Anyone watching football today will see lots of ads for General Motors’ “60-Day Satisfaction Guarantee,” which allows a buyer dissatisfied with one of its new cars or trucks to return it for a full refund.
But offers like this always come with so many rules and loopholes that the only thing you’re guaranteed to get is a lot of aggravation if you actually try to take advantage of it.
GM’s promotion is no exception.
First of all, you can’t return your new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac until you’ve had it for at least 30 days. You must bring it back between 31 and 60 days after you bought it
If the vehicle suffers more than $200 in damage during that time, GM doesn’t have to accept it.
Given what car repairs cost these days, it doesn’t take much to cause $200 worth of cosmetic damage. A single dent or ding could put you over the limit.
And who determines whether there’s more than $200 worth of damage? Yup — GM.
If the automaker does agree to take back a car or truck, most buyers will still be out at least a couple of hundred dollars.
You’ll get back the purchase price and sales tax. But you won’t be reimbursed for the cost of registering and titling the vehicle or any extras you bought from the dealer.
You can find most of the other rules and conditions at the program’s Frequently Asked Questions.
By now you should be getting the idea that this money-back offer is more marketing gimmick than serious guarantee.
But there’s a smart way to take advantage of the promotion that you won’t hear about on the television ads.
GM is quietly offering an extra $500 rebate to buyers that waive their right to the 60-day guarantee.
That’s right. GM will actually pay you not to take part in the program — and that’s exactly what you should do.
Use a test drive or three to be certain about the vehicle you want, strike the best deal you can and then ask for the $500 rebate in lieu of the guarantee.
Your newfound discount should be added on to any other rebates or cut-rate financing deals that come with the car or truck you’re buying.
The offer expires Nov. 30.