Freeway Accident Leads to Recall Repair Runaround

After a serious freeway accident, a Chula Vista man learned a recalled part on his Dodge truck was to blame but he could not get the manufacturer to cover the repair costs.

“I heard this loud noise, it was like a snap and pop,” Roy Janus out of Chula Vista said. 

Roy was driving his 2009 Dodge Dakota truck southbound on the I-805 to the eastbound I-905. 

“And then at that moment, my rear-end completely locked up,” Roy said, “I lost control, I started swerving to the right and I couldn’t gain control.” 

Roy said his truck started spinning and finally slid off the road onto a dirt embankment. Roy wasn’t injured but his car had major damage. He had his car towed to Perry Dodge in National City and began to do some research online. 

“I found there was a recall with the rear-end, specifically it was the rear pinion nut,” he said. 

Roy said the recall notice described exactly what he went through on the freeway that day so he shared this information with the employees at Perry Dodge. 

“When we see there is property damage and the customer claims property damage, we have to notify the manufacturer,” Raman Gitesatani, Perry Dodge’s General Manager said. 

Raman said the dealership passed along Roy’s recall concerns to Dodge’s corporate office, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and an investigator was sent out from FCA to examine the damage to Roy’s truck. 

Weeks later, Roy received a letter in the mail from the FCA Investigator. It said the problem was not related to the recall and that the company refused to pay to fix Roy’s truck. FCA officials said they mailed out recall notices but Roy failed to fix the problem. 

Roy said he never received a recall notice. 

“If he was told or he was not told, there’s no way for me to be able to say,” Raman said. 

While his truck sat at Perry Dodge, Roy said things were getting tough for his whole family. 

“My kids go to school, my wife has to commute, I have to go to work,” Roy said, “So we’re just trying to make it work with one vehicle.” 

Roy contacted NBC 7 Responds and we reached out to FCA corporate officials. After nearly a month, FCA agreed the repairs were their responsibility and Perry Dodge fixed Roy’s truck. 

In an email, Eric Mayne, a spokesperson for FCA, told NBC 7 Responds, “We deeply regret the oversight. Company policy dictates that dealers check vehicles for incomplete recalls every time customers present them for any type of service...” 

To read FCA’s full statement, click here.  

So how do you know if the car you’re driving has an outstanding recall? Whether you bought the car new or used, or you moved around, you need to sign up for recall notices from the car’s maker. 

To find out if your car has any recall notices, find your VIN number and go to this link

More information can also be found here at SafeCar.gov

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