OnStar In Hot Water After Failing To Unlock Car With Child Locked Inside29
General Motors‘ OnStar is facing backlash after it allegedly failed to remotely unlock a hot vehicle that had a child locked inside.
According to The Detroit Free Press, Christina Tuffords was loading up her SUV with her 10-month old already strapped into her child’s seat when she closed the tailgate and realized all the doors were locked and the keys were inside. She had already used the vehicle’s remote starter to start the engine and turn the A/C on, but began to worry and contacted OnStar to unlock the vehicle’s doors.
OnStar was unable to help her, however, as her subscription had expired. A report from a CBS affilaite in Miami indicated that Tuffords told the service she would “pay whatever amount of money it takes,” to get the vehicle unlocked and pleaded with the company to reactivate her service. Things took a turn for the worse when the vehicle’s engine apparently shut off. By this time, though, police were already en route and were eventually able to smash the vehicle’s window with a hammer and unlock the vehicle’s doors. The child was unharmed.
NEW: Bodycam footage shows a Florida mom begin to panic after locking her baby daughter and keys inside an SUV in 95 degree heat, with an officer first requesting a mechanic before shattering the window to free the child when they failed to pop the lock. https://t.co/OygOWBmxpy pic.twitter.com/lQRQ3Vb92z
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) August 13, 2019
OnStar responded to the online criticisms it was facing as a result of the incident, releasing an official statement saying it will look into the matter. It went on to explain that the only way to restore connection to a vehicle that is not paying the subscription fee is to press the dedicated blue button in the vehicle, which Tufford could not access in this situation, obviously.
“To provide some understanding about how OnStar services work today, once an OnStar plan expires or is cancelled, the OnStar system is deactivated and our connection to the vehicle is removed,” it said. “Currently, the only way to activate the system and restore that connection is by pushing the blue OnStar button inside the vehicle. Our advisors cannot restore that connection solely from their end, and without that connection, our systems are unable to deliver OnStar services to the vehicle.”
“We understand the importance of someone needing emergency help while on the road, and that’s why we encourage everyone to keep OnStar services activated in their vehicle,” the statement also said.
Source: The Detroit Free Press
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How was she able to use remote start but not unlock? If one worked, the other would’ve worked, too. She already unlocked the tailgate.
Speculation here on my part, but she likely remote started the vehicle, then placed the child and her belongings in the vehicle, then closed the rear gate, realizing that she no longer had her purse/bags with her keys in it. Again, just speculation, but this is exactly how it could have happened.
I can not lock my car from the outside if my remote is in the vehicle. She has to have a model of gm , older than a 2018.
Doesn’t say she remote started the vehicle with her phone…she used her remote to start (difference between verbs and nouns). She used her key fob if that makes it easier for you to comprehend.
Why blame on star, why not blame Christina? It’s time to grow up.
Nobody got time for that!
Think of your taxdollars as someone called the police/911, a cop was taken off the street to provide service and file a police report…All of that could have been avoided if OnStar would allow you to restore your account over a regular phone…Christina (and anyone else this happens to in the future) basically just robbed you…
No police required if she just smashed the window herself.
OnStar can’t make a connection without the vehicle first contacting them via the blue button. It has nothing to do with what OnStar allows. How is OnStar supposed to find a certain vehicle in the very large space of the populated parts of the US and Canada to reactivate the account vehicle features? The same way your cell phone keeps constantly contacting the service towers/providers so they know where the phone is to provide service.
I’m no fan of OnStar, but don’t blame someone else for your own screw up, to the point of blaming them for current technology limitations.
Playing the “what if” game; reality is the police were dispatched…To oversimply, our opinions don’t matter, all that matters is if OnStar keeps the status quo or changes this policy and I’d take a Vegas bet that OnStar WILL change their policy…
You can change all the policy you want, if the technology isn’t capable, it won’t matter.
No new tech required; within the car, you press the button and ultimately get someone who can activate your account…All they need to do is allow external phone calls to reach that existing department…
Okay, let’s try again. OnStar cannot contact the car, the car has to initiate contact with Onstar, by……PUSHING THE BLUE BUTTON.
By phoning OnStar, there is still no connection between OnStar and the vehicle, only between OnStar and the owner of the vehicle.
I’ve always hated OnStar. GM has so much greed! Why pay for this bull s**t when you can get the same safety services for free from brands like Ford, BMW, and even some Harley-Davidson cycles!? Some even include the remote functions for free! OnStar should share the same eventual fate of satellite radio. I will be happy to see the day they go under and have to offer basic safety services for free. It should be standard today.
You do realize they have to make money to pay people to man the phones. Nobody offers it for free. Those other brands are offering free for certain amount of time. Some of the ones you mention are also rebranded Onstar anyway so they are paying them. You obviously don’t under satellite radio. Its not going anywhere if anything its expanding. I love it and they just purchased pandora so you can now stream XM/Sirus from app and have favorites just like pandora when you have cell coverage. If you travel satellite radio is great to have especially camping and hunting. If you never leave the city then maybe not.
You misunderstand me guy. 911 assistants is totally free with Ford vehicles. A phone connected with Bluetooth will be triggered to call 911 in the case of a crash, there is no need for a call center. Why would I need a middleman? That only slows down the emergency response. Also, you don’t need the SOS button, just call 911 yourself. The only use OnStar really has is the remote access and WiFi features. Other than that, you’re paying for a middleman to make a call to 911 on your behalf.
Hey Austin…..OnStar remote functions are free. I have them on my car, and its a 2013, not like its new. If you don’t like OnStar, then don’t use it. It’s not like you HAVE to purchase it to be able to drive your car. Go on a buy a Ford then, and good luck.
Hey Russell, your Onstar still works because it IS a 2013, and is grandfathered in to what they promised then. 2018 and newer vehicles get 30 days before they must pay for any and all services other than notices and ads designed to get you in to your preferred GM dealer. OnStar service should be included (and paid for) as part of the purchase, since the hardware (and it’s cost) are not an option. For other brands, it is a reason to buy. For GM vehicles,
it is now an added, and also ongoing cost.
Austin…you should do your homework or a little more research!
Journalism is inherently provocative and misleading. Here we have a situation where OnStar apparently was unable to provide help via the system since it takes a physical action in the car to establish a connection according to them. That fact alone should mean there is no story. Additionally, there was a simple means to remedy the situation which included breaking a window. This is just such a non story yet successful in that it got me to read it and amped up enough to comment. For reference, I have OnStar on both my cars and when in an accident once, it worked like it was supposed to. I also use it for wifi in my car and it works like it is supposed to. The service works as advertised, especially when you pay the monthly bill.
“OnStar In Hot Water After Failing To Unlock Car With Child Locked Inside”
“Unable”, due to other people’s actions/inactions, is the proper word to use.
But we can’t twist the truth if we actually state the truth.
Why are people so stupid with children in cars, sorry, it takes few brain cells and literally two seconds to lower the window enough to be able reach in if this situation were to happen.
I once locked my keys in my truck on a busy Saturday full of projects. As I was pulling my keys out of the ignition while looking toward my tape measure that lives in the passenger cup holder. I was opening and locking my doors, my tape measure was else ware and I had to look for it. I had only pulled the key partially out allowing the doors to be locked.
I did not know this could happen as the doors will not lock with the key (all the way) in the ignition. When I saw that my tape measure wasn’t where it usually is I pushed the key back in the ignition. The doors will remain locked in this situation unless you hit the door “lock” again triggering the safety unlock function.
I also had canceled my On-Star subscription as I only wanted hands free calling and the (minutes that you purchase) expire in 12 months. ((What? I payed for them, how can they expire?)) also, every year they would revert to the higher monthly charge rather then sending me an email notifying me on my subscription status and offering a current customer a lower annual cost. So I upgraded to a Pioneer double din touchscreen tuner with all the bells and whistles.
In this situation, the On-Star adviser will offer to transfer your call to a roadside assistance service. I’m not sure if is associated with On-Star but the $75 service I was quoted is robbery and the wait time for them or the Auto Club (member) was more then I was willing to deal with being only 10 minutes from home. The misses wasn’t thrilled that I interrupted her lazy day though.
Onstar remote function are free, however, you have to register for an onstar account…What usually happens is the original owner/leasor sells/turns in the vehicle, the next buyer never registers Onstar…
Only on a new car during your free trial period, after that you must pay to keep your account active.
As stated in the article, once the account has been cancelled the only thing that works is the emergency response “by pushing the button” as stated above.
Google your comments before you spread false misformation…Remote functions are free…
Free, but, many still won’t work until you “PUSH THE BUTTON”.
I don’t have to “Google” a situation that I have experienced first hand.
If you do not sign up for a payed subscription after your “OnStar free trial” the only thing that works is, wait for it…
OnStar emergency response, because YOU pushed the button!
How is this OnStar’s fault? The individual did not pay for the service so they were unable to open her vehicle. Similar to I currently have HBO and Showtime which I pay for but expect them to provide Cinemax, Starz, Encore, etc…at no cost. Or I order a sirloin steak and bitch when I receive it instead of a Ribeye.
Not sure where people expect to get something for nothing.
You can sign up to have Amazon Key deliver a package to your vehicle and have a complete stranger walk up unlock it without an active Onstar account. Onstar could be a great service but GM has let it slide and is overall worthless in my opinion and this just proves the point. I’ve bought/leased enough GM vehicles to tell your pretty much just a billable credit card number to them. Yes Onstar basic plan with remote locking/unlocking was free for 5 years after it was new but they changed sometime last year and now the basic plan doesn’t include that unless you sigh up for a overpriced package plan after a month free trial. Worst part of owning a GM vehicle.
you must buy the on-star package to operate the functions ( what a concept )