For a number of years I have been a consumer advocate. I have a blog that instructs individuals how to contact or write corporate executives to let them know when they have done a good job and of course when they have failed and missed the mark.
I have written about a number of companies over the years including National Amusements owned by Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone. The Redstone’s control CBS Corporation and Viacom, so it is not easy to catch Shari Redstone’s ear about a local issue with a theater manager, but I have and you can read more about this at my blog.
With all my years of experience I have never dealt with a company as arrogant and anti-consumer as the Ford Motor Company. So many years I resisted purchasing American made vehicles because I felt the quality and care was simply not there. In 2005 I gave in and bought my Mercury Mountaineer which I thought was a great vehicle at a fair price, but I was wrong.
For the past three years I have been involved with a movement to take the Ford Motor Company to court and sue them for a product defect on their vehicles manufactured from 2002 to present. It deals with the hundreds of thousands of vehicles that have been improperly painted at the Ford manufacturing facilities. The paint on these vehicles, due to contamination issues, improper thickness of paint being applied to the vehicles and other issues causes the paint to blister and actually peel off the cars and trucks.
I own a 2005 Mercury Mountaineer, manufactured by Ford that exhibited paint problems on the roof of my SUV in only three years. It might have started sooner, but since it started in the channels that run length wise on my roof, I never noticed it until one day while washing the car, I noticed the bubbling under the paint. At that time it was a quarter sized blister and I thought it only needed a little touch up paint to repair it. As the weeks and months went by, I noticed these little blisters began to open up and the paint began to peel. I had never seen this happen to any previous cars I owned, so I began to do some research and found thousands of matches for Ford Peeling Paint on the internet. As I began to research this problem, I soon discovered Ford knew about it and has continued to refuse any claims to repair the defective vehicles they sell.
As a photographer and journalist, I began to document this problem and even attempted self repair to ward off the rust that was forming in those channels on my roof. Of course this didn’t help and in a couple of months the rust returned as the paint continued to peel. I had joined a few forums and posted on blogs on the internet, one that was quite good was the Lemon Law Blog, but it was a blog and it was hard to find the information I wanted or see photos of other vehicles with similar problems, so I decided to form my own group on Facebook, which I named “Ford/Mercury Peeling Paint Complaints” which now boasts almost 900 members or victims of the Ford Motor Company.
It was then and is now my mission to bring this issue public and to help as many victims as I can, while putting pressure on Ford to “Man Up” and admit to this problem and take steps to not only help those with vehicles that have paint peeling or blistering, but to stop their current process in painting these vehicles that simply don’t meet minimum thickness standards or fail to adhere properly to the metal body parts due to contamination in the painting process.
Some years ago Ford and other manufacturers decided to turn over the painting process to the paint manufacturers. These paint companies like Dupont and BASF set up the paint departments in the Ford factories and handled the painting. Unfortunately, they decided to skimp on the paint and didn’t apply a thick enough coat on many of the vehicles and these cars and trucks are part of the thousands that now have sheets of paint peeling off the roofs, hoods, tailgates and other parts of these vehicles.
We enlisted the help of Steve Gaiski from the Zestar company who was hired by Ford years ago to report on their paint operations and when they discovered there was a problem, decided to do nothing about it. They ended up cancelling their contract with Zestar and even sent Steve a cease and desist order to discontinue communications with their company.
It’s a problem that Steve Gaiski, a chemical engineer and former consultant to the auto industry, says Ford Motor Company knows all too well.
Several years back they hired us to do a study of all their facilities. And so we did and came back and said my gosh, do you realize you have thin paint in all your facilities?” Gaiski said. To be clear, the problem isn’t just with Ford. Gaiski says other automakers face the same issue. But none have been hit harder with complaints, Gaiski says, than Ford.
After Gaiski and his colleagues raised the issue with Ford, he says the carmaker had no interest in the research it paid for. Three weeks after raising a red flag, Gaiski says his company’s contract was terminated. Ultimately, the company sent him a “cease and desist” letter.
Taking a vehicle to a Ford dealer or contacting Ford Customer Care about the problem ends up with the typical response that the vehicle is not under warranty for this issue or it was caused by environmental issues like Bird Droppings or Acid Rain.
There are so many complaints that the media has run a number of stories about Ford and this practice, yet no one in our government has done a thing about it. Since it is not a safety issue that can cause physical harm or death, Ford is not required to recall the vehicles. Ford has instructed their employees to simply deny any aid and to never admit that the peeling or blistering paint is an issue. Our group has been quite successful in getting national attention and many TV stations have taken up our fight. I am listing some links below that will show you just how bad this problem is.
I decided the only way to get their attention and recover the cost to repair my vehicle was to sue Ford in Small Claims Court. In the state of New Jersey I was able to sue for an amount up to $3,000 and since the cost of repairs came in at around $1,800 and the cost for the complaint was $22, it was a no brainer for me. Of course I prepared for my court appearance, brought in a load of photos and other documents and prepared a statement which I read when the judge asked me to explain my side of the story.
I won the case and was awarded the $1851.49 required to completed strip the paint and primer from the roof and rear top deck of my hatch door and then repaint it properly. I even received my court costs as well. It was an easy case to win since I was able to prove they knew of this problem, that they continue to deny warranty coverage and would rather deal with only those cases that force them into the courts. With corporations like Ford, they believe that only one in a hundred people will actually take the time and effort to sue them, so it is simply the most economical way for them to deal with the complaints.
I will be writing other articles for IMPress on this subject and will offer more detailed information on this subject. You will find solutions for those who own Ford’s that have peeling paint now or will have peeling paint in the future. It does take 2-4 years for this problem to show on most vehicles, but when it does, the only solution is to either replace the parts and repaint or strip the old paint and primer off and repaint it properly.
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words…if so these videos speak volumes
“She found thousands of other car owners with a similar peeling problem by just performing an Internet search, and she even landed on a Facebook page dedicated to Ford-Mercury peeling paint problems, where she said hundreds of disturbed vehicle owners go for advice on the bubbling, peeling paint.”
“The paint on 18 Elyria police cruisers is peeling — very badly — in fact, the paint is coming off of the cars in sheets.The cruisers are 2006 and 2004 Ford Crown Victorias”
“No one at Ford wanted to help me” Four year old Ford Expedition, peeling and blistering paint…Ford denies responsibility and would not respond to Fox 4’s report but did call the owner of the vehicle to tell her “Tough Luck”. She will now take Ford to small claims court.
WKYC Newscast – Cleveland, Ohio – Paint Peeling Police Cars
Appearance of Crown Vics an embarrassment; Ford says paint is out of warranty
www.wkyc.comLocal police complain about peeling paint on cruisers but can’t get help from Ford.
For more information about this problem and how you can solve your peeling paint, visit us on Facebook.
As of May 14, 2015 our Ford/Mercury Peeling Paint Group on Facebook has grown to almost 885 members. Join us there and share your stories with our group members.