An internal error within Ford has lead to an almost $10 million consumer refund program after the automaker discovered that 430,000 vehicles had a fee attached to free roadside assistance.
Ford Australia has embarked on a “remediation program” after discovering that customers were charged $15.95 as part of Ford’s aftersales offer pairing free roadside assist with vehicles serviced within Ford’s dealer network.
The refund action comes a week after Ford was targeted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which launched legal action over what it claims as “unconscionable and misleading or deceptive conduct” and “false or misleading representations in its response to customer complaints."
It also follows an announcement by Holden on Thursday in which it launched a 60-day refund or return policy on faulty new cars after an ACCC investigation into poor customer service.
Ford claims it is not aware of any official customer complaints and claims the error was detected internally.
In this particular instance, Ford offered free extended roadside assistance to service customers from May 2012 through to July 2017 as part of the brands genuine scheduled servicing program. Although roadside assistance was advertised as free, customers were charged the fee as part of the first visit back to the dealership.
Ford will attempt to contact the 430,000 affected customers in writing, with a letter of apology and an explanation of how they will be reimbursed with Ford offering $21 reimbursement for each vehicle involved in the program, compensating for interest.
Under Ford’s current offer the roadside assistance program is no longer free with new customers to be charged for roadside assistance, while those that bought a new car under the assumption the service was free will receive price adjustments for future eligible servicing.
“Ford is committed to honouring its promise of free roadside assistance with standard scheduled servicing to affected customers,” Ford’s Marketing and Sales Manager of Parts and Service, Ambrose Henderson, said.
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