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January 22, 2009

OnStar Sucks

Arrows I have been meaning to write this post for months now but I guess you could say I've been...lost.  Last year I got a new GMC vehicle and I got a free year of OnStar as part of the purchase.  In case you've been under a rock, OnStar is a GPS service that allows you to push a button and call and speak to a representative who will then send directions to your vehicle.  It also will (supposedly) send emergency assistance to your vehicle if you need it. You've heard the commercials:

Rep: Hello, this is OnStar
Girl: Um, yes my mommy is "sleeping" and I'm scared
Rep: Is your mommy moving little girl?
Girl: Nooooo! (sobs)
Rep: Don't be scared. Help is on the way.

YEAH. RIGHT. In order for that magical little scenario to happen, two things have to occur: First, an OnStar rep would have to actually answer the phone and second, the OnStar rep would  have to actually be able to locate your vehicle. Now, in all honesty I have never used the emergency assistance button so hopefully that one is actually helpful. But I would say 97% of the time we've called OnStar for directions, and we've used it fairly often just because it was free, we've gotten (a) NO service or (b) HORRIBLE service.

First you call and are put on hold because "all representatives are busy." Then when you finally get a hold of someone, they have no idea where your vehicle is and so you have to through the rigamarole of describing your location and city of destination.  Then you have to wait while they "try to locate" your destination.  This is often where the crap hits the fan.  More often than not, they cannot locate your destination.  They ask: "Is that Mall new?" Um no. It's only been there since I moved here 10 years ago.  Or "Do you know of any landmarks close to that destination?" Um NO. If I did, I wouldn't need to call you now, would I? Or my favorite: "Please hold while I try to search an alternate database." Um, why isn't the "alternate" database a part of the main database? Meanwhile you are either driving around in circles trying to buy time, or you're pulled over on the side of the road waiting for your directions.

Once, I kid you not, we asked for directions to a Costco in Maryland.  Based on the directions they beamed to our car, we ended up on a residential street in the District of Columbia. Yes, you read right. An entirely different STATE (or district, as it were). We were so angry we yelled at the supervisor who gave another 3 months for free. Gee, thanks.  Another time they asked us to GET OUT OF THE CAR, look for the nearest street sign and tell them what the name was because they couldn't locate our vehicle. Sigh. Isn't that your one and only purpose? Global Positioning? Meaning that YOU FIND MY POSITION ON THE GLOBE?

Anyway, my 1-year free trial ended last month and best believe we didn't renew. I wouldn't pay 2 cents for that service. We got a Garmin instead and it's beautiful.

Here's a tip OnStar: Just have your reps log on to Google Maps and call it a day. That's what everyone else does. Oh, and it's free.

An original DC Metro Moms Blog post.  When not driving to random locations just so she can use her Garmin, Justice Fergie can be found blogging at MamaLaw.

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