Buyer's remorse can strike anybody. We've all returned things that disappointed us or simply didn't quite live up to expectations. Usually, however, these aren't really big-ticket items. That could change, thanks to a new program being initiated by General Motors this week. In the wake of an unpopular taxpayer bailout and a humiliating bankruptcy that has resulted in the U.S. government taking a controlling stake in the automaker, GM hopes to change buyers' negative perceptions about its products with an interesting new promotion it simply calls the Satisfaction Guarantee. Beginning Monday, September 14, people who buy a new 2009 or 2010 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac vehicle (excluding medium-duty trucks) will be able to return it for a refund of the full purchase price and sales tax.
In its press release announcing the program, GM says that the vehicles can be returned between 31 and 60 days of their original purchase, and must have less than 4,000 miles on the odometer if/when they're turned back in. Of course, it's a bit more more complicated than that. The announcement notes that "Customers will be informed in writing before they buy the vehicle of the terms of the Satisfaction Guarantee," meaning there's plenty of other fine print that must be adhered to to keep everybody honest. For instance, there's specific paperwork that must be filed if a customer elects to return a vehicle, and all such vehicles are subject to inspection by "GM or GM's agent" (read: the dealer) prior to the buy-back. If the inspector determines that the car or truck has sustained more than $200 in damage (even if that damage has been repaired), GM can decline to re-purchase it from the customer. Otherwise, what's to stop a less-than-honest person from negotiating a deal on, say, a new Corvette or Camaro, only to return to the dealership after a month of burnouts, donuts, and generally abusive driving to say, "You know what? It's just not for me. Sorry!"
So, now it's your turn to tell us what you think: Is a money-back guarantee enough to get you to plunk down your money on new GM car or truck instead of a competing brand? Is the Satisfaction Guarantee just a gimmick designed to get more foot traffic into GM dealerships stocked with new 2010 product this fall? Let us know your take in the comments.