Glendale, California - December 15, 2012 - Randy Sottile, CA Lemon Law Auto Experts’ research and opinions on GM’s OnStar system is that of a 'double-edged sword'.
OnStar epitomizes the concept of “Big Brother Watching”. It’s what they can do with the information that can be potentially damaging to consumers in many ways – privacy, marketing information, crash/insurance information, hi-jacking lemon law claims and more. Let’s look at a brief list of what can be done with OnStars’ capabilities.
First, under state lemon laws, “repair attempts” are defined as when the customer presents the vehicle with the issue to the authorized dealer for warranty repairs, and it’s written up on a “Repair Order”. On-Star benefits the manufacturer and derails the consumer from getting their right to a documented repair. OnStar diagnostics can actually reset (shut off) a dash warning light that would otherwise be a “repair attempt” visit to the dealers’ shop – which would be used towards a lemon law claim. OnStar “conveniently”
Next is a vehicle owners right to privacy. Privacy? – The OnStar’s GPS knows exactly where you are at all times. Don’t believe it? Recently, it has been rumored that OnStar has changed its terms and conditions to allow sale of vehicle location and speeds to interested third parties such as law enforcement agencies.
It is a fact that we only know of OnStar’s capabilities at the whim of the auto manufacturer,. It is theoretically possible for OnStar to be remotely activated by malicious third parties or under government order. This would enable third parties to track the location of the car. This is constantly being challenged, but the real question remains “just how far can it go?” in taking private information, and how it’s used? We just don’t know. In 2011 OnStar announced that it would start retaining all the information collected by the GPS and internal system, so that it could be sold to third parties.
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