaguar do the F-Type in red. Mercedes and BMW do red and Porsche do a lovely red Cayman…
It’s a buyer’s market out there.