Ford Kuga owners whose vehicles were recalled as part of a safety recall by Ford South Africa have been threatened with legal action by car rental companies over unpaid bills.
According to a report by the Sunday Times, Ford South Africa said it would assist customers affected by the recall by arranging and paying for rental cars while their Kuga vehicles underwent repairs.
Kuga owners have complained that they have received legal threats from car rental companies over unpaid bills, stated the report.
A Free State resident said he received a R30,862.10 bill from Europcar last week, after the company told him Ford had instructed it to provide him with a rental vehicle.
“Now this has happened. Where do I suddenly find R30,000?” he said in the report.
A Gauteng resident is in a similar situation, after Avis threatened to report her to the police for vehicle theft following an unpaid bill.
“When Avis phoned me they told me I had an e-toll bill and rental bill to settle. They said the rental was in my name and they were not interested in the Ford agreement,” she said in the report.
Ford spokeswoman Rella Bernardes said Kuga customers “in approved courtesy vehicles were not liable for charges”. “Incorrectly billed” customers can contact Ford customer service.
Ford, with pressure from the National Consumer Commission, launched a safety recall for certain Kuga models in South Africa in January.
4,556 Ford Kuga 1.6-litre models which were build between December 2012 and February 2014 were recalled for repairs.
Ford said engine fires which necessitated the recall were due to overheating, which caused a crack in the cylinder head, which caused an oil leak. This can lead to fires, said Ford.
Ford said it has completed 63% of the Kuga 1.6 recall.
“If you haven’t brought your Kuga 1.6 to a dealership yet, please urgently contact your dealer for assistance.”
The full report is in the Sunday Times of 5 March 2017.