Consumer SOS: Honda saw stolen car and wouldn’t help police find it, customer says

When Laydh Ablhd awoke Wednesday morning and looked out to his driveway, his heart sank. His nearly new 2019 Honda Accord wasn’t there, and it should have been.

“It had disappeared,” said Ablhd, who lives in Vaughan.

Overnight, thieves had taken it. Video from a neighbour’s security camera showed three thieves driving away with the locked car around 5 in the morning.

Ablhd said he called York Regional Police and almost immediately a constable arrived at his home

The two men called Honda Canada, realizing there was a strong likelihood that the car could be tracked because of technology installed on the vehicle — and they were right.

Ablhd’s call was transferred to a call centre and an operator named Antonio.

The good news? Ablhd said he and the police officer were told by Antonio that Honda could see the Accord.

“They said, ‘We know where it is,’” Ablhd told Global News.

That bad news? Honda would not disclose the location, not even to the police officer who declared he was investigating a crime in progress

Why not? Ablhd said the operator told the men they would not because he hadn’t subscribed to HondaLink.

The feature is described by Honda Canada as an “emergency response system … designed to get you the help you need when you need it most.”

Ablhd hadn’t bought the feature when he purchased the car. He said the dealer didn’t mention it or describe its benefits.

“I would have bought it,” he said if it meant police could more easily trace his vehicle if it was stolen.

The police constable investigating the stolen car pushed hard to get Honda to disclose the location to him. He asked to be transferred to a supervisor, named Pam.

The officer, on a speakerphone, identified himself and said he was investigating a crime in progress. The supervisor told him she could see the vehicle but because the owner didn’t have a subscription to the HondaLink service, there was nothing she would do.

According to Ablhd’s account, the supervisor told the police officer to “get a warrant.”

Ablhd said he called back a few minutes later and paid $148 for a subscription to HondaLink in the hope Honda would help.

“It was too late,” Ablhd said because by now Honda said it did not have a signal from the car.

Ablhd said he’s very disappointed in Honda’s unwillingness to help him get his car back.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said, adding he’s unlikely to buy another Honda again.

Honda Canada responded to Ablhd’s claims Friday in a statement to Global News and said “appropriate protocols were followed.”

“This customer did not have an active HondaLink subscription, which is required to locate the vehicle,” John Bordignon, a Honda Canada brand spokesperson, said.

“Without an active subscription, the police would have to present a warrant to activate the location services on the vehicle and no such warrant was provided.

“(A)t no time was Honda or its HondaLink provider aware of the location of this vehicle.”

Bordington said Ablhd will also be reimbursed for any costs associated with the HondaLink service