GM owners call for help getting a rental car while their recalled cars get repaired

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Letters are going out to drivers telling them their car is recalled.  It's supposed to be all you need to get the keys to a rental car, but we found it's not happening quickly.

Kathy Girard's Chevy Cobalt hasn't moved since it was towed into the car dealership. It's part of the GM recall.

"The key was stuck in the ignition and the battery was dead," explained Girard.

With the car stuck in park, Girard feels stranded.

"Everyone keeps passing the buck, and this is getting old riding my bike walking or trying to find a ride," explained Girard.

General Motors told customers it will provide rental cars for drivers with a recalled car, but drivers are having a hard time getting one.

"I'm a little frustrated. It's been nine days now since I've been promised a loaner vehicle from GM," explained Girard.

It's costing Girard money. She says she depends on her car to get to jobs caring for the elderly and cleaning homes.

"There were days I couldn't get certain places because it was too far for the bike or too far to walk, and I couldn't find a ride so I lost out on work," explained Girard.

And she's not alone.

"The letter says it's a very dangerous situation," explained Chevy Cruze driver Anne Dutkiewicz.

She got a FedEx letter alerting her to the air bag recall on her Cruze.

"I'm very concerned that I am the only one concerned. The company doesn't return my calls. The dealership doesn't return my calls," explained Dutkiewicz.

When she and her daughter punch the VIN number into GM's website, it says her car isn't recalled.

"I figured if they spent that kind of money to notify me this one does apply to my car," explained Dutkiewicz.

GM said recall notices go to the dealer ahead of public notification, however they do not include the Vehicle Identification Number so the dealer doesn't always know if a certain car is part of the recall. A GM spokesperson sent a statement that said, "That information is provided several days to a week later. At that point, the dealer can look up a customer’s VIN and tell the customer of any open (unrepaired) recalls."

With the Cruze recall, GM said the VIN information should be appearing in dealer computers soon if they have not already.

One GM Service Manager told me there is nothing typical about this massive set of recalls. Cars like the Cobalt are sitting on dealer lots for up to 3 months, and dealerships say they are at the mercy of GM who has to approve the repair and the rental car. One dealer said just getting a loaner car can take 10 days.

After the Consumer Watchdog started asking questions, it took less than a day for both drivers to get a rental car.

"You need to call. Jenn is On Your Side," explained Girard. "Extremely, extremely happy."

GM said its repaired 296,000 ignition issues in cars and will have the parts to fix 2.2 million cars by October.

GM says it regrets any hassle caused to customers and it's working to minimize inconvenience to drivers, and your letter from GM should be enough to get a loaner car.

"Each of the recalls we are conducting has a separate service procedure and timing. We work with our suppliers and within our own organization to minimize inconvenience to customers and we regret any hassle we cause them. But their safety and peace of mind and  the safety of their GM vehicles are most important," a spokesperson wrote in a statement.

 

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