VW Said to Charge Owner $150 to Track Stolen Car With Child Inside
A harrowing story involving a hijacked car is yet another example of automakers’ having their priorities completely out of whack.
Cops in Libertyville, Illinois were trying to track a stolen Volkswagen Atlas with the owner’s two-year-old child still in the sport utility vehicle. A deputy contacted the manufacturer, asking if VW could use its “Car-Net” remote-access service to locate the SUV.
Volkswagen’s response: Pay us first.
A Volkswagen representative reportedly told the detective that the vehicle’s “courtesy trial period” for Car-Net had ended. The owner would need to pay $150 to reactivate the service and get the SUV’s location.
A family member eventually provided a credit card in order to make the payment, according to the Washington Post.
“But 30 minutes had passed by then,” the Post’s Daniel Wu reports, “and the stolen SUV and toddler had already been located by officers in the field, leaving investigators and the family relieved but frustrated.”
The carjacking happened on a Thursday afternoon in Libertyville, roughly 40 miles north of Chicago, according to the news outlet.
The 34-year-old woman was exiting her Atlas in the driveway of her home when a BMW reportedly pulled up behind her. The man who got out of the BMW struggled with the woman, knocked her to the ground and stole the vehicle. He drove over the woman as he fled the scene in the Atlas and a second driver followed in the BMW.
The child was eventually found abandoned in a parking lot. That was no thanks to Volkswagen, which later acknowledged that its representative violated the company’s policy for responding to emergency situations.
“Unfortunately, in this instance, there was a serious breach of the process,” VW said in a statement provided to the Post. “We are addressing the situation with the parties involved.”
How the California Lemon Law Works
While this particular story is fortunately rare, automakers’ value of money over safety poses a serious risk on roads across the country every day.
Carmakers recall millions of vehicles annually, often citing a wide range of defects that increase the risk of accidents or injuries. These recalls are routinely announced long after cars have been sold to unsuspecting buyers.
The good news is that car owners in California have some important rights and protections under the state’s lemon law.
The California lemon law generally requires carmakers to perform repairs on vehicles while they are under warranty. It also forces manufacturers to buy back vehicles that they are unable or simply refuse to fix. That means compensating the owner for the vehicle’s purchase price, as well as financing charges, rental car costs and other related expenses.
Speak with a Lemon Law Attorney
If you are locked in a dispute with a car manufacturer over a malfunctioning or defective vehicle, a Los Angeles lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help.
We have successfully assisted car owners across the state. Our offices are conveniently located in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with a lawyer at our firm today.