Car buyers in rural Alaska can face recall reimbursement issues

Rural Alaska buyer beware: I am writing this letter to inform people in rural Alaska about the difficulties encountered when trying to get a manufacturer recall dealt with in a timely and fair manner. My husband and I recently purchased a 2016 Honda CRV, which was later issued a transmission software recall. This is not the type of recall that can be ignored, at it could potentially lead to damage of the transmission and the speed control system.

 

We live on Prince of Wales Island and the nearest “approved” repair shop is either in Juneau (200-plus miles and two different ferry trips) or Seattle (a barge or ferry trip). Honda will not cover any travel expense. So what this meant for us was several hundred dollars and two weeks to send the car to Juneau, or a couple of thousand dollars and three or more weeks to send the car to Seattle.

We sent the car over to Ketchikan and covered the expense of the travel and the repair. It was much cheaper (for everyone involved) and faster to do it this way. Over the last several months (October 2016 to March 2017), we have been in contact with Honda about the repair and explained in detail how this will affect us both financially and timewise. Honda has refused to pay the claim.

In hindsight, had we known that Honda had such poor customer service, we would not have chosen a Honda as our new vehicle. While our experience is different from that of others living outside of Southeast Alaska, it is similar to anyone who does not live in the Juneau, Anchorage or Fairbanks areas. If you are planning to buy a new vehicle, please be sure to ask the dealer and/or maker what their policy is for recall repair. I could save you hundreds of dollars and hours of time trying to get the issue corrected.

Michael and

Christine Johnson,

Prince of Wales Island

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