Ford dealer cuts my ABS sensor wire, reports it as 'Rat Bite'

CCTV footage shows a technician reaching under my Ford EcoSport with pliers. Kingsford Verna and Ford India have both become unresponsive.

BHPian hemant.kamat recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

On 24 July 2021, following a diversion to an unpaved & bumpy stretch of road due to the ongoing construction work on the NH17 highway between Agassim and Cortalim, resulted in my EcoSport displaying an "ABS Malfunction Error - Service Now" message with the ABS LED remaining continuously lit. Upon immediately driving the vehicle to the Ford India authorized dealership and service centre, Kingsford Verna - the issue was diagnosed as a malfunctioning front right ABS sensor, and I was required to schedule a service appointment to rectify the same.

On 14 Aug 2021, during the scheduled service appointment, I was informed that the wire leading to the sensor had been "bitten by a rat", and replacement of the sensor + harness cable would cost Rs. 32,000 + labour + GST. Upon my insistence on inspection of the damaged part, the "rat bitten" wire was shown to me (refer attached photographs) which to me looked like a clean cut done using a sharp blade. However, with the other technicians & service advisors ganging up together insisting on the rat bite story and refusing to re-join the cut wires, I was forced to shell out Rs. 2,710 for a new ABS sensor. I did however, refuse to pay for a new harness wire and was prepared to join the cut wire pieces myself if necessary, upon realization of which the technicians relented and did it themselves.

Subsequently, I have had the "rat-bitten" wire inspected by several people including mechanics who service my other vehicles and none of them have even remotely accepted that the wire could have been cut cleanly & diagonally by a rat. This leading me to suspect that the ABS sensor wire was deliberately cut to facilitate sales of spares and meet service collection targets. This is also corroborated by the fact that the ABS sensor is not exposed, nor easy to get to. It requires removal of the plastic wheel fender lining, a process that can only be done by a Ford trained technician.

On my registration of a complaint to this effect with Ford India, Kingsford Verna immediately offered to "waive-off" Rs. 2,710 from my subsequent service bill, provided that I withdraw the complaint. However, my insistence on a copy of the service job card (which mentions cause of the damage as rat-bite) or the CCTV footage of my vehicle being inspected (which clearly shows the technician reaching under the wheel well holding a set of pliers) either of which provide irrefutable evidence of the dealership's complicity, led to both Kingsford Verna & Ford India becoming unresponsive thereafter.

I'm now considering approaching the consumer court against both, Kingsford Verna & Ford India. In this connection, I would greatly appreciate advice & suggestions from the community on the following:

  1. Process of filing a case in the consumer court - whether filing an online complaint on the National Consumer Helpline will work.
  2. Recommendations for a trustworthy mechanic or FNG in and around Panaji/Margao who's capable of servicing my EcoSport hereafter, as I will not be handing over my vehicle to Kingsford Verna again, ever.

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