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posted by hubie on Friday August 05, @06:26AM   Printer-friendly
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.


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  • (Score: 2) by damnbunni on Friday August 05, @02:01PM (9 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.

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  • (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 (7 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: 4, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Friday August 05, @05:37PM (6 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 (2 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: 3, Informative) by Reziac on Sunday August 07, @02:01PM

          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.