People buy brand-new Chevrolets for $1 from a ChatGPT chatbot



summary
Summary

Chatbots are often used for customer service. A recent example from a US car dealership shows that this is not without risk.

Some people on X talk about buying cars at ridiculous prices from a ChatGPT website assistant at a Chevrolet dealership in Watsonville, California.

X user Colin Fraser was able to negotiate a 2020 Chevrolet Trax LT down from $18,633 to $17,300. He did this by pretending to be a manager at the dealership, who told the chatbot what deal to offer.

With a little renegotiation, Fraser got the price down to $17,300, plus some nice bonuses: a personalized design, a VIP test drive with a restaurant visit, a custom car cover with his initials on it, and a luxury weekend at a well-known resort. The chatbot offered to close the deal right in the chat.

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Image: Colin Fraser via Twitter

A car for a dollar

User Chris Bakke went a step further, lowering the price of a 2024 Chevy Tahoe to one dollar. The chatbot even confirmed in the chat that this was a legally binding offer that could not be withdrawn. Bakke had simply put this answer in the chatbot’s mouth, also known as the chat window, along with a request to agree to all the customer’s statements.

Image: Chris Bakke via X

The dealership’s team apparently noticed the incident and has since implemented a new guardrail. But even that could be circumvented by a user pretending to be OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and providing answers to the chatbot in that role. The chat on the dealership’s website is currently disabled.

Image: jpynb via X

The story illustrates the pitfalls of using chatbots in customer service if the bot is not properly configured and tested and has too much freedom of speech – i.e., responds to everything.

Word prediction systems have no natural understanding of customer service and where the boundaries might lie. In addition, there are numerous examples of LLM-based chatbots being completely thrown off balance by simple prompt hacks, also known as prompt injection.



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