Berge Ford - Mesa, ArizonaFord dealer rip-offs!


On March 7, 2007, I took my 1993 Ford Probe into the Berge Ford Service Department in Mesa, Arizona (Phoenix area) to have the leaking valve cover gaskets replaced, and to get my recently refurbished air conditioning system functioning again. The written estimate I received for this work was $608. On March 14, I picked up the car and the billed amount was for $2713.79 (more than the car is worth).

The Service Advisor had called me the day after I left the car to tell me that the A/C compressor needed replacing (it had already been replaced 20,000 miles ago when the system was converted to the newer R138 refrigerant from R12). He said the cost for a rebuilt compressor would be $540. In fact, without any further notice until I picked up the car one week later, I was charged $914 for this part plus another $148 for a new accumulator. (I had authorized the $688 additional quoted cost, but when I picked up the car I was stunned to find that the cost for the A/C work came to $1154.)

The Service Advisor had also recommended the replacement of the (expensive) spark plug wires, which he informed me were oil-soaked. I knew that the long internal plastic/ceramic spark plug connectors were impermeable to any such soaking and declined that part of the job.

The Service Advisor also used scare tactics to try to get me to authorize CV shaft replacement because of the loss of one CV joint grease boot (he said my wheel would fall off while driving). His quoted cost to replace both of these CV half-shafts was $1700. I declined, and had this exact replacement work done (with new shafts) at another shop (Network Alignment in Mesa) the following week for a total cost of $413. The Berge Ford service department wanted to charge me four times the cost that the other shop charged me for this work.

Included in my final bill was a water pump and drive belt replacement (which I had verbally authorized on the telephone). But the mechanic broke several parts when working on the engine -- including a listed vacuum selenoid pack which he reportedly replaced. But when I picked up the car the ABS (antilock braking system) warning light was lit-up on the dashboard -- which was not illuminated when I left the car with the dealer.

Because it was obvious that the mechanic did something to the ABS control system module while working near it in the engine compartment, I asked to have this fixed at no charge, was refused, and so asked speak with the Service Manager. Both the Service Manager and Advisor refused to even look into the problem that their mechanic caused unless I paid an additional fee to find the cause. I refused -- not wishing to repeat my earlier mistake of trusting these people.

Now I am driving a car with a potentially serious safety flaw which this Ford dealer service department caused. I have been a loyal Ford customer for more than 50 years, but never before have felt so blatantly cheated by greedy businessmen. As a consequence I have sworn to sell our two Fords (we also own a recent model Ford truck) and never again buy a Ford vehicle or patronize one of their dealers.


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    Kevin Reese Mar 28, 2007

    To all who wish to believe this, i recommend that you ask this person for the whole truth and then decide for yourself.

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    Kacey Twilling Mar 28, 2007

    Very rarely do dealerships say they will not look at a problem. If the work was done so much cheaper at the other facility, why did you do the work at Ford? Did you get price quotes? If the price you were quoted was higher than you agreed to, why did you not demand to speak with the Service Director? How many miles does your probe have on it? It does not sound like the whole story is coming out!!!

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    Erich Singer Mar 28, 2007

    Well to be fair you do drive a 1993 Probe it is 14 years old. Do you expect everything in amazing shape. My house is twenty years old and things break all the time. That's without me taking it out on the road every day. I personally have always had a great experience at Berge. Well hopefully you will get a new car soon and not have to worry about the problems of your Probe. Good luck

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    1990 probe owner Mar 31, 2007

    Sounds like you got completely and utterly ripped off. I replaced my whole left cv driveaxle for my 1990 probe lx for only the cost of the part: less than $80. I took my probe into midas and had the clutch master cylinder replaced with the fluids and brake fluid for less than $400.

    I've been driving it for a little over a year and put over 4000 miles on it. You should call up a bunch of places and find competitive rates but also make sure they can be trusted.

    Probes are not like all Fords: they are made by Mazda. This is why they are superior to other Fords.

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    Chetley Wade Apr 02, 2007

    Thanks to all for the replies to my original complaint here. Some are quite interesting.

    Regarding the whole truth question, that is what was published here, as well as filed verbatim with the Arizona Attorney General's Office (where the matter of perjury assures that it be the whole truth). In answer to some new questions asked:

    - Very rarely do dealerships say they will not look at a problem.

    Oh, they agreed to look at the ABS problem -- at a price, and then give me an additional price to fix the problem they caused. But I didn't choose to trust them to honestly diagnose and correct it. (The Service Manager called the sudden ABS problem in their shop a "coincidence.")

    - If the work was done so much cheaper at the other facility, why did you do the work at Ford?

    That was different work. The Network Alignment shop in mesa doesn't do engine work. They DO replace CV joint assemblies (for one forth Berge Ford's price), so they got that part of the job.

    - Did you get price quotes?

    Of course. I got price quotes from those who could do the rest of the various parts of the work in one operation. Because the whole top and front of the engine including the AC and cooling system parts must be disassembled, it would have cost more to have it done piecemeal in different shops, because most of the work could be done in one operation with only one engine compartment tear-down.

    Air conditioning, drive train, cooling systems, and internal engine work represent different specialties. Most said they couldn't do all of the work or get the hard-to-find parts on this 14-year Ford Probe (which is actually a Mazda, but Mazda wouldn't touch it either), which I bought new and have owned and driven ever since.

    - If the price you were quoted was higher than you agreed to, why did you not demand to speak with the Service Director?

    I did (as noted) and that produced stonewalling and a refusal to do anything for me. They were not nice.

    - How many miles does your probe have on it?


    It does not sound like the whole story is coming out!!!

    If the above answers don't help, ask away with more. I certainly have nothing to hide in this matter.

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    Chetley Wade Apr 05, 2007

    Because some interest was expressed in this group about getting the complete story concerning my complaint about Berge Ford, following is the text of my second letter to the Arizona Attorney General's Office (personal information has been deleted, as a courtesy to others in the matter).

    This was prompted by the dealer's response to my complaint to the Attorney General, which is freely quoted below, and was obtained from their copy to the Better Business Bureau. (Berge is obviously free to post that letter here if they choose).

    "The following is in response to the March 30, 2007 letter sent to you by Mr. _____ representing Berge Ford, in answer to my complaint filed with your office. Despite his initial statement of "getting the facts of the Mr. Wade's visit in order" it should be noted that Mr. ____ is not in a position to know the facts regarding the issues in dispute. He was neither a party to, nor witness at, those key discussions. I was. In his letter he is merely repeating (and spinning) what others have relayed to him -- people who obviously are defending their handling of this matter by whatever means necessary.

    "The key element in this entire issue was what instructions I gave to Service Advisor ______ when I took the car in for service. On that day I carefully explained what work I did and did not want done. That conversation resulted in the written estimate of repairs for $610. At that time I specifically stated that I could not afford to give-up my future Social Security checks to pay for more expensive repairs, and in no event could I agree to repair costs that approached the value of the car -- about $2400.

    "Mr. _____'s ignorance of the full discussions with the Service Advisor leads to his alleged "facts" which are frequently demonstrably wrong. On the subject of the air conditioner repair, for instance, he claims: "The original compressor price was misquoted by the parts department due to the Ford compressor (quoted at $540) was no longer available, but an aftermarket compressor (quoted at $914) was acquired."

    "In fact, the Service Advisor personally told me in a telephone conversation the day after I left the car with him that a Ford compressor was not available (at any price) and that the cost of an aftermarket compressor (from their NAPA supplier) was $540. At no time did anyone tell me that the price for this part would be $914, or ask for my authorization to proceed with that purchase and installation. (As an aside point, reading Mr. ____'s "facts" would have us believe that the cost of a new Ford compressor would be nearly $400 less than an aftermarket compressor -- a ricidulous assertion to anyone who has ever compared new-car-dealer versus aftermarket-supplier parts prices.)

    "And although Mr. _____ now claims that the labor charge for the A/C repair was adjusted "to keep the price accurate to the originally quoted estimate" you should be told that, in addition to the A/C parts charge of $1154, I was billed $371 for the labor on the A/C part of the job. Simple addition of the numbers clearly shows that I was fleeced by this dealer with the unexpected $2713.70 charge that I had to pay to get my car back.

    "Regarding the Service Advisor's subsequent attempt to frighten me into a CV joint half-shaft replacement, it should be noted that the quote given was $850 per side (there are two half-shafts) -- yielding a total of $1700, as I stated in my complaint. This was part of an early attempt to drive the bill up to $2600, and was the same conversation in which I declined the proposed work at Berge and subsequently had two new shaft assemblies installed at Network Alignment in Mesa for $413.

    "On this CV joint subject, the Service Advisor told me that a grease boot "fell off." The fact is that when one of these boots comes off, the spinning axle shaft instantly sprays the uncontained grease throughout the wheel well. But there was no grease in either wheel well at any time during this period (and I know that they were heavily greased because I had just done that job 1000 miles earlier, and at that time they were packed with copious amounts of grease and sealed with new boots). One of these new boots was obviously damaged at Berge Ford. The other parts broken were the vacuum selenoid, and an ABS brake system component. Mr. _____ admits in his letter that the ABS warning light was not illuminated when I left the car with them, but was lit when I picked it up. Even though this damage obviously happened at Berge Ford, they refused to look into it unless I agreed to an additional charge for diagnosis, followed by a cost quote for repairs.

    "Mr. _____'s assertion that "Mr. Wade did have the right to decline any repairs to his vehicle when his service advisor presented the estimates" is simply not true, nor was a proposed charge of $2800 ever mentioned in any of these discussions. Obviously, if his story was true I would not have protested the final bill to them, nor would I be be filing complaints now with your agency.

    "In conclusion, it is sad that Mr. _____ and Berge Ford have provided your office with various false "facts" about this matter, and disparaged their customer-victim in the process. My honesty and my character have now been slimed by dishonest, arrogant and belligerant Ford dealership employees. I do not intend to let this outrage go unanswered. "

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