Ford owner calls for lemon laws after vehicle in repair shop for 16 weeks

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A B.C. woman wants financial compensation from Ford Canada and out of her contract with the automaker after she says she was sold a faulty vehicle.

Sarah Timmins says she purchased a brand new 2018 Ford Escape Titanium SUV only to have it end up in the repair shop for months.

“This car is definitely a lemon,” said Sarah Timmins. “I’m not hopeful that they are going to be able to fix it.”

Timmins says the issues started in September 2019 when her vehicle broke down while driving to Calgary to visit family.

“We phoned Ford to say we need roadside assistance. They showed up, they checked our battery. Battery was fine, but I had 97 alarms on my Ford App registering for faults and the car wouldn’t start,” said Timmins.

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The Trail, B.C., resident says the Ford dealership eventually got the car back up and running, but days later Timmins says the vehicle went dead again.

“There has been so many modules put in, wiring harnesses, new computer, new battery,” said Timmins.

“Now they are saying the dash isn’t working at all. It’s not getting better, maybe worse even,” she added.

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Timmins says her vehicle, which has approximately 14,000 kilometres on the odometer, has been under repair at the dealership for 16 weeks.

“I haven’t seen it except for in the lot where it’s sitting,” said Timmins.

The dealership has given Timmins a loaner vehicle, but Timmins says she’s had little cooperation from Ford Canada.

Adding to her frustration, she says she’s been making bi-weekly payments for a vehicle she hasn’t been able to drive for several months.

“I’m paying $410 biweekly. So, some months there are three payments and I haven’t even seen this vehicle and honestly, I would never buy a Ford again,” said Timmins.

Timmins says she would like to see Canada adopt “lemon laws” which already exist in the U.S.

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The non-profit Automobile Protection Association says lemon laws can be very effective.

“Basically, a lemon law adds an additional layer of warranty protection,” said George Iny with the Automobile Protection Association.

“Everyone understands that if, say, a vehicle is off the road for more than 30 days in the first 18 months or it’s been in five times for repair for the same problem — once everyone knows the rules you don’t even end up using the lemon law because the manufacturer knows it’s time to sit down and talk to the consumer.”

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Canada does have an arbitration process called the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan which tries to resolve disputes between consumers and manufacturers.

“CAMVAP is very effective in keeping cases out of court. In the long run, that’s good for the industry,” said Iny.

“It’s a well-run program, but it’s a risky place to go and ask to have your vehicle bought back because you don’t have any assurance, even if your vehicle is off the road for a very long time or if you went back multiple times, that the arbitrator will order a buy back.”

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As for Sarah Timmins, she’s applied to the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan and is waiting for a date to present her case to an arbitrator.

In the meantime, she’s still making payments for a vehicle that remains in the repair shop.

Consumer Matters did reach out to Ford Canada about Timmins’ case, but did not receive a response.

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