I recently asked to have a towing hitch package installed on my 2014 Ford Escape. I’m not a mechanic or vehicle aficionado. I’m a regular person who uses a vehicle for transportation. I was planning on towing a trailer with my Escape. I’ve never purchased a towing hitch previously.
The service department representative never explained the “towing hitch package” would come without one of the most prominent and necessary parts of the “package” as far as I’m concerned. The part(s) of the hitch to which I refer, that my “towing package” DID NOT INCLUDE, were the ball hitch itself and the steel “shaft” that connects the ball to the portion of the assembly that bolts beneath the rear of the vehicle. The representative never mentioned anything about my need to purchase “the rest” of my towing hitch in order to be able to actually tow any trailer without resorting to heavy ropes, chains, or strapping. I realize I was ignorant and didn’t ask questions as a consumer such as “Will I actually be able to hook a trailer to my Ford Escape using this towing package?”, or “Does this towing package (a fairly expensive upgrade at over $1,500 installed) come with everything I’ll need to actually tow any type of conveyance meant to be towed behind an American-made vehicle?” Most American consumers would probably assume, as I did, that the assembly referred to as “a towing package” would be all-inclusive and have all the parts I would need to tow a trailer once installed.
I consider this tantamount to selling a consumer a “new vehicle”, only to later inform the very surprised buyer that pieces such as the engine and transmission were “extra” parts that would have to be purchased separately at additional cost. A closer analogy would be the purchase of parts, in the old days, such as a carburetor, only to be later informed the butterfly valve(s) would need to be purchased as an add-on to the main component. A broader, simpler example might be the fact that consumers expect vehicles they purchase to come with balanced wheels and the associated, mounted tires.
The service department representatives, up to and including the service manager Ken, dismissed my complaint as consumer stupidity. They did explain there were lots of different “hitch xxxxx” and various sizes of said xxxxx. The fact that the “towing package” does not come with a “standard” ball or with the size and type of ball the customer indicates at time of purchase is obviously problematic. That the “package” does not include all parts necessary to utilize said package is misleading, to say the least. I’m pretty sure my little Escape’s listed towing capacity of 3,500lb. will limit the number of “towing stingers” and subsequent ball sizes available or required.
This review requires I provide a rating of the quality of work done on my vehicle. That will only become apparent to a non-mechanic like myself after sufficient use has transpired. Since it does not come with a choice of “Not Applicable” and must have one of the Likert Scale values filled in to submit the review, I will denote quality of work at the median value of three stars. As the average rating available, it stands as the highest rating I can honestly assess of those categories provided.