I love my Honda Element, a car I bought new in Maryland, and have had no problems with, but I can't enjoy it these days due to the Takata airbag inflator issue and just plan bad customer service. Fear of death fits in there somewhere.
When I first heard about the inflator issue, over a year ago, I called my Honda Dealer and, after waiting for some time, finally got the driver side inflator replaced. I asked why I had to read about the dangers on the Internet instead of being notified by my dealer. They said notices were sent to owners and that I must have thrown mine away or that it was lost in the mail.
At the time of the replacement, I asked about the passenger side air bag and they said it was safe. In early July, I pulled up the CNN web page and the header read, " NHTSA Says Stop Driving Hondas Now," or something like that. It was a menacing headline. Evidently the passenger side airbag was just as much a danger as the driver side. How long had my dealer known?
I called my dealer again and they said I would get a letter. "Yeah," I thought and asked them when they could fix the passenger side. They said, "No time soon," because the parts had not been made.
After a small amount of complaining, the serviceman said he would put my name at the top of the list. The same man called me 2 hours later and said my part had come in. Success! I figured my growling had produced results. The serviceman made an appointment and the next week I sent hubby down to the dealer and they went, "Duh!"
Evidently, the serviceman who called from their direct line with the good news was a ghost. They reiterated the, "No parts," story but I think they had the part and gave it to let's say, a more aggressive customer. After quarreling with them over ghost-callers, they told me to call Honda, and they gave me an 800 number.
I called and immediately got a service rep who told me to ride in the backseat of my Honda until my dealer received my part. I told her my husband had a beautiful Toyota truck but I did not fancy it for vacations and long trips, and added that we were going on vacation. "Ride in the back seat," she parroted. Would I have to be more aggressive?
Since then, I have called my Honda dealer at least once a week, and they still say they have no parts, so I have either been riding in the back seat of my Honda, or in my husband's truck, since the first week in July.
So Honda, I can't do this anymore...
And I can no longer travel with a passenger...who will carry my gear?
Update: a few days after posting this I made my weekly call. My part was in! I guess the airbag-part fairy dropped in at the exact time I called. Perhaps they read my blog. Still, Honda, you owe me one vacation ride.