GM Facing More Lawsuits Over Driver-Behavior Data Sharing

Plaintiffs in class action lawsuits say their data was provided without their consent to insurance companies, leading to rate hikes.


General Motors has been named in more class action lawsuits over claims that it and OnStar collected driver data without consent and shared or sold it to LexisNexis Risk Solutions and Verisk Analytics -- both named as defendants in the lawsuits as well -- which in turn shared it with drivers’ insurance companies, leading to a hike in the drivers’ auto insurance premiums.

In June, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated seven lawsuits filed in California, Florida, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania in Georgia federal court, ruling that was the appropriate location because LexisNexis' headquarters are located in Georgia. Another 13 cases were transferred to the state.

LexisNexis and Verisk are charged with violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act, while all four defendants are charged with violating various state consumer protection laws and counts of tortious interference with contracts, invasion of privacy and unjust enrichment.

Since model year 2015, GM vehicles have been equipped to use OnStar and related branded apps, including MyChevrolet, MyBuick and MyCadillac. The software and apps gather driver behavior data, including average speed, percentage of time driving at speeds over 80 mph, frequency and intensity of acceleration and braking, and late-night driving.

In addition, the apps also collect and transmit vehicle condition data, like engine or transmission status. GM says both are provided to the vehicle owner to “help them maximize their vehicle’s overall performance, reduce vehicle wear and tear and encourage safer driving,” one lawsuit said.

“These features are misleadingly marketed as a user experience enhancement when, in actuality, the features are used by GM and OnStar to surreptitiously document and store driver-behavior metrics which are then sold for profit to third parties without the drivers’ knowledge, notice or consent,” one lawsuit said.

GM Drivers Hit With Premium Increases

Two of the suits were filed in federal court in Georgia, the first by two plaintiffs, Barbara Figlio and Morris D. Gordin, and the second by Brian LaFalce.

Figlio, of New Jersey, said she and her husband bought a Chevrolet Bolt in September 2022 and enrolled in the OnStar Guardian program. Gordin, also of New Jersey, bought a Chevrolet Bolt EUV in December 2022 and enrolled in the OnStar Safe Driver plan. Both discovered their driver data appeared on their LexisNexis report.

LaFalce, of Michigan, drives a 2023 Chevrolet Equinox. He downloaded the MyChevrolet app, but was not informed doing so meant OnStar would provide driving data to LexisNexis or Verisk. He was also not given the option to opt out of data collecting.

LaFalce said the insurance premium on his Equinox jumped 10% in 2024. When he asked for a copy of his consumer file from LexisNexis, he found 331 reports on acceleration, high speed and hard brake events, as well as when and how far he was driving. He also requested his Verisk file, which had another 100 recorded reports.

In March, GM and OnStar admitted to the data collecting practice, and said as of March 20, customer data is no longer being shared with LexisNexis or Verisk.

Impact of GM's Alleged Violations

Scott Hardy, founder and CEO of Top Class Actions, which reports on class action lawsuits, commented on the alleged violations committed by GM.

“Consumers have a right to privacy and the right to expect that their personal and driving data will be protected and used only for intended purposes,” Hardy said. “If the allegations are true, then any unauthorized sharing of driver data by GM with insurance companies could be a significant violation of their rights.”

GM also has a responsibility to be transparent with customers about how their data is collected, used and shared. “The lack of clear communication and consent regarding data sharing with third parties, especially insurers, could be seen as a breach of trust between GM and its customers,” Hardy said.

Further, consumers have a right to be concerned about how their data might be used by insurers. “Information shared by companies with insurers could lead to discriminatory practices, such as unfairly increased insurance premiums or denied coverage based on driving habits that insurers deem risky,” Hardy said.

“Regardless of the case's outcome, a thorough investigation into whether GM's actions comply with data protection laws and regulations would benefit consumers,” he added. “If GM is found to have violated these laws, they should be held accountable and possibly face penalties to deter similar behavior in the future. That’s why class action lawsuits can be so powerful.”

Abby Andrews

Abby Andrews is the editor and regular columnist of Autobody News.

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