The issue came to a head on Monday (Sept 26) when Thai PBS reported that about 200 buyers of the two models of Ford demonstrated in front of the Ford Thailand Head Office at Sathorn Square in Bangkok to demand the company show responsibility for the faulty vehicles.
At that time, Atchariya Ruangrattanapong, president of the club to assist crime victims, said that the club would submit to the company a list of some 150 customers who claimed to have faulty cars and that they would expect the issue to be resolved by the end of October. (See story here.)
On Tuesday (Sept 27), a representative from Anuphas Ford Phuket declined to answer how many complaints they had received from buyers. Instead, he simply said, “At this time we can not provide any information about this. However, you can contact Ford Thailand directly regarding this issue.”
In addition to the complaints received in Bangkok, two cases regarding cars purchased in Phuket have been filed at the Phuket Consumer Protection Office located at Provincial Hall in Phuket Town, an official confirmed to The Phuket News on Tuesday.
The Phuket News also spoke to two complainants, Napapin Suphantana, 37, and Titipan Wongwadee, who recently went to Anuphas Ford Phuket to complain about problems with their cars, but had yet to file complaints with the Phuket Consumer Protection Office.
“I finally went to Anuphas Ford Phuket because my Ford Focus has been giving me problems, especially when driving up Patong Hill,” Ms Napapin explained.
“The automatic gear system has become a big issue. For the first two years, I had never had this problem, but now in the third year I have started to experience many problems with the gears,” she said.
“Another problem is that the engine often overheats,” she added.
“I didn’t file a complaint with Anuphas Ford Co Ltd or the Consumer Protection Office because when I took my car to Ford to check, they fixed the problem. However, I had to go through my insurance to cover the cost of the repairs. Anuphas did not offer the repairs for free,” Ms Napapin said.
Ms Titipan, meanwhile, has had problems with her Ford Fiesta.
“I have been going to Anuphas Ford Phuket regularly since buying my Ford Fiesta because of problems with the automatic gear system. And every time we went and had the problem fixed, we had to pay out of our own pocket.
“One time we went to get the car serviced and had to pay B9,000. Yes, the problem was rectified for a while, but then we had the same problem again just one month later. They repaired it again, but two months later, the same problem returned.
“We bought this car in 2013 and ever since we have been dealing with problems with it,” she said.
“I met Ms Napapin here when she brought her car in for repairs and we discussed our issues and what we could do about it. We didn’t know who we could complain to and whether the company would be responsible for paying back the money we have had to spend on keeping our cars running,” she added.
The Ford Thailand Cooperate Communication Manager based in Bangkok, Preeti Praphanwitaya, told The Phuket News on Tuesday that thecompany had issued a press release explaining the situation to the public, and said, “That is the only information we can give at this time, we will keep you up to date on the issue.”
The press release Ms Preeti referred to related directly to Atchariya Ruangrattanapong, the president of the club to assist crime victims who made national news with the protest in Bangkok.
The press release read: “Ford Thailand has asked Mr Atchariya Reingrattanapong and representatives of the customer group to come to Ford Thailand on September 26 to discuss the issue and find a solution to settle it. Present at the meeting were military and police officials. Mr Atchariya, the group, and Ford agreed that Ford must talk with each buyer individually to find the best solution for them. Mr Atchariya will provide a list of names to Ford on Wednesday (Sept 28).”
Mr Preeti confirmed to The Phuket News today (Sept 29) that the customer list has been received by her office and that individual cases will be discussed with each customer as stated in the press release.
In addition, an official from the Phuket Consumer Protection Office – who declined to be named – said, “We have received two complaints against Anuphas Ford Phuket, the first was filed a couple of weeks ago and referred to a vehicle’s gear system. We were advised that the company and complainant reached an agreement and that no further action from our office was required.
“The second case was filed more recently and was regarding the same issue. I can confirm that this case is currently being reviewed by our office,” the official said.