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2013 Cadillac SRX
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106 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I had the A/C control for the rear seat fail in my 2013 Cadillac SRX Premium. You could not turn on the A/C sometimes and at other times you could not turn it off. The same panel also controls the rear heated seat. On a baking hot day in this July the seat heater was stuck on, the passengers were extremely uncomfortable.

So I took it into my local Cadillac dealer who diagnosed the problem as a software fix. The software needed to be updated as per GM bulletin PI1060A. The update was done and the control has worked properly since then.

The problem arose when my dealer called GMEPP (GM Extended Protection Plan) for warranty authorization for the fix. It was denied! I have GMEPP platinum coverage which means that everything is covered except for specific items in a somewhat long list. A/C controls or any other control is not on the list and so is therefore covered.

I called GMEPP and got the actual logic for their denial of coverage: "no physical part had failed".

During the repair no actual physical part had been replaced only software had been replaced. This seems a strange piece of legalese. Modern parts often combine a physical part and a software part that combined makes the part work. If either the physical part fails or the software fails then the part has broken, it is not usable. For the user of the part it makes no difference which component of the part has failed, the entire part is rendered unusable. The part is broken, in the warranty's terminology: it has experienced a "breakdown".

The relevant language in the warranty is:
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"This Vehicle Service Contract provides no Coverage or Benefits in case of the following:"
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"E. For any repair or replacement of any covered part if a Breakdown has not occurred. Any part that a repair facility or manufacturer recommends or requires that it be replaced or repaired, or is an update, and is not a Breakdown, is Your responsibility and expense."
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That is to say, the covered part must have experienced a "breakdown". Lets look at the legal definition of breakdown from the definitions section of the warranty:
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"Breakdown – Means the failure of a covered part under normal service. A covered part has failed when it can no longer perform the function for which it was designed solely because of its condition and not because of the action or inaction of any non-covered parts. Subsequent Damages resulting from the Breakdown of a covered part are covered by this Contract, except when You have failed to perform the recommended maintenance services for Your Vehicle."
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Seems that I should be covered but they say no because there was no "breakdown"

You can find the actual GMEPP warranty here:

I must add that my Cadillac dealership has been excellent, the repair was done and the problem fixed. The GMEPP people were friendly and explained the corporate policy to me in a friendly way. I have no objection with them, it is corporate policy that is wrong.

What do you think?
 

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2015 SRX Premium FWD
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737 Posts
I know this to be true of any extended warranty, they only count part failures as a failure or breakdown. They do not cover adjustments, A re-program is an adjustment(in their book) and that is the way that they weasel out of paying for it.
 

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2013 Cadillac SRX
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106 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
In my discussion with the manager at GMEPP I proposed this hypothetical: suppose I were driving along and the engine stopped and I had to pull over. If the problem were diagnosed as a software issue in the engine controller then is in not a "breakdown" and would not be covered.

The warranty dictates that all disputes be handled by binding arbitration. I can predict the outcome with that. However I live in New Hampshire and the GMEPP has a clause where in NH the arbitration provision is stricken. I wonder how a jury would view the legal gymnastics that GM uses to avoid paying?
 

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2015 SRX Premium FWD
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737 Posts
You would lose.

It isn't (just) GM. The factory B2B warranty would cover it. Other extended warranties do this, too.

How much money are we talking about that it cost to do this update?
 

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2013 Cadillac SRX
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106 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
They hit me for $180.

How can GM call a part that does not function not a "breakdown"? To the outside observer the part is broken, it works or it doesn't. Only GM knows which component of a given part has failed. This is legalistic mumbo-jumbo that I don't think would impress a jury. It is a quite transparent scheme to avoid paying.
 

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2012 SRX Luxury
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424 Posts
If you took this to small claims court the Judge would side with you. But is it worth it for $200 ? Not likely and that's what GM counts on.

Steve
 

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Wow. That's a very eye opening post. I believe in it's a reasonable assumption that if you buy the General Motors Platinum plan you are getting the best coverage possible covering everything but normal wear items. GM. Just a side note. Hanging your customers out to dry is not a successful long-term formula for success it business. It will catch up with you eventually! You said at the beginning of your post that the software needed to be updated. Which means that the original version of the software was defective or falling short or just not working right in the first place. Circuit board that holds that update is in fact a physical piece. Whereas it may not physically be defective it was never correct in the first place and they sold it to you that way. Sorry. Stuff like this just aggravates me to death.
 

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2004 Deville base
'05 SRX N*/AWD, Vetts/Birds/Trucks
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433 Posts
Can software be 'engineered' to 'breakdown' on a timely or 'untimely'...schedule?
Who would know, and how to prove it.
 

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2015 SRX Premium FWD
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737 Posts
You would lose.

It isn't (just) GM. The factory B2B warranty would cover it. Other extended warranties do this, too.
Updates are actually considered maintenance, or adjustments, by some companies, and therefore, are not covered.
 
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