A harrowing incident occurred in Libertyville, Illinois, on February 23, when a woman was carjacked with her two-year-old son in the backseat. The victim had just pulled her Volkswagen Atlas SUV into her driveway when a BMW parked directly behind the SUV, blocking her in. Next, a man exited the BMW, attacked the woman, and drove away in her VW, partially running the woman over in the process. The woman’s 2-year-old son was in the Volkswagen’s back seat at the time of the attack.

The police were immediately alerted, prompting a search for the vehicle and child. During the search, a Lake County Sheriff’s Office detective reached out to Volkswagen to see if it could help locate the car with the automaker’s “Car-Net” service, which includes a GPS function. However, according to Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli, the representative on the phone was less than cooperative. Apparently, the Car-Net free trial on the woman’s Volkswagen Atlas had ended, and the representative said a payment of $150 was required if law enforcement wanted to use the system.

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The detective pleaded with the Car-Net representative, explaining how it was a “life-or-death situation,” but the representative continued to ask for payment. The woman’s family eventually gave the Sheriff’s office a credit card number to pay the fee so that they could locate the car, but the entire ordeal had already taken 30 minutes to resolve. During that time, officers had already found the child abandoned in a nearby parking lot. The Volkswagen Atlas was found shortly after in another lot.

Volkswagen Car-Net is a service that provides drivers with a range of features, including remote start, parking information, and emergency assistance. However, as this incident shows, the service’s effectiveness in emergency situations is questionable. According to the terms of service for Car-Net, Volkswagen will attempt to locate a stolen vehicle if the driver has paid for the applicable service plan that includes location services. The policy is to provide location information about stolen vehicles directly to law enforcement only after receipt of required information and confirmation that the vehicle is stolen.

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It is unclear whether the Car-Net representative misunderstood the terms of service or simply refused to provide aid due to the lack of payment. The incident highlights the need for companies to have clear procedures in place for emergency situations and to ensure that their representatives are properly trained to respond to such situations.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reached out to Volkswagen to address the issue but had not received a response at the time of the report. Volkswagen has since released a statement, saying that they take the safety and security of their customers very seriously and have a procedure in place with a third-party provider for Car-Net support services involving emergency requests from law enforcement. They also acknowledged that there was a serious breach of the process in this instance and that they are addressing the situation with the parties involved.

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In conclusion, the incident in Libertyville highlights the need for companies to have clear procedures in place for emergency situations and to ensure that their representatives are properly trained to respond to such situations. Volkswagen’s failure to provide aid in this kidnapping incident raises serious concerns about the effectiveness of its Car-Net service in emergency situations. As technology becomes increasingly integrated into our daily lives, it is essential that companies prioritize the safety and security of their customers and provide effective support services in emergency situations.

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