Warning to Owners of Recalled GM Vehicles in Houston
This means that the employee would have had to type in the wrong VIN that resulted in the same year, make, and model of my car -- with the same fuel pump module report -- that for some reason was not a recall. It makes about as much sense as the elves under the hood.
I then called Knapp's general manager, Robby Knapp, who got back to me right away. I explained the situation to him and asked if he wanted to comment for a story I was writing in which I would try to warn owners of recalled GM vehicles in Houston that certain dealerships -- for whatever reason -- may not honor the terms of the recall. He did not want to comment. And why would he? What would he possibly have to gain by finding out whether his service personnel didn't understand what a recall was? There are always more customers out there.
But GM spokesman Jim Cain wanted to comment. He was bothered to hear that a GM dealership was unable to figure out a vehicle had been recalled, even though the information is readily available.
"It's supposed to be easy for the customers," Cain said. "Mistakes happen, but we would hope that people would go the extra mile under these circumstances." He said that the information I got from Knapp "was clearly a mistake."
"That's not what we expect, and that's not how we train people," Cain said.
So what should the owner of a recalled vehicle do if a dealership denies to honor the required service? Cain says it would be appropriate to work "with another service adviser."
He also recommended contacting GM's customer care center. If anyone has an issue with an uncooperative dealer, Cain said, the GM representatives will do their best to assist.
Cain also did something no one at Knapp Chevrolet would do: he apologized. And he said something that, in light of millions of recalled vehicles and 13 deaths over a a fifty-seven-cent part, I found remarkably appropriate. He said "This is a time when we need to exceed people's expectations."
He said he'd follow up with Knapp Chevrolet. And I fully expect the good people at Knapp Chevrolet to tell him that I'm out to lunch, or a liar. As a reporter, it wouldn't be the first time. I told Cain that didn't matter -- what mattered is that GM owners in Houston have the ability to get their recalled vehicles serviced by any GM dealership, and not just the ones who feel like it.
People deserve to drive cars that will not malfunction because of manufacturer error -- that's true whether you're commuting an hour to break your back for five figures, or if you're a six-figure CEO making a quick trip to Capitol Hill to assure senators you're doing whatever you can to restore the public's trust.
After years of looking the other way, GM finally seems to be doing the right thing by addressing the problems. But in order to do that, dealerships have to be willing to fix those problems. If they aren't, and you're behind the wheel of a recalled vehicle, you need to know about it.