GM coupons can be sold, judge rules

Company to appeal pickup rebate verdict

April 28, 2001|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

A Louisiana court ruled yesterday that millions of pickup owners who received $1,000 rebate certificates from General Motors Corp. to settle a class action suit can sell them to a third party.

State District Judge Jack Marionneaux said selling their coupons was probably the only way that most of the 5.8 million owners of the involved GM pickups would reap any benefit from the settlement of the 1996 lawsuit.

GM filed papers with the court last week seeking to bar participants in the lawsuit from selling their certificates to Houston-based Certificate Redemption Group (CRG) for $100.

GM spokesman, Jay Cooney, said the automaker would immediately appeal the judge's decision.

CRG was formed five years ago exclusively to buy and resell the GM coupons. James R. Dawley, chief executive of CRG, said the company plan was to resell the certificates for $150 to $200 each to big volume purchasers such a vehicle leasing companies or fleet operators. The buyers could then use the coupons to get a discount of $250 on each new GM vehicle purchased.

"There are a lot of people who don't want to buy another GM vehicle, or maybe they can't afford to buy another vehicle," Dawley said. "If that's the case, they would get nothing from GM. We're giving them $100.

The class action lawsuit pertained to C and K series trucks manufactured between 1973 and 1991 with so-called "side-saddle" gasoline tanks that were mounted outside the truck's frame. Plaintiffs contended that the tank could explode if the vehicle was struck on the side. Dawley said his company has already received more than 100,000 telephone inquiries from GM truck owners interested in selling their certificates.

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