BBB Sluts For GM

The BBB is GM’s bitch, at least that’s what we gather from a post by David Berlind, Executive Editor at ZDNet.

The paint was chipping off David Berlind’s Pontiac Vibe at an alarming rate. The dealer refused to cover it so David took GM to BBB court. A series of monkeyshanks ensued, the most egregious being:

…After the hearing is over, each party (us, and GM) is allowed to send to the BBB a final statement and rebuttal. So as to guarantee impartiality, neither party can see the other party’s final statement/rebuttal until both have been submitted…when GM’s final statement came in, it included specific references to our rebuttal…. references that could not have been made unless they saw our rebuttal before submitting their own.

David says he found many other Pontiac Vibe owners on the net experiencing the same problem: paint chipping too fast, dealer denies culpability, GM taken to BBB court, BBB bends over like a tranny pre-op saving up for surgery.

Guess that’s what happens when you’re funded by the companies you’re supposed to regulate. — BEN POPKEN

GM: ‘Stand by. We’re about to spam you.’ [Berlind’s Testbed] (Thanks to KT!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. crankymediaguy says:

    “BBB bends over like a tranny pre-op saving up for surgery.”

    That’s really uncalled-for, Ben. I have had a few pre-operative transsexual friends and there were not hookers. Being transgendered is a difficult thing to deal with and bigoted stereotyping being added to it doesn’t make it easier.

  2. crankymediaguy says:

    I should have said “THEY were not hookers.” My bad.

  3. KesCaesar says:

    I have to agree w/ crankymediaguy. Ben, this site is usually sensitive to gay/transexual issues, (remember the landscaper story?), so this is a little bit of a shock.

  4. CRSpartan01 says:

    And people wonder why Toyota is killing Detroit…

  5. mojohealy says:

    I third that emotion. The post was good, the joke was stupid. Now it’s a stupid post.

  6. Scazza says:

    Although I agree mostly with what you guys are saying. He was just making a joke that I doubt was meant to offend anyone. He was just trying to put a picture in our mind of how bad the BBB really is.

    As for the story, I don’t know how it is in the states, but do you guys have an Ombudsman? Its mostly for corporations and what have you, but they might be able to help you on this, as they usually have some authority… try to contact them if the US has one.

  7. Skeptic says:

    BBB bends over like a tranny pre-op saving up for surgery.

    This is really inappropriate and offensive. It is a shame that you chose to mar a good topic about GM and the BB with this bit of homophobic tripe.

  8. NeilMcD says:

    Regardless of the zinger, I can agree with this. I complained about my local saturn dealership after they failed to fix a major component on my A/C system (instead just recharged it during the warranty period) then when it conked out again, tried to charge me $1200.

    BBB did the same thing: they just rolled over and said, “sorry, we can’t do anything.”

  9. Antediluvian says:

    And to continue the pro-trans* folk sentiment, while I generally don’t think Ben & Co are homo- or trans- phobic, I think sometimes their statements intended to be lighthearted and fun are in fact rather nasty.

    This was one of them. Way over the top, highly offensive, and just completely inappropriate.

  10. kimdog says:

    BBB bends over like a tranny pre-op saving up for surgery.

    Sigh. Not cool. Again. I really want to like you guys… really. I love the mission of The Consumerist and I’ve promoted you on sites like Metafilter. But holy shit… you really don’t understand the difference between snarkiness/edginess and offensive lowest-common-denominator jabs. Way to alienate your readers.

  11. junkmail says:

    Sorry folks, I think the raised hackles are unnecessary. It was a joke.

  12. natureboy says:

    I have noticed a pervasive use of comments by the authors of this blog regarding sexual minorities, whether they be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Whether or not the comments are meant to be a joke or to insult is beside the point. They certainly aren’t appreciated.

    Can’t you make your point without belittling an entire group of people in the process?

  13. BotchedJoke says:

    Oh my god, will you people just lighten up? I mean don’t you have “global warming”, evil US military, and George Bush to complain about? It was a joke!

  14. Steve_Holt says:

    I was offended by this joke as well. I think it was in poor taste and agree that it took a lot away from an otherwise good post. Anything that takes away from the impact of the post (grievance, retribution, etc) probably doesn’t really belong anyway.

    However, I’m happy to see Ben using more metaphors in his writing! I guess it’s easy to draw from what your familiar with? Now, if he could just clean them up a bit…

  15. Falconfire says:

    Jesus Chrsit I agree, you know it would be lovely if people stood up for me with the number of offensive Polish jokes I get slammed with day in day out for my entire life.

    But no Polish jokes are worthy of Tonight Show skits, Trans-gender jokes are not.

    give me a fucking break and lighten up.

  16. Her Grace says:

    It may have been intended with only humour and light-heartedness, but it was really awful and unnecessary.

    It also doesn’t surprise me that GM are bitches. Yet another reason not to buy their cars.

  17. crankymediaguy says:

    “Although I agree mostly with what you guys are saying. He was just making a joke that I doubt was meant to offend anyone. He was just trying to put a picture in our mind of how bad the BBB really is.”

    Right. He could have said that the BBB was as cheap as a Jew or as felonious as a Negro or as lazy as a Mexican. THOSE aren’t offensive, right?

  18. krunk4ever says:

    BBB has always been known as a weak consumer protector. They can handle many simple problems, but no one really gives a crap of what they do and what they say. However, do file a complaint there as it’s proof that you’ve tried to come to a resolution.

    What you should do is file a complaint at the State Attorney General in the state their HQ are located. If enough people file complaints with the SAG, they’ll fight for you to get what you deserved.

  19. “Right. He could have said that the BBB was as cheap as a Jew or as felonious as a Negro or as lazy as a Mexican. THOSE aren’t offensive, right?”

    I always laugh my ass off at these over the top offensive jokes. Even more so when all of a sudden, everybody gets offended and says

    “could you please tone it down a little? my pussy hurts”

    Are there any pre or post operative tranny’s on here that were actually offended? Or is this just a crusade from the protective order of the politically correct?

    Is this one of those moments when the term eat a bag of dick works??

    Whooo boy… I wonder if I should click on submit comment. By the by, I may be poking fun here but I really dont feel that anyone here is literally a pussy. I am glad for the diverse amount of opinions here on the consumerist. It makes for some spicy reading in between the snarky comments.

    So as I read, if the BBB cant help you, look for an ombudsman and/or the State Attorney General? Where DOES the BBB get its funding from anyway? A quick glance in the ‘cyclopedia and their website turns up no results.

  20. Scazza says:

    17 Comments and only mine actually had ANYTHING pertaining to the damn BBB and GM…. Seriously, GET OVER IT ALREADY. What needs to be said has been said. Agree with it or not, back on topic guys…

  21. SexCpotatoes says:

    hahhahahah, dude, ben, maybe you could turn the website into a tranny dating service.

    I, for one, believe that just like George Carlin said, “You can joke about anything. Rape? What, rape isn’t funny? Imagine Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd, that’s why they call him Porky! Elmer was asking for it, wearing that dress too tight…”

  22. crankymediaguy says:

    Holden Caulfield said:

    “Are there any pre or post operative tranny’s on here that were actually offended? Or is this just a crusade from the protective order of the politically correct?”

    So, one can only be offended by something if they are a member of the insulted group? Fascinating.

  23. viriiman says:

    crankymediaguy: The only exception I can think of is if you know somebody personally in the affected group. Otherwise, yes. One can only be offended by something if they are a member of the insulted group.

  24. homerjay says:

    I think Ben should refund all of our membership fees for that one. In fact, he should double what we paid.

  25. KesCaesar says:

    I completely disagree. I know crassness when I see it, and though I’m sure Ben didn’t mean to offend, this statement was not well-planned. To be offended by a statement aimed at a certain group, even one their are not a member of, one only needs *empathy*. And that, my friend, you either have or you don’t.

  26. MeOhMy says:

    “However, I’m happy to see Ben using more metaphors in his writing!”

    Aaaaactually, that was a simile.

    The BBB has zero credibility. Do they do ANYTHING?

  27. KevinQ says:

    BBB Court? Why there? “BBB Court” is simply non-binding mediation. If you can’t get your satisfaction there, then go to real court. It sounds like there’s some real issues there.


    /Also found the transsexual comment offensive and unnecessary.

  28. troublz says:

    Wow..sounds like there needs to be a separate comments section just to critique what was written instead of the actual topic. Let’s try and get back to the actual topic:

    If he’s finding many other Vibe owners having the same issue, it sounds like he should start contacting the big law firms specializing in class-action lawsuits.

    I had a similar problem with my 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder — during the first 12 months, I had 4 flat tires due to the rim on the wheels bending. The dealership refused to do anything saying it was the way I was driving, I’m probably hitting too many potholes and curbs. While I do occasionally like to drive completely on the sidewalk for shits and giggles, I didn’t buy this one bit. But it was costing me $400-$500 everytime this happened to get a new wheel. In any event, went online, found a Mitsubishi forum and sure enough other people with the same problem. One day an attorney posted on the forum to e-mail him if they were experiencing this issue. I e-mailed him and provided him with photos. He officially started a class-action lawsuit and finally (2 years later!) the suit went to court and we won. I was reimbursed (as long as I provided a receipt) for each and every wheel I had to purchase.

    I’m by no means a fan of frivolous lawsuits, but things like this are sometimes the only way for consumers to be protected. If the class-action never gets off the ground, I’d recommend small claims court next. My advice: KEEP EXCELLENT DOCUMENTATION!

  29. Kornkob says:

    I’ll second that– screw the BBB at this point and go to state enforcement. Then consider a lawyer. (IANAL)

    Yeah– pre-op tranny jokes. Also think that was tasteless.

  30. I think its funny. The world is a big mean place, and if you folks ever want to feel like you can ever survive it alone you’d better get a sense of humor.

  31. scoobydoo says:

    By saving themselves a $100 paint job, they probably created a million or more in bad PR. It’s amazing how far a company will go to prevent having to do the right thing.

    Very sad to hear about the BBB being corrupt, they should be the one organization you have to be able to depend on.

  32. KesCaesar says:

    I’m no hippie, but if “The world is a big mean place, and […we’d] better get a sense of humor.”
    Or… we could try to make it a *better* place. Just a thought.

  33. Pelagius says:

    NOT OK: “bends over like a tranny pre-op saving up for surgery”

    OK: “bends over like an right-wing evangelist on crystal meth”

    And thanks for the Vibe post – I was considering buying one, and had just gotten over the fact it was named after a sex toy, so needed further dissuasion.

  34. latemodel says:

    More OK “bends over like a homophobic right-wing evangelist on crystal meth” Yeah, that makes it “better”.
    BTW, the BBB is funded by the membership fees from businesses. Membership fees are based on factors relating to size and type of business. I was a member for a few years until I had someone complain and I found out that they really dont do ANYTHING.

  35. junkmail says:

    As a strictly homophobic right-wing evangelist who occasionaly imbibes in recreational pharmaceuticals, I am thoroughly offended and will be speaking to my lawyer immediately.

  36. stubar says:

    As a gay man who runs in many of the same circles as transgendered individuals, and know a few personally, I feel perfectly justified in being offended by what was inarguably a crass, somewhat ignorant comment. And to late model: I do think you actually make an excellent point. Hypocrisies (homophobic meth-using, man-loving evangelists for example) deserve to be pointed and derided, valid life choices do not. Take down the comment – until then, people will keep complaining (and rightfully so).

  37. homerjay says:

    I thought TG was NOT a life choice, just like homosexuality isn’t a life choice. Can you clarify Stubar?

  38. stubar says:

    The misunderstanding is my fault – apologies. To clarify, I was referring to the actual surgery as a life choice, not being transgendered. My B

  39. pestie says:

    When I read all these “OMG I was offended!!” posts, all I hear in my head is chicken noises. “Baaaahk-buk-buk-buk-buh-KAAAHK!” Lighten up, people. You don’t hear me squawking when Ben makes jokes about fat white guys.

  40. thatabbygirl says:

    Just wanted to add another voice to the offended-by-that-“joke” chorus. Nothing of substance to add to the BBB discussion. Think discussion of who is allowed to be offended by what may be outside the bounds of the consumerist.

  41. LRM216 says:

    Please – enough! I too have a damn Vibe, 5,000 miles on it so far (purchased new) and I have paint chips all over the car! How does one go about getting a class action started against GM, or is it not possible. So may Vibe complaints regarding the same thing, surely something should be able to be done about it. Anyone??????

  42. latemodel says:

    Check into the lemon laws in your state. Other than that someone will have to find a lawyer, or firm, willing to take on GM in a class action suit. The lawyers will spend hundreds of hours fighting GMs fleet of lawyers and in the end the car owners will be compensated for the decreased value of their cars, which will be three years older, and the the compensation may just be a discount on a new GM car,ala the exploding gas tank truck settlement.

  43. kcs says:

    Geesh. All of you who are offended by the comment must think Lisa Campanelli is the devil.

  44. KesCaesar says:

    She’s a comedianne. Not a cosumer rights/issues blog.

  45. kcs says:

    Oops, I meant Lampanelli. So such jokes are not offensive if told by a comedian, but are if made by a blogger who, while tackling serious consumer issues, attempts to entertain us with his snark and off colored humor.

    Thank’s for the clarification.

  46. crankymediaguy says:

    viriiman said:

    “crankymediaguy: The only exception I can think of is if you know somebody personally in the affected group. Otherwise, yes. One can only be offended by something if they are a member of the insulted group.”

    Um, I disagree. As someone mentioned above, there is such a thing as “empathy.” Besides, as I said, I DO know some pre-operative transsexuals.

    The bottom line here is that Ben could have made the same point, even WITH snark, without being rude and disrespectful to a group of people who already have enough shit to deal with in life.

  47. Ben Popken says:

    Lina writes:

    “I would just like to add my voice to the people who were offended by your unnecessary bit of transphobia in this article past article. As a regular reader of your site, and yet one who lives largely outside the privileged ring of gawker media commenters, I lack any method of airing this umbrage publicly, but in light of the commenters who seemed to be universally non-trans, I felt like perhaps hearing a transwoman express her offense at this style of humor might have slightly more impact. As a transwoman, I must say I found the joke to be an totally bigoted regurgitation of negative stereotypes of a group of people utterly unrelated to the topic at hand.

    Not all transwomen are prostitutes, and many of those women who do engage in sex work do so because the American economic system disparages our identity and allows for the big players like health insurance companies and corporate human resource departments to roll over us because we lack any political sway. Our medical expenses go uncovered, our jobs and safety are put at risk if our trans identity is found out, and yes, this forces many women into sex work. Is it something that a consumerist blog should be making fun of? I don’t think so. I’ve expected a lot more out of this blog since its inception, and I feel that this is a situation, like your attempt at paralleling “Blue States Lose” in which the proper thing for you to do would be to redact the unnecessarily offensive comment, and apologize for a thoughtless bit of color commentary that has done nothing but offend a large portion of your audience unnecessarily.

    Don’t turn into Kotaku. Y’all are better than that.


    J. Lina Corvus”

  48. Well there goes my whole argument. Way to shoot it down in one fell swoop there Lina. I guess I will have to go with the majority here and learn the lesson that if it is socially unacceptable to the majority then it would not be polite for me or any others to harp on that point. Sorry guys.

  49. Anonymously says:

    From now on you should only make fun of hippies, cam whores, and emo kids.