Conroe dealership mailing out recall notices that are really advertisements

The Conroe dealership's notice states 'vehicle recall inspection notice,' but it also offers a free oil change, among other things
January 16, 2014 8:35:55 PM PST
Recall notices are not something you should ignore, but one local car company is mailing out recall notices that are really just advertisements.

This is the notice in question it clearly states "vehicle recall inspection notice," but it also offers a free oil change, car cleaning, and a gift card if you take a test drive.

The words "vehicle recall inspection notice" can strike fear into a car owner.

"I would think there is something wrong with my car. It is very deceiving," owner Karen Beal said.

The notice being mailed to drivers is from a direct marketing company on behalf of Ron Carter Hyundai. The notice says "Your vehicle maybe under one or more manufacturer issued recall notices." But the notice does not end there; it offers a free oil change, a free car cleaning, a $25 gift card for taking a test drive. In other words, the recall notice is an advertisement.

"I feel it is very misleading. Basically people are going to see that, they are going to look at the top line there saying that there's a recall and they're going to think there is something wrong with their car," said Leah Napoliello with the Houston BBB.

Napoliello says the notice could cause confusion for car owners. She adds Ron Carter has more than 20 complaints about advertising on file. The company did respond to those complaints and they are listed as resolved.

We went to the dealership and spoke to Anthony Hewitt, the general manager of Ron Carter Hyundai. He extolled the virtues of the free services on the flyer.

"We are going to give you an oil change, interior and exterior detail, and we are going to give you free car care," Hewitt said.

But when it comes to the word recall...

"Would you like any of these things for free?" we asked Hewitt.

"I don't want any of those things," we said.

"OK, so then our conversation is over with," Hewitt said.

"I would like to ask you about recalls," we said.

"Very nice meeting you Mr. Ehling," Hewitt said.

"Do you think recalls are important things?" we asked.

"Mr. Ehling, very nice talking to you," Hewitt said.

On the back of the flyer in small print it says the notice is a courtesy to determine if there is a recall on your vehicle. To find out if have been actually recalled, visit recalls.gov.

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