Focus AC pipe corroded

My Wife is so impressed with my 2001 Focus since I bought it in February this year, she now wants one for herself.
We went to view a nice white (also 2001) "Focus Collection" the
other day and we had a test drive, all is well and we pick up the car on Thursday.
The Wife drives a 997cc 1998 Corsa which was ideal as a first car three years ago but she now needs something with a bit more power.
During the test drive I switched on the air conditioning to find it blowing ice cold, whereas my Focus blows lukewarm, it turns out my air con is not working, I've not had air con before in a car so was not aware that it wasn't working properly until the recent test drive.
Today I dropped my Focus off at a local air conditioning garage to recharge the AC gas only to find a split on one of the AC pipes, According to the guy doing the top-up this is caused by a bad design fault where the steel reacts with aluminium. Ford have used an aluminium AC pipe which is clipped on with a steel bracket just under the o/s wheel arch trim (UK model).
I contacted the Ford dealership to see if I had a warranty claim seeing as I was sold a vehicle without the AC working only to find the pipes and hoses are not covered by the twelve month warranty, so I have to shell out nearly 200 quid to replace the pipe and recharge AC gas.
Anyway this message may act as a warning to other Ford focus owners particularly 2001 owners who will more than likely have the same flaw on their AC pipe.
First thing for me to do on the Wife's Focus when we pick it up is to check the AC pipework for corrosion etc.
Regards,
Stephen.
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Quite common on the mk1/2 focus, road grime and salt speed the process, as is the bottom of the drier rotting out too.
Tim.
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[snip]
I'll have to keep an eye on this area and keep it clean.
Stephen.
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