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Old 5th January 2022, 13:00   #1
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Default Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

My family has been a proud Ford Ecosport owner (1.5 TDCi Titanium), which we purchased from Sai Sakshi Ford, Pune in Aug’16. The car is primarily used by my father on occasional highway trips from Pune to Mumbai, Kolhapur and the Konkan belt of Maharashtra. In the 5 years of ownership, the car has clocked almost 40k kms.

I truly believe that the Ford EcoSport in one of the finest Ford products globally, and among the best budget SUVs in India, especially in its Diesel avatar. For us, our car has been super reliable and hassle free, however, only until Aug-21. Our ordeal with the car and its reliability started since Aug-21, after the last service carried out at PPS Ford, Pune.

My father has meticulously maintained the car and has always serviced it at Ford authorized dealerships in Pune, and multiple times at PPS Ford Pune over the past 5 years of car ownership. However, there has been something horribly wrong after the latest service carried out on 30-Aug’21 at PPS Ford Pune. The car was serviced with change of engine oil and oil filter, at odometer reading 36,582 kms. Between that service until now (Dec-21), there have been 2 serious instances of the car suddenly halting at high speeds (approx. 100 kmph) right in the middle of motorways. In both these instances, the “Engine Service Now” notification came up on the center console screen with the icon symbol on the speedometer, and within 100 meters, the engine died down and the car came to a halt. The car stopping in the middle of a motorway at such high speeds was highly dangerous and almost a life-threatening moment for us, owing to trailing cars at high speed approaching from behind!

First Breakdown:

Within under a month and less than 1k km after the scheduled service of the car (@37,492 kms), we faced the first breakdown due to ‘Engine Service Now’ error, something which the car has never experienced before in 5 years of ownership. My father and sister were driving on NH4 (Bangalore-Pune) when at approx. 110 kmph near Satara, the “Engine Service Now” light appeared all of a sudden. The car jerked within 50 meters of light appearing and suddenly stopped on the national highway. On cranking with the engine start-stop button, the car engine refused to start. They had to tow the car to PPS Ford Service Center Pune.

The next morning, PPS Ford service center executive called my father and informed him that the car has started on its own without any intervention and no further action is required. He further informed us that the car has been thoroughly checked for all faults, and that no fault is reported and therefore nothing required to be fixed. The car was handed over to us claiming to be road worthy and we assumed that the car would run hassle free.

Error Message on Screen:
Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway-error-1.jpg

Second Breakdown:
Fast forward to Dec’21 and at 39,313 kms (approx. 2k kms since 1st breakdown and 3k kms since Aug-21 engine service) - This time, we were returning from Goa to Pune driving on National Highway 66 near the town of Kankavli. At around 10:30 AM, I was at the steering wheel when suddenly, the “Engine Service Now” light appeared on the center console screen. Knowing this error from the 1st time, my sister advised me to keep the car in the left lane. As expected within 50 meters, the car engine died and the car halted. Efforts to restart the engine proved futile once again.
Given our experience from the 1st breakdown, we had availed the Ford Road Side Assistance Package (RSA), which unfortunately came to use so early on. Now, here starts our real ordeal which has incentivized me to post this experience on Team – BHP.

Our first call to the RSA went at 10:49 AM from National Highway 66, and we had to wait until almost 1:30 PM just to get confirmation from RSA that the towing truck along with the custodian has been dispatched from site. If this was not already a long wait, the shocking news from Ford RSA was that the towing truck will take atleast 3 more hrs to reach the destination. The towing truck finally arrived at 4:15 PM, almost after a 5.5 hr long wait on a National Highway without any assistance. Such SLAs for Road Side Assistances that too when officially availed from Ford, and on a National Highway is beyond my understanding and comprehension. The worst part about the quality of RSA is posted later here, for which I am still in a tussle with Ford RSA team.

Car picked up by RSA from NH66 (A painful sight for a petrolhead):
Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway-car-1.jpg

Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway-car-2.jpg

Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway-car-3.jpg

At 4:30 PM, our car was finally towed to Unique Ford Kolhapur and we had to arrange our personal transportation at our own expense to Pune.
On 27th Dec, i.e. next day, we received a call from Unique Ford Kolhapur after they did an initial check of the car. They mentioned that OBD is showing 2 error codes:

P228C: Fuel Pressure Regulator 1 Exceeded Control Limits - Pressure Too Low AND
P0093: Fuel system leak -large leak detected

Clearly, something was wrong with the Fuel System. When Unique Ford opened the fuel tank, they observed some debris leading to a clogged fuel filter. Unique Ford began the work on replacing the Diesel Filter and cleaning the fuel tank.

Fuel Filter Photos sent to us by Unique Ford Kolhapur:
Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway-fuel-tank-1.jpg

Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway-fuel-tank-2.jpg

Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway-fuel-tank-3.jpg

Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway-fuel-tank-4.jpg

While work on the car was on-going at Unique Ford Kolhapur, we were interested to understand why this problem was not captured during the 1st breakdown reported in Sep’21, and why we were not kept transparent about this problem if this is occurring for the 2nd time. Therefore, in order to back track what went wrong at PPS Ford during the first breakdown investigation, we had a meeting with the Service Head of PPS Ford Pune, who showed us the attached job card from first breakdown. The Service Head claimed that PPS Ford had already identified the exact error codes during last breakdown, and that they were fixed just by cleaning the filter. He also went on to make a senseless comment that since the car ran trouble-free for 2k kms after the first breakdown, PPS Ford had done a decent job with fixing the vehicle then. He further stated that since the car has broken down again in a similar manner, it needed further investigation. Such kind of statements coming from a General Manager of a Ford Service Center make me doubt the morality and credibility of Ford dealerships and the service staff. There was zero ownership displayed by PPS Ford in this case, until this conversation.

All through this case, we noticed serious discrepancies through our communication with Ford Customer Care and PPS Ford since the first breakdown:

• The first breakdown job card which the PPS Ford Service Head showed us had the 2 error codes written in pen. We suspect the comments were written by PPS Ford after their communication with Unique Ford, with an intent that PPS Ford can also claim that they had caught the errors during 1st breakdown.

Errors suspiciously written by pen on job card
Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway-pps3_edited.jpg

• During the first breakdown, the job details under labor nowhere mention that the work was carried out for clearing the error codes or cleaning the Fuel Filter. On the other hand, all other line items which were checked during 1st breakdown are mentioned.

No mention on fuel filter cleaned anywhere on the job card
Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway-pps1_edited.jpg

• On the last page of the job report, under observation section, the original problem statement has been suspiciously scratched by a pen and the problem solution below the scratched remark has been re-written. It has been rubbed to such an extent that the original comment is almost unreadable.

Comment suspiciously scratched by Pen
Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway-pps4_edited.jpg

• If at all the error codes were cleared by cleaning the filter, this has not been communicated to us after the first breakdown. The only communication has been that there was no issue and the car is road worthy. If at all this was communicated to us, we would have been extra cautious to not take the car on long journeys.

After the above discrepancies, I decided to escalate this case to Ford Senior Management. I reached out to Mr. Jashdip Bhatia (Head Customer Experience) on LinkedIn and Mr. Vinay Raina (Executive Director – Ford India) through his Gmail which I was able to retrieve through some online research. I also lodged a formal grievance with Department of Consumer Affairs with GOI.

After these escalations, Ford Customer Care started frantically reaching out to me multiple times a day. They remained consistent with the argument that the reason for breakdown was adulterated fuel which they observed during the fuel tank and fuel filter clean-up. To date, they remain silent on:

• Why this serious issue was not captured / fixed by PPS Ford during the 1st breakdown, and who should claim ownership for the 2nd breakdown

• When I requested that I be provided with a written confirmation that the car won’t breakdown again for the same error codes, and that I do not risk my life in a similar breakdown again, Ford India provided a generic response without any formal road worthiness commitment due to these error codes.

The senior management escalation proved to be useful though in a limited sense - PPS Ford and Unique Ford Kolhapur coordinated among themselves to get the car back to Pune at their own expense. Moreover, PPS Ford Service Team was cooperative during our 2nd visit after the car was bought back. PPS Ford gave a written confirmation on the job card, mentioning that the car be kept under observation for 1000 kms until a complete clearance on the defect.

Getting back to the quality of RSA - When I went to take the delivery of my car at PPS Ford Pune, I observed a huge dent on the front bumper of the car, which Unique Ford claims was already present when RSA dropped the car at the dealership. Thankfully, I had clicked pictures of the car while the car was being lifted by the towing truck, and these came to use to prove that the front bumper was dent free when the car was handed over to the RSA. I am presently now in a tussle with Ford RSA, who till date hasn’t identified the ownership of the dent and who and how it will be fixed.

Huge dent on Front Bumper incurred during pickup by Ford RSA
Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway-rsa-damage-1-edited.jpg

The above instances with our beloved Ford Ecosport over the past 3-4 months has made me lost the brand trust in Ford India. As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, I truly believe that the Ford Ecosport in one of the finest and well engineered product in India. I would love to keep my car with me as long as possible, but I am still doubtful on how comfortably and peacefully I would be able to travel the long distances with the car, something which I truly enjoyed over the past many years.
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Old 6th January 2022, 12:32   #2
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Default Re: Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

I agree with you. The EcoSport is a wonderful product. In fact, Ford has given us some of the best cars in their respective segments. Except for the earlier Escorts, I don't recall a single Ford product that I haven't liked.

Hearing about the breakdown, the car stopping in the middle of the motorway sounds absolutely terrifying. I wouldn't want something like that to happen to anyone.

Coming to your experience with the service and RSA - it's not confidence inspiring at all. The problem that comes up when a company exits the country is that just a limited number of service centres remain functional (generally just one or less per town). In such a situation, you have no choice but to use these centres. The company management won't push too much as they wouldn't want to lose the remaining service centres.
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Old 6th January 2022, 13:22   #3
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Default Re: Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
The company management won't push too much as they wouldn't want to lose the remaining service centres.
Completely agree with moderator Aditya here. One of my acquaintances went through a similar perturbation while trying to get his Chevrolet Cruze serviced few months into the exit of Chevy from India. In his case, he observed a huge dent on the boot (next to the logo) and a cut in the driver seat's leather while the vehicle was back from service and on confronting the centre about it, the centre blatantly denied all the allegations made against them and went to the level of asking him to complain to the company directly. He did the same but to no avail. His helpless state left him to get the damages repaired in another centre for around ~25k as the car was very dear to him. It may be a similar case where the company no longer has the hold on the centre as their conversation with my friend seemed to be siding with him but did not get the work done. Sure few other Chevy owners now are finding the centres free and more responsive in their approach but this particular case made it clear that once a company exits, it's existing users may face the brunt.

It is saddening to hear that you had to go through this @Pratik but I see only two ways to go about it-

1) Get your car serviced in another service centre which gets some positive reviews online and first hand (from other owners here maybe). Develop cordial relations with one of the Service executives there and get it serviced only by them every time you need to. This really works with companies that provide poor after sales services.

2) I hate saying this but sell your car and get a hassle free new one if this Ecosport no longer instills confidence in you to take it out. This is not a very feasible option considering the fact that the car is just 5.5 years old and most people like to keep their cars for as long as they can but I see that you are left with no choice here if at all the car continues to trouble you.

All the best!

Last edited by @og_adi : 6th January 2022 at 13:23.
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Old 6th January 2022, 15:08   #4
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Default Re: Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

As a customer you can make noise about Ford not informing you about adulterated fuel and not doing their job properly the last time and now you had one more breakdown etc - but what does that yield? An apology at best?

If Ford claims adulterated fuel , they can also write you up for the following replacements before assuring you that your vehicle is not expected to have any more breakdowns related to the fuel system unless there is adulterated fuel again.

1. Fuel pump replacement - high and low pressure
2. Fuel Tank cleaning
3. Fuel filters replacement
4. Fuel injectors replacement
5. Fuel lines replacement

etc etc, that is going to be a big bill. At the end of the day Ford is doing its customers a favor (in their mind) by keeping the service centers alive.

I would suggest doing minimum repairs to keep the vehicle running and sell it off, there is still good demand for Ecosport.
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Old 6th January 2022, 18:11   #5
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Default Re: Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

This is absolutely heart-wrenching to see this ordeal on a product that remains close to your heart!

When companies abandon a market, there’s hardly any goodwill that stays back in favor of them. It is similar to US exiting Afghanistan overnight and the rest was history. Service centers or the dealerships felt betrayed and they can certainly now be termed as Not-so-FNG’s limited to Ford. They’d be running the shop mostly by not-so-skilled technicians too to keep their ship afloat. I believe, at this point, it is advisable for you to upgrade - either a lateral / vertical to safeguard your peace.

Not worth head banging on an issue where there’s no governing body too to address these concerns of a consume. Just switch to a company who’re going to remain here in this country - atleast for this decade!

Stay safe and hope you sort all of this and come to a conclusion!

Last edited by gururajrv : 6th January 2022 at 18:12.
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Old 6th January 2022, 18:26   #6
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Default Re: Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

To sum up your story:
Your fuel filter was clogged resulting in the engine going into limp mode/shutting off.
Then, PPS Ford misdiagnosed it and later tried to cover up their incompetence.
Unique Ford did a good job in comparison in diagnosing the issue and being transparent about it. And, the third party towing company sent by the RSA damaged your car in the process.
Considering this, get your car fixed from Unique asap and then chase Ford to replace/repair your bumper FOC. Also, I can recommend you Dhone Ford in Pune for future services as I've had a good experience with them in the past. There's no point in going after PPS Ford for this and a lost customer is what they deserve. Good luck!
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Old 6th January 2022, 22:03   #7
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Default Re: Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

Sorry to hear about your experience but please check your bill from the previous service. Was the fuel filter changed then? And what’s with this fuel filter cleaning nonsense? Why can’t they just replace the filter. The Ecosport diesel filter is relatively cheap. And please check where the car was tanked up? There are thousands of Ecosports plying on Indian roads and filling diesel from numerous places. I don’t understand what’s so special about the place you filled diesel from. I mean how bad can it get to breakdown a car. From the looks of it, PPS has added those remarks later. Thugs!

About the RSA, did they use the tow hook on the bumper properly? Escalate it to ford. This is ridiculous.

Last edited by asit.kulkarni93 : 6th January 2022 at 22:05.
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Old 7th January 2022, 09:24   #8
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Default Re: Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
In such a situation, you have no choice but to use these centres. The company management won't push too much as they wouldn't want to lose the remaining service centres.
Which in turn means its not going to be a peace of mind inspiring ownership with any such brand that leaves the country. Sad realities. Perhaps those who sell off their perfectly working cars after a car brand exits - are not exactly paranoid, but wise.
Quote:
Originally Posted by asit.kulkarni93 View Post
About the RSA, did they use the tow hook on the bumper properly? Escalate it to ford. This is ridiculous.
From the pictures it seems they have used the front axle-lift type towing crane & haven't used the tow hook. More often than not - the guys that come with this type of a crane, don't exactly show patience or expertise in mounting the vehicle carefully. Then there are those dangling chains that are free to move around.
Unfortunately this is the prevalent type of towing vehicles around us, and one has to really be patient and perseverant to insist on a full flat-bed if these mishaps are to be avoided.

Then - its also possible that the dent occurred at the workshop, and not during the towing (unless of course it was witnessed during the towing). At the workshop - they generally manually move the car into working area, if the car isn't powered by own engine. I'm inclined to agree with the OP that this didn't happen during the towing, but at the workshop.

What's disappointing to see is - Ford ASC is more keen on pushing away the responsibility, rather than giving back the car in the state in which the customer had handed it over. There are clear pictures of the car on the towing crane without any damage to the bumper. Afterwards - its Ford ASC's responsibility to maintain it that way. Simple. I hope Ford India service/CRM team intervenes and gives an amicable closure.

Last edited by Reinhard : 7th January 2022 at 09:25.
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Old 7th January 2022, 13:19   #9
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Default Re: Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

@Pratik, the diagnose by Unique seems logical, the filter situation might have aggravated in the 2K between the 1st and 2nd breakdown. Most probably PPS tried starting the car after sometime and since it started fine they just returned it to you. Ford charges for OBD scanning (at least now, might have been FOC earlier) so PPS would have done that if they had done a proper scan, could have cleared the error by connecting laptop or disconnecting battery. Unfortunately Ford never used to give a printed or properly drafted scanning report, it would be just the error etc. written on the job card.
And I would not suggest selling your ecosport just for this issue, maintaining your car would require more efforts now given the changed attitude of ASC but will not be so difficult that you need to sell your car, especially since you are in a metro city. I own a 2016 ecosport and had thought hard (I'm also getting a new car lease from my office) but decided not to sell it, and for the first time in my 15 years driving experience I went to a FNG rather than the Ford ASC.
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Old 7th January 2022, 14:34   #10
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Default Re: Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

Good product should be backed up by even better after sales service otherwise it would end up like this.
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Old 7th January 2022, 15:39   #11
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Default Re: Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pratik Chavan View Post
PPS Ford and Unique Ford Kolhapur coordinated among themselves to get the car back to Pune at their own expense. Moreover, PPS Ford Service Team was cooperative during our 2nd visit after the car was bought back. PPS Ford gave a written confirmation on the job card, mentioning that the car be kept under observation for 1000 kms until a complete clearance on the defect.
If in 1000 kms, no defect is observed by PPS Ford, then we can say the problem is solved. However, I would still suggest you to drive a few thousand kms in your vicinity area to check for this issue again at your end.
Then only you can gain back that trust & confidence to take it on highways.

I think the problem got occurred for the 2nd time due to 'wrong assumption' by PPS Ford during the diagnosis that the car works fine. Had they gone a little deeper, they would have caught this issue and avoided from happening it again.
I've seen this in other brand service centers also where the moment no error codes are thrown further after clearance and if the car is perfect to be driven at that time during their short test drive run, they give the vehicle back to customer with OK report. Deep diagnosis was not done/required that time.

After hearing your problem and your prior experience, Unique Ford dug a bit deeper to the issue and solved it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbojet View Post
Good product should be backed up by even better after sales service otherwise it would end up like this.
Come on man. What more can you expect from a service center whose brand has left.
IMO, owners should prepare themselves mentally about what their future experiences would be. It may/may not remain the same.
At least in 'other' cases, we have heard positive experiences from owners here till now after their exit & simply hoping to remain the same in future visits also.

PS: I'm also a Ford owner.

Edit:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbojet View Post
If this experience would have happened last year then would you same the same thing ?
My comment is a generic one not specific to current situation or brand.
My views are based on the current context and situation after their 'Exit'. Had this misdiagnosis occurred before their exit, my views would have been certainly different.

My earlier quoted response to you was on the basis of my assumption that you were talking about current situation after their Exit, not prior.
Also, usage of words like "backed up by even better after sales service" triggered my response to you. Again on the assumption that you are referring to current context and situation.

Last edited by Bhupesh_2628 : 7th January 2022 at 15:55. Reason: Added more information based on updated quoted response
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Old 7th January 2022, 15:46   #12
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Default Re: Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhupesh_2628 View Post
Come on man. What more can you expect from a service center whose brand has left.
IMO, owners should prepare themselves mentally about what their future experiences would be. It may/may not remain the same.
At least in 'other' cases, we have heard positive experiences from owners here & simply hoping to remain the same in future visits also.

PS: I'm also a Ford owner.
If this experience would have happened last year then would you same the same thing ? IMHO, existing ford owners were left in lurch by Ford's sudden exit from Indian market. They have no choice unfortunately.

Jeep Compass is a good product but has issues with parts/reliability.
Tincans with good service arent good either.

My comment is a generic one not specific to current situation or brand. I also own Fiesta petrol 2005-11 model

Last edited by Turbojet : 7th January 2022 at 15:48.
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Old 7th January 2022, 16:36   #13
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Default Re: Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

That’s really a sad situation to go through. I am myself contemplating an Ecosport Petrol AT. There’s no car that matches the ecosport with the dragon engine and that TC. I really feel ford should have given India another chance. If TATA can turn the tables I can’t understand why Ford couldn’t.
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Old 7th January 2022, 17:39   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by @og_adi View Post

It is saddening to hear that you had to go through this @Pratik but I see only two ways to go about it-

1) Get your car serviced in another service centre which gets some positive reviews online and first hand (from other owners here maybe). Develop cordial relations with one of the Service executives there and get it serviced only by them every time you need to. This really works with companies that provide poor after sales services.

All the best!
Absolutely agree with your recommendations, this is the path we have decided to take. Praying that after the fuel filter fix, the error does not pop up. However, if the car breaks down again, I am definitely putting this for sale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asit.kulkarni93 View Post
Sorry to hear about your experience but please check your bill from the previous service. thousands of Ecosports plying on Indian roads and filling diesel from numerous places. I don’t understand what’s so special about the place you filled diesel from. I mean how bad can it get to breakdown a car. From the looks of it, PPS has added those remarks later. Thugs!

About the RSA, did they use the tow hook on the bumper properly? Escalate it to ford. This is ridiculous.
During the first breakdown, PPS Ford did not care to investigate the root cause at all. Just because the car started on its own the next morning, they assumed that the problem would not reoccur. I therefore strongly suspect the comments in pen which they have mentioned on the job card, this was probably done after the 2nd breakdown was reported.
For RSA, fortunately, Ford just agreed to fix the bumper dent free of cost. I will be fixing an appointment with their service center soon.

Last edited by Sheel : 8th January 2022 at 15:44. Reason: Please edit or multi quote (QUOTE +) your replies instead of back to back posts on the same thread. Thanks.
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Old 8th January 2022, 22:48   #15
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Default Re: Serious concerns on Ford's customer care & service support : 2 breakdowns on the highway

We had a Figo, and I remember, we had something similar three times, albeit at really low speeds. It didn’t have too many warnings back then. The engine would switch off in the middle, in a random gear, and the breaks and power steering would go dead. However it would immediately start on the next crank, and we would continue.

I wonder how it would have been for you at high speeds. Scary. I would start thinking of selling it off, assuming that Ford back then, had no clue what I was explaining, and probably in your case also have blamed a random problem as the cause.
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