Adrian family frustrated with auto recall & mounting bills turns to WXYZ's Call For Action team

Settlement check finally comes in the mail

ADRIAN, Mich. (WXYZ) - An auto recall alert turned into an 11-month-long, money-draining nightmare for one family in Adrian.  So, they contacted WXYZ's Call For Action team for help.

Dave and Darlene Girbach's Ford Freestar froze up last April on a trip to Frankenmuth.

"So there we were just stuck on the side of the road. We couldn't go forward or back," explained Darlene.

Just two weeks before, her husband Dave had received a Recall Alert in the mail from Ford Motor Company.

"It may be possible for your vehicle to lose forward and reverse power while driving due to worn splines in the transmission torque converter," Dave read aloud from the letter.

Sure enough…their Freestar had worn splines in the torque converter.  The Girbach's had to pay close to  $400 for a car rental while a dealership fixed the problem over several weeks.

He kept all of the paper work thinking he'd be reimbursed.

As promised, the dealership did replace the torque converter free of charge.

But the dealership realized shavings from the converter had damaged the transmission.

Dealership representatives told Dave that Ford would not allow them to return his van until he paid for a remanufactured transmission.

That was when he experienced the real sticker shock.

"As you can see here, the cost of [the remanufactured transmission] was 28-hundred-and-fifty-dollars," said Dave, pointing to the bill.

The Girbach's didn't think they should have to pay to fix a problem the recalled part had caused nor the car rental needed during the ordeal.

"I had called Ford. I had called their help line. I had called their recall line," explained Dave.

And he was patient. He'd been a loyal Ford employee for more than 30 years setting molds for many Ford vehicles.  But after nine months, he and his wife were at the end of their rope.

"Well, we were getting nowhere. I just happened to think let's call Channel 7's Call for Action. It wouldn't hurt," said Darlene.

"I zapped them off an email the end of December," said Dave.

Our "Call For Action" team contacted Ford.

And in late January a Ford Motor Company representative contacted Dave personally.

"She took the information that I had, and she called me back a couple of days later.  And they offered me a settlement," he said.

The settlement was for $1,802.87.  They received the check in the mail March 4 th.

"Relief! Yeah, I'm thinking, oh, finally we got a solution," said Darlene.

I asked Dave if he thought his email to the Call For Action team was the only reason he received the check.

He answered with an emphatic, "Yes!"

"It was the only way I got the check. It was the only way," he added.

The Call For Action team takes calls three days a week -- Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays -- from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

The number to call is (248) 827-3362.

You may also click here to submit a complaint form online.


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