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posted by hubie on Friday August 05, @06:26AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the bolt-from-this-company dept.

Your EV discount might carry a steep legal cost:

Chevy offered rebates to Bolt EV owners who bought their cars just before a 2023 model price drop, but that discount comes with a large catch. Jalopnik and Autoblog note the rebate application requires that drivers "forever waive and release" their right to sue GM or LG over the Bolt's reported battery defect. You'd have to be content with the savings even if the car did serious damage, in other words. GM confirmed the agreement language with Engadget.

GM first recalled the Bolt in November 2020 after reports of battery fires between 2017 and 2019. The automaker tried addressing the issue with a software update in April 2021, but two subsequent fires and a second recall led the NHTSA to warn against parking indoors. That prompted a July 2021 recall where GM replaced the battery packs. The brand eventually recalled all manufactured Bolts, pledged an additional $1 billion for battery replacements and offered an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on substitute batteries.

Toasty!


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Friday August 05, @06:37AM (6 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Friday August 05, @06:37AM (#1265050)

    The alternative is suing, possibly successfully, but what's 100% guaranteed is that the fucking lawyer you'll hire will leave you skint.

    Just take the rebate. It's the moral thing to do: you deprive one lawyer of your money.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by number11 on Friday August 05, @03:11PM (2 children)

      by number11 (1170) on Friday August 05, @03:11PM (#1265112)

      And if the car burns your house down, too bad, not GM's problem.

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Friday August 05, @03:31PM (1 child)

        by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Friday August 05, @03:31PM (#1265118)

        Well yeah, but... One lawyer earned less money thanks to you. Isn't it worth it?

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Pslytely Psycho on Friday August 05, @11:56PM

          by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Friday August 05, @11:56PM (#1265194)

          I think he picked the wrong liar.....err....pardon me....lawyer...

          If my house burns down, it's worth a helluva lot more than the cost difference of the car.

          --
          Alex Jones lawyer inspires new TV series: CSI Moron Division.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by richtopia on Friday August 05, @10:04PM (1 child)

      by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 05, @10:04PM (#1265180) Homepage Journal

      Take the rebate, then sell the car on the used market.

      I'm not a lawyer, but reading the relevant section looks very person-oriented, and not VIN oriented. So I presume the next owner could then sue GM in event of fire. Or maybe the next owner could then get their own 6000USD rebate.

      By nonetheless agreeing to this Release, I—both on my own behalf and on behalf of my heirs, agents, servants, beneficiaries, legal representatives, assigns, wards, executors, successors, and administrators—forever waive and release all claims, damages, or causes of action, either known or unknown, regardless of the legal or equitable theory, that I may have now or in the future arising out of or in any way relating to my Bolt vehicle(s), the battery defect, or the battery recalls, and including any claims or rights that I may have in connection with the class action, including any right to participate as a class member. This release is in favor of and includes General Motors Company, General Motors LLC, General Motors Holdings LLC, LG Chem, Ltd., LG Energy Solution, Ltd., LG Energy Solution Michigan Inc., LG Electronics, Inc., and LG Electronics USA, Inc. as well as all of their respective officers, directors, agents, employees, servants, subsidiaries, affiliated companies, subsidiaries, parent companies, insurers, authorized dealers, suppliers, divisions, predecessors, successors, heirs, and assigns.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Booga1 on Friday August 05, @10:39PM

        by Booga1 (6333) on Friday August 05, @10:39PM (#1265188)

        Wow...that basically reads to me as: "by signing this agreement, you are signing on behalf of every class of legal entity we could think of, and any we couldn't think of, to waive any rights we can think of, and those we couldn't, whether this agreement is legal or not, now and forever, connected to this vehicle, battery, recalls, lawsuits, and your rights to participate in any lawsuits at all, even as a class member. This release benefits only General Motors and all subsidiaries, the battery manufacturer and their suppliers and subsidiaries and anyone that owns them, insures them, sells their products, and were ever involved with these companies, or anyone connected to them in the future."

        This is some Darth Sidious "I will make it legal" crap. I'd say there's no way it would hold up in court, but these days I am not sure I'd make that bet.

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday August 06, @04:06PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday August 06, @04:06PM (#1265284) Homepage Journal

      The voice of ignorance! A lawyer is like a doctor, in that when you need one, you NEED one. Sure, if you're on trial for murder a good lawyer will cost more than I could ever afford to pay, but if somebody t-bones your car, the lawyer will get you damages plus three times your medical bills for pain and suffering. He takes a third. Without the lawyer, you get your car repaired and medical bills paid.

      No, I'm not a lawyer, but I've hired them.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
  • (Score: 3, Touché) by Opportunist on Friday August 05, @07:58AM (5 children)

    by Opportunist (5545) on Friday August 05, @07:58AM (#1265060)

    Either you take the rebate and let GM get away with making a crappy car or you reserve the right to sue and let a lawyer get away with your money.

    Either way you get jack while some crook gets to swindle you out of your money.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, @09:09AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, @09:09AM (#1265069)

      WOPR, the supercomputer of WarGames, says the only winning move is not to play.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Opportunist on Friday August 05, @09:55AM

        by Opportunist (5545) on Friday August 05, @09:55AM (#1265071)

        Hard to do when you already entered the game and bought a Bolt. Of course, shenanigans like these should ensure that new dupes are harder to find now.

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday August 06, @04:09PM (2 children)

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday August 06, @04:09PM (#1265285) Homepage Journal

      If your lawyer is any good at all, you'll get the rebate plus damages and Chevy will have to pay your lawyer.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
  • (Score: 2) by Fnord666 on Friday August 05, @01:09PM

    by Fnord666 (652) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 05, @01:09PM (#1265097) Homepage

    This seems to be a thing with General Motors. Apparently they did something similar with the Cadillac Lyriq.

    Cadillac Lyriq buyers were offered a $5,500 discount if they agreed not to talk about problems with the electric SUV, [...]

  • (Score: 2) by damnbunni on Friday August 05, @02:01PM (17 children)

    by damnbunni (704) on Friday August 05, @02:01PM (#1265103) Journal

    If you bought the car recently enough to qualify for the rebate, you should have one with the fixed battery pack, so you're not going to have any issues to sue over.

    • (Score: 2) by number11 on Friday August 05, @03:14PM

      by number11 (1170) on Friday August 05, @03:14PM (#1265114)

      The deal isn't limited to the battery pack. If the wheels fall off at 70MPH, you can't sue about that either.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, @03:29PM (15 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, @03:29PM (#1265117)

      If you are only waiving claims related to the battery defect that caused the recall, then I agree it is fair. But that is not actually what the agreement says. It says this:

      [I and anyone else relevant] forever waive and release all claims, damages, or causes of action, either known or unknown, regardless of the legal or equitable theory, that I may have now or in the future arising out of or in any way relating to my Bolt vehicle(s), the battery defect, or the battery recalls, and including [the battery defect class action lawsuit].

      This appears to me to cover not just the battery defect, but also literally any problem that ever occurs with your Bolt, including any problems totally unrelated to the battery that might happen in the future.

      This really does seem incredibly broad. IANAL so I have no idea about the legality of such broad waivers, which probably depends on where you live. The next part of the agreement mentions a California law that might limit the scope of such waivers, but presumably that is only relevant to residents of California.

      On the flip side, most people don't ever need to sue their car's manufacturer, and $6000 is no small consideration.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Friday August 05, @05:37PM (14 children)

        by maxwell demon (1608) on Friday August 05, @05:37PM (#1265141) Journal

        I don't know about the actual legality, but I think it should be a crime to get someone to sign such a waiver. The reason why it should be a crime rather than simply not enforceable is that this would allow the courts to go after the company even if the other party does comply, either because they don't know they didn't have to, or for cost reasons.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Reziac on Saturday August 06, @02:54AM (2 children)

          by Reziac (2489) on Saturday August 06, @02:54AM (#1265209) Homepage

          I wonder if they've just opened themselves up to some other sort of lawsuit, such as wrongful death in the event that the car burns down your house, with you in it.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RS3 on Saturday August 06, @03:44PM (10 children)

          by RS3 (6367) on Saturday August 06, @03:44PM (#1265276)

          The simple fix is for Congress (ahem) to pass a law stating that nobody can ever sign away their rights to a trial.

          My cynical take on one factor: cost of courts. Sadly our (USA's) court system is generally overloaded and backed up. Rather than expand with more courts, or at least more judges and longer court open hours, they do everything they can to encourage out-of-court settlements, including forced arbitration.

          Another one that should never be legal: "contracts" that include: "we reserve the right to change the terms of this contract", meaning whenever they feel like it, and tough crap to you. IMHO it is no longer a "contract" if it can vary.

          Right now I'm locked out of PayPal because they capriciously changed something (I'm not sure what) and demand I give them my bank info. Took me weeks of chats, emails, and phone calls to customer "service" to finally deduce what they are now demanding. Not going to happen! What are they going to do with my bank info? How do I know it's really safe in PayPal's servers? Answer: I don't know, they'll never tell, so they lose yet another customer.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Opportunist on Sunday August 07, @08:40AM

            by Opportunist (5545) on Sunday August 07, @08:40AM (#1265400)

            My cynical take on it is that in a for-profit country with a for-profit justice system, I think we should be glad that by now you can't just buy a verdict.

            I mean, openly.

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Reziac on Sunday August 07, @02:01PM (8 children)

            by Reziac (2489) on Sunday August 07, @02:01PM (#1265424) Homepage

            So long as the plea bargain exists, that'll never happen.Because a plea bargain is functionally signing away your rights to a trial. And plea bargains keep the successful prosecution rate above 95%. (97% in L.A. County, last I paid attention.) Great for elected prosecutors...

            Get me started on Chase Bank and unilateral changing of the terms of a contract, in this case a mortgage, to tack on flood insurance that was specifically excluded by the contract (thanks, FEMA, I'm sure a ridgetop in the desert is a prime flood risk). There was a class action lawsuit and they backed off for 3 years, then they did it again and this time apparently no one noticed. Oh, and Los Angeles County unilaterally changing the terms of property ownership by confiscating all the private wells (cue another class action lawsuit, which returned a small amount of water to the property owners). This first doubled mortgage payments, then made rural desert properties unsalable (at least until everyone forgot about it since LACo never figured out how to enforce this edict).

            The Golden Rule: Them who has the gold makes the rules.

            Paypal hasn't pulled any such crap on me yet, but if they do, I have a second bank account with a minimum deposit, meant solely to function as a Paypal anchor. Tho it hasn't (to my knowledge) happened in the past decade and more, I remember when in its early days, bank accounts linked to Paypal were occasionally hacked and drained. So... isolated account of minimal value.

            • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Monday August 08, @06:40PM (7 children)

              by RS3 (6367) on Monday August 08, @06:40PM (#1265587)

              IANAL, but I'm pretty sure plea bargain pertains to criminal cases, not civil. But I totally get and agree with your point about the morass our "legal" system has become. I see the courts as lazy.

              LA water wells: draconian overlords. I understand the water problems in SoCal, but confiscating wells? How about they come get it and pay for it.

              Not sure what to say about the mortgage and flood insurance. Maybe look for another mortgage holder? Not easy, I know. Maybe use every govt. agency to fight it? Not sure if any can help, maybe state's AG?

              I established a bank account, with attached Visa debit, just for the purpose of online buying, including paypal. I'm careful about not keeping much in that account. The Visa works- I just used it over the weekend. It has not changed, nothing about me- name, address, email, nothing has changed at my end. I've made hundreds of purchases through PayPal over 12 years. No reason at all for PayPal to change things.

              Mainly I can't get over that they're asking me to spread my bank account information around, in the name of "security". I've had a couple of dozen phone and chat conversations with PayPal reps and NOT ONE has explained how I'm more secure by giving them my bank information.

              The whole reason I did it this way, with Visa as an insulation layer, is to prevent my bank account information from being slurped up when PayPal gets hacked. Literal idiots. I'll let the account sit and not use it at all. Their loss of $.

              • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday August 09, @12:42AM (6 children)

                by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday August 09, @12:42AM (#1265628) Homepage

                The concept was that all mineral rights, including water, belong to the state, therefore LACo could just take it. Post lawsuit, we got "three acre-feet per year" back, not enough for anything beyond basic household use. (This was formerly a big onion-growing area.) How exactly they planned to meter that is unclear. How they planned to skirt the 4th amendment and not pay us the cost of wells we drilled and for which everyone since 1975 has permits issued by the county... mine, drilled by the previous owner, cost $56,000, and is about typical. (405 feet in very hard ground, and a concomitantly big-ass pump. The in-well pump alone is $4000.)

                FEMA conveniently labeled anywhere they did NOT survey as Flood Hazard. Chase says Oh, now you must have flood insurance! We'll just change the contract and double your monthly payment! I just flat refused to pay it, and they never said a word.

                Anyway, due to that and some other shit being pulled by the county, I ended up walking away from the property (rendered unsalable by the County's actions) and moved back to the Northern Wastes whence I originally came.

                I don't have a problem with Paypal having its OWN bank account, used by absolutely nothing else, and that's what I do (costs me nothing, so why not. If you want to REALLY insulate it, use a different bank entirely.) However, no way in hell will I let it touch my primary account. Even tho I haven't heard of a hack job in a long long time. As you say, the whole idea behind Paypal was layer of insulation between purchases and bank account, so why are they negating the very thing they sold us on using??

                • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Tuesday August 09, @03:50AM (5 children)

                  by RS3 (6367) on Tuesday August 09, @03:50AM (#1265656)

                  My mom always bought mineral rights when buying a property. I have a 400' well, drilled in 1998. They kept going until they got enough flow. It was my dad's property back then. He paid around $9k. Pump is 3/4 HP Goulds. It might not be the right one for the well, but water level is sometimes 33' below grade. I need to measure it more often. I also have an older 150' well. Water is better in that one, tastes better and pH nearer 7.0, but it easily runs dry. I've been meaning to "surge" it sometime, maybe give it a little impulse treatment if you know what I mean. I can pull up that pump, but not the 400' one- it needs a motorized puller (3-wheel rig).

                  My issue with PayPal is principle. I refuse to accommodate corporations owning us. I'll fight them as much as I can. Sometimes (often) I think it's more about them controlling people than it's about making $. Either way, I'm standing my ground. Well, I would accept them paying me for all my time, effort, and hassle of setting up a new bank account (yes, at yet another bank...)

                  I'm super glad you didn't acquiesce to the new doubled payment. That's a case where We The People need to connect and band together and fight that stuff in unison. "Class action" and all that.

                  • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday August 09, @04:29AM (4 children)

                    by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday August 09, @04:29AM (#1265666) Homepage

                    You rarely have a choice about mineral rights. They're typically separate from the surface property (which is why mining claims are not private as such). The more valuable the potential, the less likely they are to be included with the property. In some states you do not have water rights either, or if you do, have to file for them when you drill a well, but thereafter they usually convey with the property.

                    My well in the desert was 405 feet to bottom and water at 270 feet, but it would do 70gpm all day long (probably the limit of the 2" pipe off the top, was 3" down the shaft), as at that level it hit the big local aquifer. It was intended as an ag well, not just household. Tiny compared to the capped wells across the road from me. When my pump died, it took a big-ass truck and rig to pull it out (and cost $11k all found). Here I just have a $200 surface pump!

                    Yeah, sometimes you can flush 'em out. My neighbor here, his dad tried dynamite. This was a Bad Idea[TM]. Neighbor spent last summer re-digging the well (by hand, here we have water at about 20 feet). New well driven about 30 feet away was NFG (WAY too alkali, and we can already use our water as concrete... it tests off the hardness scale). You wouldn't think it would be that different when it's running over the same damn bedrock from the same uphill source, but some spots must pass through some undesirable mineral deposits.

                    I can understand refusing on principle, all right... there are some things I just will not be coerced into. Such as buying an electric car. (A car example in an OT post on a car article, I think I did something wrong...)

                    • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Tuesday August 09, @04:56AM (3 children)

                      by RS3 (6367) on Tuesday August 09, @04:56AM (#1265673)

                      Double negative- loops right back OT. :)

                      Yeah, I wasn't going to go as far as dynamite. More likely a "quarter stick" or something similar. I'd drop a SS mesh basket down first, electric fuse for the 1/4 stick. I have some older pumps I'd rig up as "trash pumps" with a jet to blast and stir up stuff as it pumps out the debris. I dunno- all free to try.

                      I've done some work for a pretty important hydrogeologist, so I know a few things. One is that your ground may look flat, but there could be a very steep mountain under you, and it was all filled in by whatever that process is that deposits dirt when nobody is looking.

                      How many HP was that pump? And what electric feed, 480 3 phase? (electric cars have 3-phase electric motors, so we're back OT here!)

                      So, why do you hate electric cars so much? :)

                      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Reziac on Tuesday August 09, @05:45AM (2 children)

                        by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday August 09, @05:45AM (#1265681) Homepage

                        Because I like the freedom to travel when and where I like. I'm peculiar that way. :D

                        Yeah, we're on a slopey chunk of bedrock here, 20 feet of dirt on top and about 30-50 feet above the river (depending where you stand, I've got about 25' of slope from the irrigation ditch at the top of the hill, down to my front yard), so the water that oozes up below me might not even be from the same flow (it doesn't come out the side of the fairly steep hill beyond me, so it goes somewhere else) and who knows what complications are under us... we're also at the confluence of two rivers, and there's doubtless plenty of seep through the gravel beds. (Water level at the gravel pit half a mile away is down about ten feet.)

                        My desert well had a 4HP pump, 240 3-phase (we couldn't get 480). -- Funny story, my neighbor a couple miles away decided to hand-dig a well (because he resented how expensive his little local water company was) and... took him a year of weekends to grind through 150 feet of calichi (the ground is so hard, he didn't need to collar the hole, it's stable as concrete and damnear as hard), and still bone-dry. When I met him he'd just recently given up... well, I coulda told you how much farther you'd need to dig! :D

                        • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Tuesday August 09, @12:31PM (1 child)

                          by RS3 (6367) on Tuesday August 09, @12:31PM (#1265734)

                          Interesting as always! Wow, 150 feet hand digging? That's insane. Long ago when I was a wee young'en I remember a company called "Deep Rock" that sold DIY well kits. I even considered trying it. They're typically only good for up to 200'. I suppose that would be due to weight limit for lifting the drill pipes back out. Your neighbor could take that rig down to the bottom of his hole and keep going!

                          I literally can't imagine digging like that. I have a sort of phobia about holes in the ground like that. I'm not sure how far down I could go before needing meds, but it wouldn't be far, no matter how well braced and collared it was. He'd be an interesting guy to meet. Or maybe not...

                          240 3-phase. You typically only get 208, but most motors are rated for 208 or 240. Converters and autotransformers exist of course.

                          So I get what you're saying about electric cars. You might not have as many charging stations as many other areas, and that's all being built up. Much of the investment / build is for commercial fleets like Amazon, but more charging stations are coming.

                          I would want both engine and batteries. A few years ago a good friend bought a Chrysler Pacifica "plug-in hybrid". He (they) love it. It runs on batteries most of the time, for maybe 50 miles, then the engine kicks in, esp. for long trips. In my mind it's the best of both worlds. He also has a Bolt and loves it. He's never had any problems coming close to running out of juice. But we have a lot more charging stations in these parts.

                          • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday August 09, @01:27PM

                            by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday August 09, @01:27PM (#1265742) Homepage

                            What's more, my neighbor dug this dry hole when he was in his 70s. Dangling from a rope, and the hole was only about two feet across. If he hadn't passed away a few years back, I'm sure he'd be right interested in a faster-drilling DIY rig! (Cuz when I said the ground resembled concrete, I did not exaggerate. I had a young feller digging a drain pit, and at eight feet hit calichi and took a full day to achieve two more inches... we decided any deeper needed dynamite, and the present depth would have to do.)

                            Yeah, I'm not a holes and mines type myself. Unstable rock overhead gives me hives.

                            Anywhere built up enough to have sufficient charging stations, I don't want to live. Even if charging stations existed in the middle of nowhere, I'm sure waiting for the charge to happen when it's -40 will be real pleasant, if a battery that cold will take the charge at all. And here ... well, once I get out of town, there are stretches where it's 50 miles or more to the nearest electricity, and then it's a single line running from ranch to ranch. Who's gonna pay for the infrastructure? since we're busy getting rid of all the reliable electricity, how do they plan to refine the needful copper, never mind get it out of the ground? Oh, we don't like giant open-pit mines, cuz environment?? (One estimate laid out that if everyone in the U.S. switched to EVs, we'd need 5x the current grid capacity, and there's not enough copper in the world. And the all wind-and-solar mining-requirements estimate makes that look downright doable, not to mention that "out in the desert" solar is scorched-earth destructive to a fragile habitat.) Self-charging hybrids are reasonable. All-EV is a failure to perform basic arithmetic, and a belief that since it happens out of urban sight, the necessary components to all-EV spring fullblown from the brow of Zeus.

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