Headlamps Are Unavailable, On National Back Order


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
69,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
1999 Mercury Cougar lights problems

lights problem

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1999 Mercury Cougar Owner Comments

problem #1

Jan 282007

(reported on)

Cougar V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles


On 10/02/06 my car was damaged due to the flooding rains we had that we had that evening in the west suburbs of Illinois. A week after these flooding rains, on 10/9/06, I was forced to take my car into the Westgate Lincoln Mercury Dealer in Lombard, IL. On top of that, it was taken in the day before to Turtle Wax to have a complete carpet shampoo done to rid of the mildew smell from rainwater that had gotten into the interior. The entire reason the car was taken to the dealer was to have the headlights looked at, because they contained puddles of rainwater inside of them and because on the night of the rains, my car was not running well due to the water getting into my car and causing the belts to slip. On the way to the dealer that day, I placed a claim with my insurance company because I had no clue how much it was going to cost to have my headlights taken apart and repaired and I wanted to be sure I was covered. While dropping my car off at the Westgate Lincoln Mercury dealership to have them check out and fix my headlights, I was explaining to the service advisor, Kelly Makhlouf, why I brought my car in for that day. One of the mechanics overheard me talking and told me that itís a good thing I brought it in, because the moisture in the headlights would never dry out. Later that day, I found out that the entire headlight casings would have to be replaced due to the water damage, so I was glad I placed a claim with the insurance company. I also found out that they would have to replace the belts as well. That day, the belts were replaced as well as doing some other routine maintenance. After informing my insurance company of the situation, they told me that it would be a couple of days for the assessor to come out to the dealership and look at the vehicle to approve the work on the headlights. The insurance company suggested I leave the car at the dealer since it was unsafe to drive and helped me arrange a rental car. Little did I know how long repairing my car would take. Once the assessor came out and approved the repair on the car, the dealer called me to tell me that the headlight casings were on back order and should be available in about 1 week. Well, one week turned into 3 weeks and 3 weeks turned into a month.

On 10/23/2006, right before we hit the 1-month mark, Kelly at Westgate called my mother and informed by the dealership that the Lombard location was closing and merging with the Elmhurst Lincoln Mercury Dealership and that my car would be transported over to Elmhurst. Kelly also stated that all Westgate service customers that were now going to go to Elmhurst for service will get a 10% discount on all services. At that time, the dealer was informed that the insurance company would no longer cover my rental after the 30-day mark.

On 10/26/2006, Dave at Westgate Lincoln-Mercury told me that they would provide a loner car to me once it was transported to the Elmhurst Dealership. By the time the 30th day of waiting for parts hit, my insurance company refused to extend my rental car. I was forced to return it and have since been without a car. Just before returning the rental car, the dealer changed their story and told me there was no loner car available to give me, they also told me that my car was now at the Elmhurst Dealership and the parts were now expected to arrive and be installed by the 20th of November because they had to cancel my order when the Lombard dealership closed and place the order again for the head lamps when my car arrived at the Elmhurst dealership.

Again, the date has come and gone and still no parts for my car. I have tried very hard to be patient and understating, but thatís now wearing thin. Weíre now approaching the 3-month mark and neither Ford nor Lincoln Mercury has done ANYTHING to help or assist me. They claim that with the cutbacks at Ford, the parts are on a nation wide backorder. I donít understand this, how long does it take to make a part and why are there absolutely NO parts available for this car in the whole United States?! I also canít understand why Lincoln Mercury and Ford are doing nothing for a customer that they are inconveniencing all because they canít get their act together and ship out some parts for a car that has been sitting for nearly 3 months. I am without a car because I cannot afford to pay $30 a day for a rental car on my own and because the dealership and Ford have done nothing to compensate me for my troubles, all because they are unable to deliver on my headlight casings. Obviously Ford is having some issues, because they have made major cut backs and closed many dealerships.

On 11/30/2006, I decided to go to the dealership to check on my car. I went to the service desk and talked to one of the guys behind the desk. I told him I needed something out of my car, that I needed to see it, and asked if he had heard anything new on my car. He said no. I told him how that wasnít acceptable to me. He could tell I was aggravated by the situation. He said, ďWhy donít you just take your car?Ē I told him that I was told both by both my insurance company, Liberty Mutual, and Kelly Makhlouf at Westgate Lincoln Mercury that I should not be driving the car, because if the head lights short out, it would be an unsafe vehicle to drive. And thatís why I was also given a rental car by my insurance company the first month that my car was at the dealership. So the service guy at Elmhurst then starts to disrespect me and call me ďdearĒ and ďhoneyĒ, which I donít feel is appropriate or professional at all. He then stated that he was the one that wrote up the ticket when it came over from Westgate to Elmhurst and he didnít even know what was wrong with the car. I canít understand how he didnít know what was wrong with it, it was obvious to the human eye and it should have stated on the service ticket and in the computer from Westgate Lincoln-Mercury. I told him about the flood damage and that there were puddles on the insides of my headlamps. I then went around back to look at my car. While I was there, I did take photos, and sure enough, you could still see the condensation on the insides of the headlamps. The puddles are not visible to the eye unless the headlamps are taken apart. So again, I donít understand how the guy at the service desk at Elmhurst Lincoln-Mercury didnít understand why my car is sitting and waiting for replacement headlamps.

On 12/1/2006, I got a call from a Margo Austin who is the Regional Rep. Of the Midwest Market of the Ford Motor Company. She called because she got wind of the claim I made with the BBB. She wanted to see what was going on and I spent about Ĺ hour on the phone explaining to her all of the above information. She left her contact information with me of 866-631-3788 x7420. She promised me sheíd look into the situation and call me back on 12/5/2006. She did just that and told me that there are NO headlamp casings in the whole USA. She asked for the part #, but I told her I didnít have it, and she said sheíd call Elmhurst Lincoln-Mercury for it. I also told her during this conversation that I was upset that I was not being compensated for my troubles, and that no new headlamps were being made. I stated that there are many Cougars on the road and obviously there will be a need for more head lamps in the future, especially if these cars got into a head on collision, theyíd need head lamps too. She finally told me that sheíd call me on Thursday, 12/7/2006 with any new information. She did again call me on the 7th, and left me a message on my machine. She stated that a few times they thought they had found some at other dealerships, but then upon further investigation, found the computers were not correct in this. She stated that she didnít know what else we could do at this time besides wait, but she knew that that was unacceptable to me. She promised a call on Monday, 12/11/06 to update me on the situation. On Friday the 8th, I left Margo a message stating that I was wondering if they would put in after-market parts, if found, and also gave her a phone # that she should call, because it was a parts warehouse that a friend of mine works for and he stated itís possible they had the parts. I also stated on the VM that I again, wanted some kind of compensation for my troubles. On Monday she did again call me, leaving a message on my machine. She said she possibly found one head lamp for me, but not the other, because the other one that they had found was being held by another dealership for their customer, who was also looking for a 2nd head lamp. She stated that Iím not the only customer that is looking for these headlamps that they are like gold.

On 12/18/06 and 12/19/2006, my mother also left a message with Margo Austin. (I am full time teacher, and not available all the time to sit on hold, talk or wait for a return phone call, so my parents have also been involved in this situation.) She had called my mother back on 12/19/2006 at 4:30 pm, but ended up talking with my father instead. He asked Margo what Iím expected to do at this time. She stated that she is unable to find headlamps as well, and that there may be a new superceded part number for them, and sheís checking into that. She also said that Iím not the only one looking for the parts. She was also asked what she would do if this was her car and she stated that she didnít know. My father asked what Ford is doing to make this right and get the parts made or getting me a new car. She stated that a new car wonít happen and that sheíd check into a loaner car and get back to him in a week about that. She didnít know what Ford is doing to correct this problem. My father asked for some info to give us some kind of time line on this whole thing and advise us of what actions Ford is planning on taking. My father also told her that with this poor service, it creates a bad reputation and makes all of us waiting for these parts, not want to buy a Ford product in the future.

On 12/26/2006 Margo called my mother and apologized for missing a call to us on Friday. She said that she had talked to a Tim Nichols, a service manager at the Elmhurst Lincoln-Mercury Dealer, and he stated that there is no water in the lights and he has started the car and it seems to be okay to use until the parts come in. My mother told her that I had been to the dealership to see my car and there was in fact still visible condensation in the headlights. That if there was no moisture now, then it had to have gone somewhere and cause further damage the headlamps. She also stated that my insurance company does not want it to be driven, that the car was unsafe to drive and if something happened, the insurance company wouldnít pay. My mother also stated that I had brought the car to them to be fixed and they are liable to repair it. That it was brought to the dealership in the first place because we thought theyíd have the parts in stock or get them faster than some little maintenance shop. My mother also said that Ford is not doing anything for me right now, they should be paying $30 a day for a car or letting me get a dealer car. That someone in Ford needs to be inconvenienced in order for this to get done. A vendor could have been found in this time frame. Margo said she would go up above her position and see what can be done. She will get back to us.

On 12/26/2006 at 2:30 pm, my father called my body shop, Lombard Auto Body and Fender at 630-627-8688 and talked to Amy and gave her the whole history of this issue. She said sheíd check into availability of parts and call back. She called back in about 20 minutes and said that she talked to Hennesy Ford in Bolingbrook with Jill in parts and said that both lights are available for my car. Amy offered to have Jill send the parts to Lombard Auto Body and Fender and my father accepted, but told her not to be surprised if she later got a call saying they were on back order. Amy said that if they donít get the parts, sheíll also check with some of the reputable junkyard they deal with who stand behind their parts.

On 12/28/2006, at 10:40, my father called Amy for status. She said that she has not heard that the item was unavailable, that she usually would have gotten a call by now, but sheíll follow up and check and call back. She called back at 11:10 and said that Ford has issued an emergency back order on the lights and they should be in stock by the end of December. (Something we have all heard before from Ford on their backordered products). She also stated that shed called the junk yards and said that she was looking for some parts for a 1999 Cougar, and right away they said if weíre looking for headlamps, they donít have any.

My mother has since written emails and letters to the top 3 executives at Ford. We have been talking with Ford the whole month of January 2007 on ways that they should be compensating me. We have found that headlamps for the 99 Cougar have not been made since January 2006, because they were being made faulty by the manufacturing line in Mexico. They have been making this a very stressful situation for all of us. They have been trying to make a new sale out of me, by offering me the X plan on a new Ford product, which isnít good enough for what Iíve been through. What I really want is for them to make this big mess right. If they do want to give me a new vehicle, then they need to pay me for the time Iíve been without a car, give me such a good price on a new Ford, that they wonít make a dime on the sale, and give me an extended warranty on the new vehicle at no cost. Instead they have said things like ďwe should charge you for a storage fee, since weíve had your car on our lot for 3.5 monthsĒ. Which is one of the most absurd things Iíve heard since this whole mess was due to them not making headlamps since January 2006. Since Iím not the only one that has had these headlamp issues, Iím very interested in making a legal matter out of this, if possible. I know that on top of my headlamp issues, Iíve had other issues with my 99 Cougar, just like others. It has a new alternator, itís on itís 5th window motor, which still works incorrectly, and itís had a tie rod replaced as well as many of the sensors on the vehicle. I have read forums and complaints online of my other 99 Cougar owners with the same issues. Isnít there something that can legally be done at this point?

- , Winfield, IL, USA

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