Ford Mustang: The RAV Buyback CA Lemon Law Nightmare

I have decided to write a blog detailing my issues with Ford in getting them to repurchase my 2011 Ford Mustang. Under CA lemon law, a car is considered a lemon if it has been at an authorized dealer for more than 30 days and if it has had a reasonable number of repair attempts within the first 18 months or 18000 miles.

I purchased my 2011 Ford Mustang from Capital Expressway Ford in San Jose, CA on March 2nd, 2011.

About 5 months later, I began to notice issues when shifting. The biggest issue with this problem was that my car was an automatic — it has a computer to tell it how to properly shift. When I purchased the vehicle, I also purchased a maintenance plan with it to be safe. I brought it down to Capital Expressway Ford for standard maintenance and explained my issue to them. They said they would let me know if anything turned up. This was on August 6th, 2011. They returned the car to me the same day and said that it was working fine.

A month later, on September 8th, I brought it back in to Capital Expressway Ford and told them that the car is NOT working fine and I want it checked out. They took it for 3 days, without providing me a loaner, and returned it back to me after replacing the mass airflow sensor. The car had supposedly passed all checks and was tested. Within 15 minutes, I called the service advisor, Ken and said they did not check it and the issue was way worse than before. I brought the car back in on September 13th (I couldn’t return sooner due to a family emergency) and it remained at Capital Expressway Ford until October 4th.

They ran several tests and concluded a component of the valve body was not functioning properly and that was causing the car not to shift properly. They had tried to order the replacement part but it was on national back order. I didn’t get daily or even weekly updates so I finally went down there and spoke to anyone of authority I could find. After escalating the issue, Ford agreed to replace the transmission in full. As an apology effort, they also provided me with an extended warranty, after I asked several times for some assurance.

So with 13K miles on my new Mustang, and a brand new transmission, I drove off the lot and the car performed as expected. I drove it across the country a few months later and arrived to FL in one piece. After nearly the same amount of miles on my new transmission as there were the first time the issue presented itself, the issue returned. This was right around 26K to 27K miles. I brought it into the local FL Ford Dealership and they had it for 5 more days. The solenoid pack had failed, as did the clutch pack and a few other components. They replaced them all and returned the car. The car was never fully fixed. On acceleration or even going a steady 40MPH the car will slam in and out of gear thus causing the car to jerk. I brought it back to Ford and they said that was normal because the car was “cold”. Two things: 1. It would happen regardless of vehicle temperature. 2. That is not normal, under any circumstance. Nor is it safe.

I finally escalated the issue to Ford Corporate again, this time saying that I would like to file a Lemon Law claim under the state of CA. They began the exasperating process on November 1st of 2012 — nearly a year and a half after purchasing a brand new vehicle. Now, here, is what I think the trick is to getting Ford to agree to repurchase a vehicle — BE A PAIN IN THEIR ASS. I called every day, sometimes 2 or 3 times per day asking for a status update. I spoke to everyone who would listen and asked several times to speak to supervisors. I took it to the social media world and wrote a review about the dealership in CA (Capital Expressway Ford is a dealership I will never recommend) on Yelp and I tweeted every Ford handle I could find on Twitter. I began getting daily updates from representatives from Ford Service via Twitter and I continued to call until I pissed someone off — anyone off. I wanted them to be as frustrated as I was. I didn’t buy a $30K Mustang to have it sit in the shop for 32 days and go through 4 transmission repairs only to result in a lemon.

Finally, on November 23rd I received a “packet” from Ford saying that they would agree to repurchase my vehicle or offer a replacement. I am only interested in a refund because I no longer trust Ford’s customer service or machinery after this exasperating experience. The packet of information I received was a mere 4 pages long — and it didn’t explain much at all. There wasn’t any offer for a dollar amount and it wanted signatures which wasn’t clear if I was legally obligated to fulfill if I didn’t like the offer. I called Ford’s Vehicle Reacquired Headquarters several times and told every representative I spoke to that I received this packet and wanted an update. They had reported that my case was not in their system and to call back.

Finally, on November 26th, I called Ford’s RAV department again and spoke with a very nice and knowledgable woman named Renee. She explained to me that that packet is not legally binding if I don’t like the offer Ford presents but that completing that packet is required for Ford to make a formal offer. I completed the paperwork and mailed it that day. I called the following day and was lucky enough to speak with Renee again. She said that it could take a few days for the packet to arrive and when it does she would enter the information into the system. I asked if there were a way to email the packet and she provided me with her email address. I sent it right off an she replied with an email update that she had uploaded my case, formally, to Ford’s RAV department. I was told I could expect a call during the business hours of November 28th.

On November 28th, today, Latrice from Ford called me and asked which state I was in. I informed her that I am currently residing in FL but the car was purchased in CA and I would be returning to CA on January 1st. However, I also mentioned that, ideally, I wanted this process completed prior because I should not have to deal with transporting an unsafe vehicle 2700 miles. She said she would put in a request for transportation and would get back to me. I was informed that the reason the car must be brought back to CA is because CA has strict rules to have 2 inspections performed on all vehicles that are being lemon law-ed. There was no way around it being that I lived in FL. Thank God that I decided to move back, otherwise this would be a complete and total nightmare for anyone who had to move out of the state of CA for work and could not move.

I am expecting a call back from Latrice by tomorrow with at least an update. If we don’t get movement by the end of this week with progress, I may have to pursue other alternatives to getting this case resolved as I do not have the time to waste. If I do have to pay for transportation back to Ford in CA, I promise this: Ford will reimburse me for all incurred costs because, as the CA Lemon Law states, the repurchase of my vehicle is to include all necessary fees, less a usage fee. They are supposed to reimburse the owner enough to where its as though he or she never owned the vehicle at all.

I will continue to post updates as this case progresses.

For anyone who needs Ford’s RAV number, you may find it here: 1-800-367-3050 (Ford Reacquired Vehicle Headquarters)