Canberra, Australia.- Ford Motor Co.’s Australian subsidiary has been fined 10 million Australian dollars ($7.6 million) for mishandling customer complaints about faulty automatic transmissions in thousands of cars.
The fine in the Federal Court on equals the largest penalty ever for a breach of Australian Consumer Law, matching that imposed on the Coles supermarket chain in 2014 for misconduct toward suppliers.
The Federal Court ordered the A$10 million penalty for “unconscionable conduct” after the consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, took action against Ford Australia for mishandling customer complaints made between May 2015 and February 2016 over cars that shuddered, jerked or lost power because of faulty transmissions.
The case involved about 10,500 customer complaints over Ford Focus, Fiesta and EcoSport models made from 2011 to 2015 in the United States, India, Germany and Thailand and fitted with DPS6 PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmissions.
"We took too long to identify the issues and we acknowledge that PowerShift customers did not have complaints handled appropriately," Ford Australia's chief executive Graeme Whickman said in a statement.