GM's Return Policy Includes a Number of Hurdles

By Stephen Markley  on September 27, 2009

When GM unveiled its new program allowing new-vehicle owners to return cars they’re not satisfied with, you had to figure the deal would have some fine print attached.

It turns out the fine print makes returning a car a lot more trouble than it’s probably worth, especially if your complaint is something like tachometer placement or highway noise.

Let’s tally all the hurdles.

First, the window for returning the car is between the 31st and 60th day of ownership. If you have minor gripes after driving the car home, GM wants to give you a month to get over those. Second, while you don’t have to cite a reason for returning the car, it can’t have more than $200 of damage on it.

GM says this is to protect itself from customers returning mangled cars, but $200 of damage can occur from a ding or nick in the paint. Keep in mind that GM will determine what counts as damage on the vehicle. Also, the car can have no more than 4,000 miles on it, leased vehicles are not covered and only one return is allowed per household.

Furthermore, GM will only refund the vehicle’s price and its sales tax. Don’t expect to get back the fees paid for the title or registration, which can account for several hundred dollars. Money paid for accessories sold by the dealer like paint or rust protection also won’t be refunded, and if you return your new car, don’t expect to get your old one back.

There is also no refund for owners who die.

GM insured its reimbursements through Cynosure Financial, and it’s clearly betting that most of its customers won’t take advantage of the money-back guarantee. To ensure this, it’s even offering customers a $500 rebate on their purchase if they waive the return policy.

Given the fine print, it seems like it’s a better deal to just decide on the car you want and take the discount.

The program runs through Nov. 30.

GM’s Return Policy May Not Be Worth the Hassle (Associate Press)

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