Car Radio Controversy
Help Me Hank: Car Radio Controversy
Looking at this cuddly little cherub, itís hard to believe Antonia can be a tyrant, but her mom, Simona, knows her weapon of choice. "Screaming!"
If the baby is in the car and the car radio is not on, itís decibel disaster.
"Itís really frustrating to have to concentrate when you're in traffic and listening to a four month old screaming."
But as long as the sound system is putting out tunes, Antonia is fine, which is one reason it was such a calamity when suddenly after the car's battery died the radio went completely on the fritz.
"We pushed several buttons and there was nothing."
What there was were these weird error messages and then the mysterious word, "CODE".
"And then we came to the realization it was this code we needed."
But what code? From where? It wasn't in the manual, it wasn't on the radio. That is when she called the dealer, who had recently sold her the car.
"And they said for $80 I could come in and they could give me the code."
Turns out the sound system's anti theft device was designed to shut down with a
power loss -- no battery -- no power -- no radio. But the car dealer had not given Simona the code and now he wanted to charge her to get it.
"I was just angry. When I bought the car, it was information they should have given me and they didnít give it to me, so why should I pay them for something that was rightfully mine?"
Thatís when she called "Help Me Hank".
So what's a car dealer's responsibility? Consumer Affairs says they've got to disclose any fact that may influence your decision to purchase. We suggested to the dealer that he knew the radio would need a code if the power failed and that information should have been part of the deal. He agreed.
And now, with the code no longer secret, from the front seat you now hear the sound system up full and from the back -- the sound of silence.
"Sheís out like a light!"
Later model cars don't have this kind of radio code, but itís worth making a quick check of your car before you have the same problem. So what consumer battle are you fighting, maybe I can help!