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Here We Go! GM Charging Mandatory Fees for “Options”

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Ever get tired of people talking about the “good old days”? You know, three channels on the television, rotary phones, walking to school uphill both ways?

Well, those WERE the good old days! OK, they weren’t THAT good, but still better than now.

Now we have strife everywhere; you have to be careful of every word you say, lest you be called out as a bigot, racist, homophobe, etc.

You also have to be wary of corporations trying to pull shady deals, especially in the auto industry.

As costs rise in terms of parts, labor, shipping and such, auto makers are trying numerous ways to recoup some of their lost profits.

Remember when options on a car were, well, optional? If you didn’t want heated seats, you didn’t get heated seats. If you didn’t want satellite radio, you didn’t pay for satellite radio. Guess those things soon will be relegated to “good old days” status.

Recently General Motors made a surprising announcement that is sure to anger customers. Let’s check with The Register for the costly details:

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Drivers in the US and Canada are in for a bit of sticker shock as General Motors has made three years of its OnStar subscription service mandatory in many new vehicles at a cost of $1,500.…

The little-noticed change took place in early June, the Detroit Free Press reported, when new GMC and Buick vehicles being sold in North America had the aforementioned line item added to sticker prices under “options and pricing.”

Don’t get me wrong, OnStar is a good service. In fact, it has probably saved lives. However, I don’t want to be told I HAVE to have a service on a vehicle if I don’t want it. I have a cell phone if I have an emergency.

I understand that OnStar can also unlock your doors and other things, but I also am unsettled about a company having that much control over your vehicle. How long before companies disable your vehicle if you are a week behind on a payment? We like to think things like that won’t happen, but services like OnStar make it possible.

Maybe your vehicle is mistaken for another by police and OnStar disables the vehicle resulting in a potentially dangerous traffic stop? It could happen.

According to a GM spokesperson, the fee will be charged whether or not the customer activates OnStar Connected Services. When the three years are up, customers have the option to extend the service, but charges will not be applied automatically.

Automakers have been planning to implement subscription services in their vehicles for several years, and chipmakers have been along for the ride, seeing such features as a way to get more money from automotive contracts.

There are the key words. “More money”. It’s all about profit folks. You will pay for services whether you want them or not. How many other business models would we as consumers tolerate shenanigans like this? Imagine if the grocery store threw in an extra charge to bag your groceries, even if you offered to do it yourself, or just had one or two items. Or you go to a sandwich shop and they charged you a “drink fee” and gave you a cup to get your own. You wouldn’t go!

We will continue to get fleeced by these big corporations until we stand up and say no more. Money talks, and we will have to take ours elsewhere until this profiteering stops.