Stolen Cars

Suppose someone steals your Escalade.  Your car is important to you in many ways beyond the thousands of dollars it cost you.  It might get you to work so your livelihood depends on it.  You use it to go to the store.  You drive to pick up your kids.  It’s important, right?  Let’s further suppose that you have OnStar activated in the car and you’ve paid your $200 for the yearly subscription.  The good folks at GM will use the system to help the police find your vehicle since not only have they sold you the car and taken your support money but they have a vested interest in you remaining a customer when you go to buy your next vehicle.  Common sense, it seems.  Well, based on this article from yesterday’s NY Times, apparently not to everyone.

You see, if someone grabs your iPhone or Kindle or XM Radio, neither Apple, AT&T, XM nor Amazon will help you get them back even though they have a pretty good idea of where they are and who is using them.  This despite the fact that in many cases these devices are as important to some folks’ livelihoods as their car (OK, maybe not so much for the radio…) and they pay through the nose in monthly fees to keep them.

Put aside the ethics of knowing where a stolen piece of property is and refusing to help get it back (I wonder if there is a conspiracy or aiding and abetting charge there – lawyers??).  What kind of short-sighted business thinking is this?  Who would do business with any company with that kind of a “you’re on your own” attitude?

Forget the massive public relations problem this raises.  Why not turn it into a service as GM has?  Instead of the bogus insurance charges the wireless guys try to push on you, the best insurance might be a few bucks a month to know that if you leave your phone in a cab the phone company will do everything it can to help get it back.  Yes, it’s kind of creepy that anything connected can be tracked and that downside gets magnified if the upside of finding it isn’t available to you.

Has anyone had this experience?  What sort of response did you get from the phone company or Amazon?

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Huh?, Reality checks

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