3 On Your Side

Ford 'closes door' on Casa Grande woman

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(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Think about this: you're driving down the road and your door keeps swinging open. It certainly doesn't sound safe, but it's been an ongoing problem for a Casa Grande woman. So she contacted 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper for help.

"My magic tie-down, yeah." A yellow strap that Frannie Metcalfe ties around her door is a much-needed accessory. The Casa Grande woman says she has to use the strap whenever she drives around in her 2011 Ford Fiesta.

"Yeah, I love my car. Had it for two years before I had my first issue," she said.

And unfortunately that first issue, as she calls it, is the first time her passenger side door swung wide open while she was driving down the road.

"My door latch on the ride hand side stopped working," she explained.

Because of that broken latch, Metcalfe is forced to use that yellow strap to physically tie the door shut. And if she doesn't, well, the passenger door swings open over and over again. The door just flies open, and that's not safe at all.

And get this: it's not the only door on Metcalfe's car that experienced the same problem.

"Twice on the back right side, once on the left side in the back, and now it's on the front of the passenger side," she said.

You heard right. On four different occasions, the latches on two other doors failed.

Metcalfe went on to say, "It is scary because if somebody had been in the car and didn't have their seat belt on, they could've rolled out."

So she did what anyone else would do in this situation.

"I took it into the dealer," she said.

The Ford dealership didn't charge her for the first two repairs because the vehicle was still under warranty. However, Metcalfe's Ford Fiesta is out of warranty now, and guess what's happening? Her passenger side door is now experiencing the exact same problem, swinging open while driving.

And Ford, well, Metcalfe says it will fix the car but only if she pays for the repair out of pocket.

"It has to be a defect, and I don't think I should have to pay for it," she said.

Frustrated with Ford's response, she took the car to a private repair shop and paid $311 to have one of her broken door latches fixed. The rear latch is working for now, but Metcalfe isn't sure it will hold.

 Now at this point, you might be thinking there's some kind of recall on Ford's door latches, and there is. That recall is for model years 2012 through 2014.  Remember, Metcalf's vehicle is a 2011 and was not initially included in the recall.  When 3 On Your Side met with Ms. Metcalf in early May, she was unaware that just a week earlier, her 2011 Ford Fiesta had been added to the door latch recall

"This is what's so frustrating to me. Every time I've called Ford, I've said, 'Hey, this has to be a problem because unless I have a lemon and you sold me a lemon, it has to be a problem for other people,' " Metcalfe said.

So,3 On Your Side got a hold of Hyung Choi.

"I actually started out doing lemon law cases against manufactures for defective vehicles," he said.

Choi is an Arizona attorney who practices consumer protection law.

We wanted to know what options Metcalfe and other consumers have when they have a serious defect that's out of warranty.

"Unfortunately, the options are fairly limited," Choi said. "If she discovered the problem and brought it to Ford's attention before the warranty expired, then she could continue to push forward to have it repaired under the warranty because they had a notice before the warranty expired."

With 3 On Your Side involved, Metcalfe kept pressuring Ford to do something about her wacky door that keeps opening. As a result, Ford finally added her 2011 Fiesta to the door latch recall. In an email to 3 On Your Side, Ford says, "Ms. Metcalfe's vehicle is included in a recent recall regarding door latches."

And as far as the $311 Metcalfe spent at a private repair shop, Ford says, "Ms. Metcalfe should work with her dealer to submit a receipt for reimbursement."

That's great news for Metcalfe because strapping her door shut sure was getting old.

“I could've turned the corner,hit a car with my door, so it's very scary," she said.

The good news here is that Frannie's 2011 Fiesta is now on the Ford recall list and she's glad it is.

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