Published: June 22, 2000 Date of revision: None By: Joe Young, staff writer, Ford Service Technician - 25 Years and editor of FlatRateTech.com A motor vehicle is like no other product manufactured and sold in the world. Besides being a complex system of inter-working subsystems, it is subjected to as many different driving conditions as there are drivers. Extreme heat to extreme cold. Maximum vehicle speed to idling for long periods of time. Long straight highways, to curvy, bumpy urban streets. Through all of this, the vehicle must continue to operate as designed and sold. So any vehicle, even the excellent products manufactured and sold by Ford Motor Company, will eventually need to be serviced, to repair anything from a minor annoyance to a major breakdown of a main component. This is the reason behind a new vehicle warranty. Contrary to what is assumed by most consumers, the new car warranty is not offered free of charge. Free of extra charge maybe, but not free from cost. That cost is paid as part of the purchase price of the vehicle. The percentage of the price that is earmarked for warranty repairs varies from car line to car line, but rest assured, you are paying for your warranty repairs when you buy the vehicle. That being the case, it is the manufacturer's responsibility to provide the best, and most highly trained help available. This has traditionally been achieved by way of an agreement through the franchised dealers of the manufacturer. This agreement basically states that a fair and equitable amount of reimbursement will be paid to the dealer for seeing that this takes place. To further that goal, Ford offers direct training to the technicians of its franchised dealers. These technicians train on a continual basis, due to advancements in production techniques and an ever changing product line. This was the case until about the mid 1990's. At that point, the current management at Ford Motor Company began to arbitrarily reduce the amount of payment per repair to the dealership and its technicians. Since most technicians work on a commission basis called the Flat Rate System, the wages of the franchised dealer technicians have been severely reduced. Reduced to the point that many of the technicians are being forced out of the business and into other fields. This leaves a huge gap in the availability of qualified technicians to perform repairs under warranty and beyond. This, as one can imagine creates an issue of safety, since almost any system on today's vehicles can present a dangerous situation if it fails. Technicians have been voicing their opinions on this matter to deaf ears at Ford Motor Company. You as the consumer, ultimately hold the power over Ford to force that company to hold up their end of the bargain, which was to provide the highest trained specialists available for any warranty repairs. This power is called buying power. If you own a Ford Motor Company vehicle already, you need to let Ford know that this is unacceptable to you as a consumer since you have paid for these repairs in advance and deserve to have the peace of mind in the knowledge that you are going to receive the service you paid for. Ford and Lincoln Mercury service technicians have a web page (FlatRateTech.com) on which they can air their concerns, and discuss ways of convincing Ford that short cutting the payment, is a sure way of short cutting steps in a repair, which could unknowingly result in safety being compromised. Using the power of the Internet, the technicians have linked with all of the Ford and Lincoln Mercury technicians in the United States, Canada, and beyond to places like the U.K. where Ford has done the same thing as everywhere else. You as the consumer, have the power to tip the scale away from corporate greed and back in the direction of fairness and consciousness, by picking up the telephone and calling Ford's toll free line 1-800-392-3673, and telling Ford what you think about their refusal to hold up their end of the bargain. Remember, the upper echelon who have instituted these cuts, are paid in accordance with customer satisfaction. So if they don't hear about it, then their pay continues to climb while your safety continues to fall. Technicians pay would not normally be of concern to anyone but technicians. However, with the safety of you and your loved ones at stake, this has become an issue of importance to anyone who owns and/or drives a Ford Motor Company product as well as the technicians who are being cheated out of money for something they have trained for years to be the best at...repairing your vehicle. Joe Young Ford Service Technician - 25 Years FlatRateTech.com --------- Now we know what the Ford Technician thinks about Ford's warranty cutbacks, and we have the means to do something about it. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm going to call and tell them how I, a constant Ford customer for the past 20 years feels about this recent cutback in the area of customer support.