Sunday

2012 Ford Focus Gets More Complaints, Recalls, Service Bulletins - What's Up?

What is going on with the 2012 Ford Focus? Consumers are wondering while complaints from owners pile up, technical service bulletins are issued and the recalls begin. Ford knows, but it isn't talking.

2013 Ford Focus Transmission Complaints
Hundreds of owner complaints have been filed with federal safety investigators and Ford has issued at least a dozen service bulletins - secret warranties they tell dealers about - and two recalls.

Dozens and dozens of owner complaints have to do with transmission troubles and the complaints are spilling over to other owner-gripe web sites by the dozens too. Some owners even complain that the car won't go into gear when the engine is running!

Edmunds has 696 complaints and questions and discussions about the Focus tranny problems posted at its Townhall Talk pages alone as of July 2013. And at 8,000 miles, one owner posted a review at Edmunds that warned "Don't Even Think About This Car" saying that its transmission was "terrible."

Federal safety investigators have logged 216 owner complaints as of July 2013 too - and owners have to hunt and click through web site pages for the web page where they can file a vehicle complaint, mind you (hint, you can click right here to register your car's complaint).

Frustrated owners have noted Ford's problems with 2012 Ford Focus wiring harnesses, the Focus car's computer programs and parts, slipping transmissions, grinding noises, furious jerking, uphill hesitation, losing power, and worse. Computer reprogramming hasn't made the complaints go away.

Some complaints have focused on the Focus car's six speed dual clutch transmission design as a sore spot. Other complain of near stall-outs with heavy braking and loss of power assist and fading brakes.

For its part, Ford issued a recall having to do with water leaking into a wiring harness but no specific recall on the transmission complaints has come out, causing consumers to wonder why not. In the face of hundreds of tranny complaints, it is puzzling to industry watchdogs and consumers alike.

Ford did issue a secret warranty to cover "improperly balanced clutch assembly" that causes vibrations, but how severe those are is something Ford didn't say. And another one was issued on Ford Focus transmission jerks and rough shifting and "roll back" when on an incline or hill.

And are things looking any better for the 2013 Ford Focus? Not really, it's off to a similar start with two recalls, more service bulletins, and over 50 consumer complaints.

If you have a lemon Ford Focus, take it back to the shop repeatedly, document your complaints carefully, and if they don't fix your Focus within 3 attempts, you've probably got a lemon. Take the Ohio Lemon Law Test at www.OhioLemonLaw.com and in Kentucky you can take the test at www.KentuckyLemonLaw.com to see if you are entitled to a new car or your money back. If so, call us on our Toll Free Ford Focus Hotline at 1.888.331.6422. In Hawaii, go to www.AlohaLemonLaw.com for free Lemon Law help to get rid of your Ford Focus.

If you are thinking about getting a new or used Ford Focus, you may want to think about it again. You may be well advised to wait until Ford focuses on fixing the Focus problems that current owners are raging about on the internet.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers avoid lemons and get rid of them, everyday.

Monday

Banks and Credit Unions Fighting for Your Money

Their fight will cost you money.
It's been brewing for years and now it's about to boil over.

Banks have complained for years about credit unions and their ability to offer lower interest rates and better loan terms. Up to recently Banks have been glad many folks just didn't know much about credit unions but it's changing.

Credit unions have been going after the bank's bread and butter by taking bank customers away with offers of no and low fees for practically all the same financial services that banks have "owned" for over a hundred years. And that did it. Banks are fighting back. And it could cost you big money.

When it came to car loans, it used to be that car dealers offered bank financing. Then finance companies worked their way into the lucrative market and car dealers offered both, but quickly realized that they could make more money for themselves with the higher kickback that finance companies would give them. Never mind the fact that the consumer's interest rate on their dealer-arranged loans started getting higher than bank rates too - after all, that extra dealer kickback profit had to come from somewhere, right? It did. It came right out of the customer's pocket in ways few customers knew was happening.

Then along came the credit unions.

Credit unions always had a historically slow and cautious growth in the financial services marketplace, restricted by policies and rules that limited their membership abilities. You had to work at the same place. You had to have a relative who worked there. You had to live in their membership area. Most of that has gone away and you can pretty much join any credit you want to in these times, within some remaining limits.

And that meant that the credit unions had more money to play with. So they looked around and decided there was one place where they could offer lower interest rates and where the financial profits were pretty good for the picking. Car dealers. So they aggressively went after the market, offering to let car dealers sign up new members for them at the same time the car dealer was setting up their purchase loans which, of course, also went through the credit union. Some car dealers even even fronted the credit union's usually $5 joining fee.

Credit unions used their low rates to push loans and new membership partly because they knew that once a new member was "in" the credit union, they frequently started using the credit union for all their financial needs. Checking accounts, small loans, savings accounts, and in some cases even mortgage loans to buy a home or make home improvements.

The Bank's share of the financial services market started eroding more than they could stand. So the banks have been complaining to Congress. Lobbying is more correctly what it's called. And few business have as much money to spend on lobbying as the banks do.

Credit unions have long had the financial advantage of a tax exemption that banks don't have - and banks don't like it. So they are pushing Congress and the White House to end the credit union tax break. They claim that it will help raise tax revenue and make it easier to balance the federal budget. But don't let that fool you. They are after your money and they see a chance to get it back by forcing the credit unions, membership-owned entities, to give up the only advantage they have. Bottom line? The banks want to get rid of the competition or at least "even" it up.

It's easy to make lending mistakes
when you don't know who you are loaning money to.
And what would it mean for you? Money. Big money. Estimates are that the tax exemption enables the credit unions to save over $1.6 billion a year.

There is a fundamental difference between credit unions and banks - credit unions can not legally raise money the same way that banks do. That's because banks are big corporations and the bigger they are the more they gobble up the smaller banks. That's a lesson we saw over the last twenty years, as the local small town banks disappeared as they were taken over, bought out, or just went out of business, one after another. And now we are left with a handful of banks that pretty much run the banking system of the entire country. Does "too big to fail' remind you of the multi-billion dollar Wall Street bailout mess of a few years ago?

And it affects politics too. As the number of banks dwindled during the last 20 years, the political donations from the financial sector increased ten fold.

If the banks have their way, credit unions will disappear. They will have no choice but to technically become banks. Interest rates will raise, local offices likely will shutter their doors.
Little fish always look mighty tasty to bigger fish

And the big fish will once again swallow up all the little fishes that suddenly are turned loose in their financial pond.

What the banks want to do is increase their hold on your money. It was competition that forced many banks to reduce or drop their services fees on checking accounts and overdrafts - which were some of the most profitable parts of their business scheme.

If you want to keep your interest rates low, if you want to be able to go to a financial institution and actually deal face to face with the people who will make the lending decision for you and your family, you better act soon. Tell your US representative and Senator and the White House that you want the credit unions left alone.

Why? Because credit unions are the only alternative financial source you have left. Credits unions work. They save people money.

Burdge Law Office
Helping people help themselves, everyday.