Fitchburg Grandmother Stalled By Ford Recall

By Ron Sanders, WBZ-TV

FITCHBURG (CBS) — Fitchburg grandmother Kathryn Dooley says a recall letter for her 1999 Ford Windstar arrived earlier this month, the same day she saw a story on WBZ-TV raising the question of whether a suspected rear axle defect in a 2001 Windstar could have led to a fatal crash in Whitman that killed 28-year-old Sean Bowman, a father of two, and critically injured his passenger, 29-year-old Colleen Currie.

“I knew this was serious, so I took my car in for the recall,” says Dooley.

But Dooley’s recall letter says parts won’t be available for four or five months. She says her rental allowance will pay only enough for a sedan, not a mini-van like her Windstar which she needs to drive around the five grandchildren for whom she cares.

She says she home-schools several of them because they have neutropenia, a blood disorder that does not allow them to attend public schools. 

She says renting a mini-van would cost her $10 a day on top of the allowance. 

“I got laid-off the end of May. I figure by the time this axle comes in, which is the first quarter of next year, it’s going to cost me $1,500 to $2,000,” explains Dooley. 

She says she has appealed to Ford World Headquarters without success.  “And I feel like it’s an injustice for those of us, we have a van for a reason.”

As she keeps trying to find an affordable rental van rather than the sedan, Kathryn Dooley thinks about the company that laid her off as a customer service representative and says even they would have bent over backwards to keep a customer satisfied.

Prompted by WBZ’s request for a response and provided with her contact information, Ford Motor Company contacted Kathryn Dooley and said they would try to work something out through a local dealership.

  • Patricia Zagzoug

    We recieved a recall notice for our 2000 Windstar last week. My husband took in the car and they kept it. He picked up a compact sedan, rental, which does not fit our family of 6! We can’t go anywhere as a family unless we take 2 cars and 3 people cannot fit comfortably or safely with my daughter’s booster seat. We are going to try to upgrade to a larger vehicle on Monday but no one told us of any allowance! We also think it is ridiculous that we have to pay the sales tax on the rental when we had NOTHING to do with the defect in the Windstar!!!

  • Michael Virostko

    I have gone up to chain to FORD management and they flatly refuse to help. Rebecca says FORD has gone beyond the requirements. The fact that I use the van to transport large stuff and or 6 people was not good enough to “authorize” an upgrade to a van. They would not, authorize a van rental for a few weeks, nor will the authorized a direct payment to another car rental. I did find another car rental company willing to rent me a van for $38/day for three months. The catch is they need a credit card. The dealer will give a purchase order. The problem is if the payment is not made in time my credit card would be hit with $1,140 charge. Might have to think about buying a new FORD with this treatment. At least my local dealer is trying to help. FORD customer service is not.

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