You must waive your right to sue

Photo: Jessica Lynn Walker - Car and Driver

Photo: Jessica Lynn Walker – Car and Driver

  • All Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV vehicles were recalled in 2021 due to a battery fire risk, after nearly a year of smaller related recalls.

  • Following the recall, GM reduced prices on Bolts for the 2023 model year and announced that customers who had purchased their vehicles earlier were eligible for a refund.

  • On August 2, Jalopnik showed a screenshot of the rebate form sent to the site by a Bolt owner, in which they spotted fine print saying the owner must agree to waive their right to sue for the “vehicle » his. battery defect or the battery is being recalled.”

The Bolt EV and EUV story has been dramatic over the past year. First, there were sweeping battery fire recalls, then production was halted, and then there was a big price cut with refunds for owners who bought before the announcement, bringing the starting price of electric vehicles below $30,000. Now it appears—and the automaker has confirmed it Car and Driver—that Chevrolet is offering the refund on the condition that owners waive their right to sue GM over their vehicle, battery defects or battery recalls.

The report comes from an anonymous source cited in an article on the website Jalopnik, published Tuesday morning. The source, described as the Bolt’s owner, claims they had to agree to the fine print of this provision in order to claim their refund.

The article includes a screenshot of the traffic the source had to click to agree to before finalizing the compensation. The exact language, with some parts in bold for emphasis, is as follows:

However, by agreeing to this Release, -both on behalf of me and on behalf of my heirs, agents, servants, assigns, legal representatives, executors, patrons, executors, successors and administrators-forever waive and release all claims, damages or causes of action, known or unknown, regardless of law or theory of equity, that I may now or hereafter have arising out of or in any way related to my vehicle Bolt ), the battery defect or battery recalls and including any claims or rights I may have in connection with the class action, including any right to join as a class member. This release is for and includes General Motors Company, General Motors LLC, General Motors Holdings LLC, LG Chem, Ltd., LG Energy Solution, Ltd., LG Energy Solution Michigan Inc., LG Electronics, Inc. and LG Electronics USA, Inc. as well as all their respective officers, directors, agents, employees, servants, subsidiaries, affiliates, subsidiaries, parent companies, insurers, authorized agents, suppliers, divisions, predecessors, successors, heirs and assigns.

Car and Driver reached out to GM for comment, and Kevin Kelly, senior director of Chevrolet Communications, confirmed to us that the above language is included in the indemnification agreement.

The History

In November 2020, Chevy recalled all 2017–2018 bolt-on models and select 2019 models, totaling 50,932 vehicles. The recall followed an NHTSA investigation into three reports of fires, including one that reported smoke inhalation injuries. NHTSA then issued a consumer alert warning Bolt owners of five known fires, including two injuries and one case of a house fire. The notice advised Bolt owners to park their vehicle outside buildings and recommended a number of temporary remedies.

Photo: Chevrolet

Photo: Chevrolet

More Bolt EVs, and eventually the Bolt EUV, were recalled until NHTSA announced in August 2021 that every 2017-2022 Bolt and Bolt EUV model ever produced and sold was under recall, including vehicles that had previously received a fix. This affected more than 141,000 vehicles.

GM committed to replacing each defective battery pack, and although it identified two possible manufacturing defects, GM refrained from replacing the batteries until it was certain that the new packs would not be defective.

The company also stopped production of new Bolts and Bolt EUVs, having already stopped production of new batteries. But slowly but surely, GM has begun the process of replacing faulty batteries, with production of the batteries resuming in late 2021 and production of the Bolts resuming in April 2022.

Photo: Chevrolet

Photo: Chevrolet

Meanwhile, prices had been reduced for the 2022 model year, and after production resumed, the Bolt EV and EUV received an additional price cut for 2023 of about $6,000, announced in June. Both models now sell for less than $30,000. Car news It also noted that same month that owners who had purchased a Bolt EV earlier in 2022 would receive retroactive refunds for the full amount of the price cut.

It’s worth noting that the fine print of the agreement says nothing about your ability to make insurance claims. Just as important, GM is still legally required to provide no-cost repairs for any future recalls. This means that if the bolt you bought is suitable for battery replacement, you can still get it. And, as always, owners can check the NHTSA recall website for more information and updates on their vehicle’s recall status.

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