UNION COUNTY, N.C. — A few months ago, Channel 9 reported that Volkswagen had recalled hundreds of thousands of SUVs because of issues with airbags and brakes. But the repair wasn’t available yet.
A Union County grandmother was nervous about driving her vehicle, especially with her grandchildren on board. Action 9 stuck with her case and helped her get back almost $40,000.
Ashley Allen was driving her 2019 Volkswagen Atlas when she said it suddenly braked on its own.
“It was very scary. I thought I was going to die that day,” she said.
Volkswagen recalled about 223,000 2019-2023 Atlases in March, including Allen’s.
“It terrifies me that I could have my grandbabies in that car and that could happen,” she said.
The company said the electrical contacts in the door wiring harness may corrode, causing the SUV to brake on its own.
Volkswagen said the braking issue would only happen at low speeds below approximately 1.8 mph but Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke searched National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records and some drivers say they were moving much faster when their SUV braked. One driver claimed it happened at 70 mph. Allen says she was going between 30-40 mph.
Volkswagen said the electrical issue could also cause the windows to roll down inadvertently and delay the driver or passenger front side air bag during a side impact crash.
Despite the issues, the remedy wasn’t available yet.
“I want a safe vehicle. That’s what I want at this point, and I don’t feel safe in that at all,” she said.
In mid-May, Stoogenke contacted Volkswagen and exchanged emails with the company for about a month. Then Allen contacted Stoogenke with big news: the company bought her vehicle back.
She says VW paid her the full price ($39,802.95) and did not take off money for the two and a half years she owned it.
“(I) immediately felt not as anxious anymore,” she told Stoogenke. “I never thought that they would come back and pay the vehicle in full though, but they did. So, I’m happy with my results.”
As for other customers, Volkswagen said the repair is now available, so car owners should make sure to get it taken care of if they haven’t already. Check here to see if your Volkswagen has been recalled.
Stoogenke checked the VIN on the SUV Allen owned and it appears to have been fixed, so whoever bought it, or buys it, can rest assured that it should be safe.
Car owners with questions can call Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298. Volkswagen’s number for this recall is 97GF. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153) or find more information at nhtsa.gov.
(Watch below: Toyota recalls its first all-electric vehicle over concerns about loose wheels)
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