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Vehicle Owners Facing Long Delays To Get Safety Recalls Fixed

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (CBS4) - Brett Kupec owns a horse farm in Cheyenne, Wyo. and relies on his two Dodge Ram trucks.

“We do a lot of rodeoing. We do a lot of horse shows. We pull a lot of hay with both trucks,” Kupec told CBS4.

Nicole Moses relies on her Jeep Liberty to run her business in Lone Tree.

“I’ve had no issues with it whatsoever,” Moses said.

Both vehicle owners have received recall notices for safety issues. Both are facing long delays to get the vehicles fixed and both are frustrated by the position they’ve been put in.

“It’s $100,000 for two pickup trucks that I can’t use,” Kupec said.

Kupec parked his trucks when he got the recall notice 7 months ago. The recall is for a repair on the left front tie rod. The notice says … ”could cause a loss of directional control and/or crash without warning.”

“They tell me they’re usable, but you’re taking your life in your own hands and other people’s as well,” Kupec explained.

CBS4 called seven Chrysler/Dodge dealerships in Colorado and Wyoming. CBS4 was told that the parts to fix this recall are on back order and they didn’t know how long it would take. Chrysler said the parts would start flowing in early April. They also told CBS4 that customers can have their vehicles inspected and get an interim repair in the meantime.

Moses faced a similar situation with her Jeep Liberty.

“They turned me away because there were no parts,” she told CBS4.

Moses got a recall notice for the fuel tank on her vehicle. The notice says “small chance of experiencing a fuel leak during certain rear end collisions … can result in an underbody fire.”

“I’m panicked,” Moses said. “So every time I’m on the road, what used to be a joyful ride is now a more cautions, ‘please don’t hit me’ kind of thing.’ ”

When CBS4 called Chrysler dealerships about the recall employees said parts weren’t released yet. Moses got the same response.

“Basically, told me to just keep it off the road. That’s something I can’t do. That’s my livelihood right there,” she said pointing to the vehicle.

In a statement Chrysler Group said, “These vehicles are not defective.” And that the problem occurs in only the severest of crashes. In an email, a Chrysler spokesperson said that the parts to fix the recall have been finalized, but had no time table for when they would be available.

CBS4 contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has strict rules about when and how a recall is issued. A spokesperson referred CBS4 to a brochure issued by the administration about recalls. It says, “Under the law, consumers are entitled to a remedy within a reasonable time.” But no definition is given for “reasonable time.” And the brochure says there is “no legal recourse” if owners feel it’s taking too long.

That’s no help for Kupec, who says that he’ll have to trade in his trucks if he can’t get them fixed soon.

“They could have had the parts out right away … and had these trucks fixed as they started sending out the recall notices. That would have been the thing to do,” Kupec added.

–Written for CBSDenver.com by Special Projects Producer Libby Smith

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