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Spitzer: GM Agrees to $29,000 Pay Out

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – New York State Attorney General Elliott Spitzer says General Motors will pay restitution for a deceptive rebate program.

Spitzer says GM credit card holders received a flyer in the mail promising discounts on selected vehicles. But many filed complaints with the state Attorney General's office saying they were denied the discounts at dealerships.

"The problem here is consumers would receive a solicitation saying if you use your card, you have miles that will build up. Those miles can be redeemed for up to $500 per car," Spitzer explained. "When they got to the dealership, it was the standard litany you hear -- that car's not on the lot or that car has been sold."

Spitzer says GM has agreed to pay more than $29,000 to 17 New Yorkers -- seven are in the Buffalo area. He says it's a small settlement, but proves that big companies need to live up to "obligations."

Spitzer says he believes there could be more customers who didn't receive the discounts. Four-point-two million people nationwide are GM credit card holders.

"It would be nice if nobody was victimized, but I believe there are more who have been victimized," Spitzer said. "So if they come forward we will approach GM and say let's apply the same terms. The numbers involved from GM's perspective are small enough, so they should do the right thing, and I suspect they will."

The Attorney General's office says as part of the settlement, any future promotions by General Motors must "clearly spell out" restrictions or expiration dates for consumers.