When a safety recall was issued on their 2015 Jeep Cherokee, a Grant Park, Illinois couple said they heard that news from a strange source: a local Chevrolet dealer.
Bob and Cindy Crowley say they were in the midst of trying to trade in their car last summer, and had not received any word about the safety defect from Jeep or its parent company, FCA.
The fact that their Cherokee was subject to a potentially dangerous defect was bad enough, the couple told NBC5 Responds, but then the salesman told them they wouldn’t be able to trade in the vehicle because of it.
“He came back and said, ‘Ma’am, I’m sorry. I’ve got bad news for you. It’s a beautiful vehicle but it’s really worth nothing to us, because it has a safety recall on it,” Cindy Crowley says. “He said it was worth zero money.”
The Crowleys had planned to trade in the Cherokee, which they say had only 11,000 miles on it and still retained that "new car smell." When the recall news scuttled any trade-in deal, Bob Crowley says he questioned why he didn't hear about it directly from FCA, Jeep's parent company.
A few days later, the Crowleys say official notice of the recall landed in their mailbox- and the news went from bad to worse.
“I said, ‘Do you have a fix for this?’ and they wouldn’t answer that,” Bob Crowley said. “It clearly states in their recall that it possibly could cause an accident…That’s kind of an unbelievable thing that that they have a recall out without a remedy.”
With no fix available, the Crowleys say they were stunned, and stuck. Legally, owners of used cars under recall are permitted to sell them, but it's a hard sell. Many dealers also decline to take them for trade-ins until after a remedy has been issued. While there is no law against dealerships selling used cars under recall, recently proposed legislation called for such a law.
Too nervous to drive their Cherokee and still paying on it every month, the Crowleys said they didn't know which way to turn-- until one day in October when Cindy Crowley turned on NBC5 and saw our report on complaints regarding the 2014-15 Cherokee fleet.
The report detailed the concerns of hundreds of drivers, who complained to regulators about hard-shifting and lurching problems in their 2014 and 2015 Cherokees. While that problem is not related to the recall on the Crowleys’ Jeep, they say it is one they've also experienced.
After seeing the report, Cindy Crowley reached out to NBC5 Responds looking for answers. A spokesperson for FCA looked into the case and reported back that a remedy was, in fact, immediately available. FCA says it instructed the Crowleys’ dealership to reach out to them to schedule the repair.
“We were getting nowhere with FCA until you got involved,” Bob Crowley said. “Last time I contacted FCA they said early next year. You contacted them and I got a call the next week and a week later they released the remedy.”
A spokesperson for FCA says the timing here was coincidental, and that the Crowleys would have received the repair on a similar timeline. FCA also pointed out there is no recall related to the hard-shifting problem, but the company has addressed it with software upgrades.