On 24th July 2021, while driving through an unpaved and bumpy stretch of road on the NH17 highway between Agassim and Cortalim, Mr. Hemant Kamat’s Ford EcoSport resulted in displaying an “ABS Malfunction Error – Service Now” message. The owner rushed the car to Kingsford Verna, an authorized Ford India dealership and service center. The issue in the car was diagnosed as a malfunctioning front right ABS sensor, and the owner was required to schedule a service appointment to rectify the same. In today’s article, we will look at the complete scenario and the next steps that the customer is planning to take against the Ford dealer.
On 14th August 2021 during the scheduled service appointment, the owner was informed that the wire leading to the sensor had been “bitten by a rat” and the sensor would need replacement. So the sensor replacement and harness cable would cost Rs 32,000 plus labor and GST. The owner insisted to inspect the rat bitten wire and the damaged part. The wire looked like a clean-cut done using a sharp blade. When opposed, the technicians and service advisors teamed up and insisted on the rat-bite story, refusing to re-join the cut wires. The owner was forced to pay Rs 2710 for a new ABS sensor. Mr. Kamat however, refused to pay for a new harness wire and was prepared to join the cut wire pieces himself if it was required. The technicians did join the wire to cover up the mess created by them.
Later, Mr. Kamat had the “rat-bitten” wire inspected by several people including mechanics who service his other vehicles and none of them were willing to go with the “rat-bite” story. The wire can in no way be cut cleanly and diagonally by a rat. This lead to the suspicion that the ABS sensor wire was deliberately cut to facilitate sales of spare parts and meet service collection targets. Adding to the suspicion was the fact that the ABS sensor is neither exposed nor that easy to get to. A plastic wheel fender lining needs to be removed to access the sensor, something which only a trained technician can do.
Mr. Kamat registered a complaint with Ford India to which Kingsford Verna offered to “waive-off” Rs 2710 from Mr. Kamat’s subsequent service bill, provided he withdraws the complaint. However, Mr. Kamat insisted on a copy of the service job card (that mentions the cause of damage as rat-bite) or the CCTV footage of the EcoSport being inspected (that clearly shows the technician reaching under the wheel well holding a set of pliers). Either of these could provide unquestionable evidence of the dealership’s involvement in the whole doing.
Mr. Kamat is now considering approaching the consumer court against both, Kingsford Verna and Ford India. His next step could be filing an online complaint on the National Consumer Helpline. After this unpleasant incident, Mr. Kamat refuses to get his vehicle serviced from Kingsford Verna in the future ever again.
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