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Onstar / General Motors / forced use of onstar

1 United States Review updated:

I recently bought a car from a GM Motors dealer. At the time I bought the car I was told of about OnStar and how it works. I was told I got free phone service from OnStar for two months. After that I would have to buy the service if I wanted it.

With in two weeks of buying the car I was driving with my sister and talking about a family issue when my radio cut out and the word “phone” appeared were my radio station would appear and low and behold OnStar cut in on my private conversation and started to read me an advertisement. I could not believe it. I ended the call and called OnStar asking that the service be disconnected. I explained that breaking into my conversation was inexcusable. Plus, I see no need to pay OnStar for a third phone number when I am already paying for a home and a cell phone. Hands free calls are what bluetooth is for.

I was told during my call to OnStar that since the service was free I had to keep it. I was not happy and asked for a supervisor. I was then passed to Gladys who said she was the supervisor and that I had to keep the service for one year. After one year it would be canceled. I was just furious that GM and OnStar decided for me what I had to keep, free or not. I then asked what service was for a year and was told OnStar was in fact on it’s self. I had no idea OnStar was even on other than the phone service.

I called the dealer and asked that they turn off OnStar all together as I did not want it. The dealer could not do it. I had to call OnStar again, this time from the dealer. After explaining I was at the dealer’s office and would return the car if the service was not turned off, OnStar told me the “free service” was off, but OnStar it’s self cannot be turned off and they can continue to track the vehicle and pass on information about the car to GM. I was floored. I called GM and complained.

I asked the dealer to remove OnStar from the car. Unplug it, remove a fuse or rip it out. After weeks of delays I was finally told by the dealer it would cost me $1,000.00 to remove OnStar from the car.

I called GM and explained the problem again. I was told by GM that because of were they place the OnStar unit the dealer would have to spend a lot of time and effort removing the fuse.

I felt GM should cover this cost because no were does GM state that when you buy a GM vehicle you have to have the OnStar service, want it or not. GM refuses to pay to unplug or remove OnStar. The reason being is that OnStar is working and since there is no system problem, they will not remove it.

So if you buy a GM vehicle according to GM you give up all your rights to privacy so they can monitor the vehicle and keep the information for up to one year. I never agreed to this at anytime.

I really never cared or even thought about OnStar until they decided to break into my car and start to read me advertisements. Now that I know GM has decided it can do what ever it wants it has left me totally angry. The consumer not having any recourse is totally unfair.

This is not about “if I am doing nothing wrong why do I care” remarks people make. It’s about the simple fact GM has decided to activate something I do not want and will not deactivate it. It should not be up to GM to decide what I must have. It should be up to me. After all, I am the one making the car payments, not GM.

GM should have to disclose this information to anyone that purchases a GM vehicle. Then let the person decide if they want the vehicle enough to accept GM’s tracking them as a fair trade. I do not and advise anyone buying a GM vehicle to ask about OnStar before they buy.

Personally, I will never buy another GM or any other vehicle that come with such a devise. Yes, it can be a life saver, but that is not why GM forces you to keep it.

Next car is a Toyota, unless they start to pull this big brother act.

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  • Ch
      21st of Apr, 2008
    0 Votes

    Hi James; just trying to find some info on how to complain or who to complain to about the onstar system and came across your letter, just wanted to send you mines

    I don’t know how to begin this letter except to say that I’m angry and very disgusted with the Onstar product & process. On February 25, 2008 my brand new Pontiac G6 was stolen, I immediately contacted Onstar to begin the stolen vehicle tracking process when they informed me that I had to make a police report before the authorities could be notified. In the city of Detroit where the vehicle was stolen, they then told me that they don’t take police reports over the phone and nor do the police come out to retrieve a stolen vehicle report from the victim.
    So now let me fine tune the picture for you. My vehicle is stolen which means I don’t have a way to get to the police station to get a report that Onstar is requiring me to have before the vehicle can be recovered, so in the meantime, Onstar is senselessly tracking the vehicle, while suspect(s) are destroying the vehicle, while I’m attempting to first find a ride to the station, then second, have to fill out a 4 page police report. Then to add insult to injury, at approximately 5:30a.m. (2 hours later), I contacted Onstar again which is the second part of the process, and gave an advisor the report information just to have another 2 hours pass and a different advisor (Laura) call me back at 7:45a.m. & say “Did you get that police information yet so we can have authorities recover your vehicle?” Needless to say, the vehicle has not been recovered & nor is Onstar able to get a signal on it (vehicle’s Time of Death: approximately 24 hours later).
    Now I ask you, how exactly did Onstar help me or my insurance company? How useful was this service or the city’s police department in conjunction with it? The only thing that just happened here is a big waste of time & money for all parties except the criminal.

    Also; what about those 130 personal calling minutes I had downloaded inside the vehicle and never got a chance to use?
    I’m disgusted with the service, the city & the time I have to spend writing letters like this.

    Thank you for the unpleasant experience I’ll try to make sure (that I or anyone I know thinking of renewing Onstar) to never have again.


    Chantal McWillie

  • An
      2nd of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    Sorry that no one tells you that you have to have a police report before a car can be tracked. I guess you rather have any tom dick and harry call and say they need to track your car...There are instances where the signal dies and the car can not be tracked. And did ya know that we don't tell you where it is! Yeah i guess you feel you should know that too huh! The nerve of people...oh and did ya know you could have your minutes transferred to another car that has onstar? yeah..didn't know that did you! People with little to no information always blame things on the company..DAH WELL LIVE AND YOU LEARN

  • Jm
      22nd of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    They DO track vehicles illegally, without notifying customers - and my OnStar service was cancelled by the time they did the tracking and violated my privacy by releasing that information, just because they were told that a "federal agent" wanted it. They lied and claimed there was no release of information, but the government already admitted that there was. OnStar was caught in a serious lie. There is a huge lawsuit where OnStar will soon be added as a co-defendant. I hope OnStar enjoys the upcoming negative publicity, since they deserve it. I will NEVER buy another vehicle that has OnStar preinstalled, since you can't get rid of this worthless system if you want to - and on top of it it's being used against you! This is nothing but a total scam to gather information, spy on you and violate your privacy. I am telling everyone I know not to buy any vehicles with OnStar.

  • Br
      21st of Jul, 2016
    0 Votes

    Car dealer told my elderly mother-in-law that a law now says when she leases a car she needs to contact Onstar and give them her information even if she does not want to do business with Onstar. Any truth to this? (Ohio). I've never heard of a law requiring a person to give a private company their information.

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