GM: 'Stand by. We're about to spam you.'

This showed up in my inbox today and after you've had a chance to look at it, I'll tell you why it's really disturbing. First, GM has correctly identified me as a GM customer.
Written by David Berlind, Inactive

This showed up in my inbox today and after you've had a chance to look at it, I'll tell you why it's really disturbing.


First, GM has correctly identified me as a GM customer. We own a GMC Yukon and a Pontiac Vibe. The former, we're very happy with. The latter? I took GM to the Better Business Bureau because the paint was too easily chipping off and the local dealership refused to cover it. The case was transferred to the BBB's corporate headquarters for handling, and as luck would have it, the key processes that BBB's Web Site says the BBB uses to guarantee the impartiality of the outcome of a case were somehow violated.

For example, GM sent its own inspector to our house to examine the chipping paint. That inspector found that the paint was improperly applied. We thought that was it. We would get our car repainted. Instead, GM decided that the inspector it sent didn't know that he was talking about. So, the BBB allowed GM to send another inspector. Funny how the second inspector found in GM's favor.  

In the hearing, GM claimed that my wife commutes an unsually long distance to work on unmaintained roads. They made it sound like she drives the way you see a lot of four-wheel vehicles (the Vibe is an all-wheel drive vehicle) being driven in commercials. 99 percent of her 39 mile commute (39 miles is unusually long?) is on route I-95: one of the cleanest and well-maintained roads in the area. The car has never been in an off-road situation. 

Then, after the hearing is over, each party (us, and GM) is allowed to send to the BBB a final statement and rebuttal. So as to guarantee impartiality, neither party can see the other party's final statement/rebuttal until both have been submitted.  Both parties are given the same deadline and we were told if we miss it, then we cannot submit a rebuttal. After the deadline passed with no response from GM, I double checked with the BBB's representative to make sure GM would not get to see what we wrote until they submitted their own response (just same way we couldn't see GM's until we submitted ours). Via e-mail, the BBB confirmed.

Then, suddenly, the process was modified. GM was given more time to file their report and the excuse that was given was that GM used all of their allotted time "to suppress the findings" of their own technical expert and therefore needed more time to file a rebuttal. Since more information had come to light on our side, we asked if we could have the same time to submit an ammendment to our own rebuttal. We were turned down.

So we waited to see GM's rebuttal.

It was taking so long that we thought something fishy was up. Every day, I'd say to my wife, "I'll bet you anything GM has a copy of our rebuttal." Sure enough, when GM's final statement came in, it included specific references to our rebuttal.... references that could not have been made unless they saw our rebuttal before submitting their own. 

We had been thoroughly cheated in terms of the BBB's guarantee of impartiality and it came as no surprise to us when GM won the case (by the way, when you take your case to the BBB, you have to release the BBB from any liability associated with the outcome of the case). 

GM is a major supporter of the BBB. We found reports on the Web of other Vibe owners who had similar problems. Given who was involved, how they sent inspectors, etc, GM probably spent more time, money and effort fighting us than it would have cost to fix the paint. We drew our own conclusions.  You can make yours. 

So, first we will never buy another GM vehicle again. Period. That's one reason e-mails like this that call me "a valued GM owner" are so disturbing. If I was so valued, GM would have fixed the paint that was coming off my car and would not have pulled out every stop possible (including supressing the testimony of the expert witness it supplied) to keep us from getting our car fixed. 

Second, I was happy to see the proverbial "opt-out" link at the bottom of the e-mail to make sure I don't get any more e-mails from GM.  Unfortunately, as you can see from the partial screen shot below (where I'm supposed to be able to opt-out), GM's subscription management system has no record of me as someone that's already on one of its e-mail lists. In other words, since there's apparently nothing for me to opt-out from (by unchecking a box), I can't opt-out (even though I'm getting e-mails). Just in case the system is case sensitive, I tried entering my e-mail address using a couple of different renderings. One mistake here is that the newsletter doesn't clearly state the e-mail address it was sent to (a must have for all such e-mails). 


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