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Ford Focus clutch extended warranty problem

I need some help making a decision I never thought I’d face. Months ago I received a letter from FoMoCo stating that my car’s clutch warranty will be extended. Great. I’ve always had problems with the thing since I got it. It would shutter at low speeds and it didn’t feel like it was accelerating as fast as it should. Lo and behold, the letter explains that anyone with these symptoms has the opportunity for a replacement clutch at no expense to him/her… or so I thought. Being naive to the new world of owning rebuilt vehicles I thought it was just like a recall. So, I schedule an appointment with my closest ford dealership, I give them my VIN number, they replace the clutch, give me a receipt that says it’s all been covered and I’m on my way. A day goes by and someone from the dealership explains they’ve made a mistake - that the warranty does not apply to branded titles. They then proceed to ask me to pay for the repair. Now I’m faced with a big problem. On one hand, if I didn’t receive this letter to begin with I would’ve never gotten it done. It’s not like the car was a complete lemon it just had a juddery clutch. On the other hand I feel bad that the lady who made the mistake and didn’t realize my car was a rebuilt will get in trouble. I know I have an ethical dilemma that I’m prepared to face. My question is do I have a legal dilemma by not paying the dealership back? The dealership had my VIN number before I took it in, I have the letter from FoMoCo which also has my VIN on it and I have a receipt that says it was paid fully by the warranty. So does FoMoCo or the dealership have legal grounds to escalate this? I’d rather not have a lien on my vehicle because I didn’t pay for something they told me was going to be free. Between the ignorance of the dealership and myself, I’m worried they will escalate to a legal discourse. Can anyone tell me if they have the grounds to do so?

All comments appreciated, DS

Sorry, but you are asking this in the wrong place . Any opinions that you get here will be worthless as you need real legal advice . All I can say is talk to the General Manager and look in your manual for corporate contact numbers.

Hire a lawyer if you are concerned. You did nothing wrong. The dealer made the mistake.


The dealer employees know this and are required to check the warranty coverage before starting repairs.

There are a lot of rebuilt vehicles on the road, once a month I work on a vehicle with a salvage/rebuilt title and there is a pop-up on my computer screen alerting me that the vehicle is not eligible for warranty extensions. The Ford dealers should have the same system in place.

Unless your warranty extension letter stated that rebuilt vehicles are not covered by this warranty and you did something to conceal the fact that the vehicle has a rebuilt title, this shouldn’t be your problem. It is the service writers responsibility to verify warranty coverage.

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That’s kind of what I was thinking. Thanks for your input!

You really should bring this to a lawyer to clarify your rights. Until then do not communicate with the dealership orally or in writing.

I agree with this, but there’s a problem. The clutch replacement cost is probably less than $1000, and retaining a lawyer for a $900 bill may not make sense unless you know one well and he would do it gratis.

So this guy should just roll over and pay for a clutch he wouldn’t have replaced if it hadn’t been offered to him at no cost? He can at least go to a general practice attorney for a consult to get advice, which, unless in a big city, might be less than $500.

With no law suit why would the OP need a defense attorney?

Unless there was deceit on the vehicle owners part the dealer is going to have to pay for their mistake and the service writer loses the commission on the repair.

The dealer made the mistake so let them eat the cost.I doubt the dealer is going to go after you as any legal costs would exceed the clutch repair cost.

It’s been done under warranty so this means fewer labor hours are paid to the dealer along with a discounted warranty labor rate. Factor in the actual parts cost and it’s nowhere near what the normal customer pay charge would be.

If for some goofy reason they choose to take you to small claims just show up and produce the paper work you have. I don’t see any way a judge would rule against you.


I understand your concern for the employees that may be punished for this oversight. However, I would simply respond saying what you said here- if I had known I was going to be footing the bill, I would have chose not to do the work. You guys said it would be covered so I decided, why not do it then. I used your expertise to base my decision and I’m not going to pay for it now, because there was an oversight on your part.

No, the OP shouldn’t pay up and move on, I was just suggesting that hiring a lawyer might not make sense. As @ok4450 pointed out, the expense of hiring a lawyer applies to the dealer too. Maybe the best thing to do is ignore the request and see if it comes again. After the third try, maybe contact Ford. Maybe a quick, no-cost consultation with a lawyer might yield good results.

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I think the dealer might turn this over to a collection agency, and they could intimidate the OP into paying this. I simply don’t answer the phone if I don’t recognize the number, and I never sign for certified mail, and my bank is in another state 2000 miles away, but most people don’t live like I do.