Friday

On Veteran's Day, a Reminder to Thank a Vet You Know

Every Veterans Day we pause to remember those who served and to reflect on the meaning of this day by republishing an article we wrote several years ago, a thankful tribute to all the veterans who have served over the generations. The true story below is that of a farmer's son and a war that was only just beginning 50 years ago and which now is little more than a page or two in a history book. Like every war, it was life and death everyday, half a world away from the evening news.

Some years ago, a local farmer asked me for some help. Bills and crop prices and debt had him over a barrel and we talked about bankruptcy and what it could do to help relieve his situation. He was a big strong man, the way some farmers just naturally are. We were about the same age but he looked so much older.

His situation took about 5 months to get resolved but what I will never forget is the day that I learned that he was a chopper pilot in Vietnam at about the same time as my older brother, Larry, was there. I never would have guessed it.

We were talking about his bankruptcy being over with when he just stopped talking, his voice trailing off while he looked out the window. After a minute he quietly began to talk about what it was like years before, back in Vietnam. It was hard for me to look at this older and much heavier man and try to imagine what he must have looked like back in the days of 1966-'68. Now, he was mostly bald and probably weighed a lot more than he did back then, but like me he had been young once too. Now, he didn't move as quick as he undoubtedly did back in 'Nam either.

But you could tell from the distance in his eyes as he spoke, that he had never really left it all behind him.

He talked about what it was like to fly a chopper in and out of valleys and hills and fire, dropping down as quickly as he could and picking up a wounded soldier or two and getting back out of there, wherever "there" was, as fast as he could. Nothing but God between him and flying bullets.

He said he loved flying helicopters, but he was never in his life as scared as he was in those few minutes between the time just before he would land and when he was back out of the worst of the fire. He said they were the longest minutes of his life. He called it "dodging a lifetime of bullets," scared to death that one of them had his name on it.

He had a dusty old baseball cap in his hand as we talked. It hung loosely in his hand as he gazed aimlessly out the window. It was from some team that didn't really matter at the moment. His eyes were never in the room as he calmly and matter of factly talked of how men died around him and also of those who came back like him.

You could tell he had memories he wished he didn't have. He said the worst feeling he had from the whole war was that every time he'd lift off the ground he knew that while he was getting out of there, he was leaving other boys behind. He'd fly away, he said, his heart pounding loud in his chest, while the fighting went on below him.

After a long while, he stopped talking and we just sat there, not talking at all. I could see that things were going on inside his mind and I just didn't know what to say. I was dumbstruck by this now-gentle giant of a man who had been through hell. Truth be told, I didn't think I had a right to say anything at all. After what seemed like the longest time, both of us returned to the present moment. He never spoke about it again. I never asked.

It's been years now. I don't even remember his name. Probably most of the guys he saved didn't remember it either. I haven't thought of him since then until my older brother sent me a recording he found on the internet, called God's Own Lunatics (click below) that explained what it was like to be one of those foot soldiers on the ground. I clicked on it, listened, and the memory all came back to me.

I recall that he was the son of a local farmer who had gone off to war and came back all grown up - to be his father's son, a farmer again.

We have had several wars since then, and thousands of more American boys and girls have gone out off and most have come back. Some didn't come back at all. Many who did, were changed.

We owe veterans a whole lot more than we will ever be able to repay. If you know someone who served, shake their hand today and thank them. And remember on this Veterans Day that there are lots of vets that aren't around for you to thank, so say thanks to those who still are. Thanks, Dad. And thank you, Larry. Two of the bravest men I have known in my lifetime. And thanks to my Uncle Don and David and all the others too. Veterans.

Thursday

A Farmer's Son, Those He Helped in Wartime, Those Who Never Came Back. Remember the Day

Every Memorial Day we pause to remember and thank those who gave their all so that all of us could have the life we have in this country. We also pause to remember those who served and to reflect on the meaning of this Memorial day by republishing an article we wrote several years ago, to give tribute to the veterans in all of our families - and all the veterans who have served over the generations. We pause to reflect on the millions of veterans who passed before and who inspire those who will come after them. The true story below is that of a farmer's son and a war that was only just beginning nearly 40 years ago and which now is little more than a few pages in a history book. Like every war, it was life and death everyday, half a world away from the evening news.

A few years ago, a local farmer came in to see me for some help. Bills and crop prices and debt had him over a barrel and we talked about bankruptcy and what it could and couldn’t do to help relieve his situation. He was a big strong man, the way some farmers just naturally are, both in his heart and his size. We were about the same age but he looked so much older.

His situation took about 5 months to get resolved but I will never forget the day that I learned that he was a chopper pilot in Vietnam at about the same time as my older brother, Larry, was there. I had no clue and never would have guessed.

We both stopped what we were talking about, his own current problem, while he looked out the window and quietly talked about what it was like then, back in Vietnam. It was hard for me to look at this older and much heavier man and try to imagine what he must have looked like back in the days of 1966-'68. Now, he was mostly bald and probably weighed a lot more than he did back then, but like me he had been young once too. Now, he didn't move as quick as he undoubtedly did back in 'Nam either.

But you could tell from the distance in his eyes as he spoke that he had never really left it all behind him.

He talked about what it was like to fly a chopper in and out of valleys and hills and fire, dropping down as quickly as he could and picking up a wounded soldier or two and getting back out of there, wherever "there" was, as fast as he could. Nothing but plexiglass between him and flying bullets.

He said he loved flying helicopters then, but that he was never in his life as scared as he was in those few minutes between the time just before he would land and when he was back out of the worst of the fire. He said they were the longest minutes of his life. He called it "dodging a lifetime of bullets," scared to death that one of them had his name on it.

He had a dusty old baseball cap in his hand as we talked. It hung loosely in his hand as he gazed aimlessly out the window. It was from some team that didn't really matter at the moment. His eyes were never in the room as he calmly and matter-of-factly talked of how men died around him and also of those who came back like him.

You could tell he had memories he wished he didn't have. He said the worst feeling he had from the whole war was that every time he'd lift off the ground he knew that while he was getting out of there, he was leaving other boys behind. He'd fly away, his heart pounding loud in his chest, while the fighting went on below him.

After a long while, he stopped talking and we just sat there, not talking at all. I could see that things were going on inside his mind and I just didn't know what to say. I was dumbstruck by this seemingly now-gentle giant of a man who had been through hell. Truth be told, I didn't think I had a right to say anything at all. After what seemed like the longest time, both of us returned to the present moment. He never spoke about it again. I never asked.

It's been years now. I don't even remember his name. Probably most of the guys he saved didn't remember it either. I haven't thought of him since then until my older brother sent me a recording he found on the internet, called God's Own Lunatics (click below) that explained what it was like to be one of those foot soldiers on the ground. I clicked on it, listened, and the memory all came back to me.

I recall that he was the son of a local farmer who had gone off to war and came back all grown up - to be his father's son, a farmer again. Something about beating your swords into plows seems appropriate for me to end this note but it also seems so trivial a thing to say. I can still recall his face.

We all owe veterans a whole lot more than any of us will ever be able to repay. If you know someone who served, shake their hand and thank them. You don't need to say why. They'll know. And remember on this Veterans Day that there are lots of vets that aren't around for you to thank, so say thanks to those who still are. Thanks, Dad. And thank you, Larry. Two of the bravest men I have known in my lifetime. And thanks to my Uncle Don too. Veterans.

An Old Harvest of Hate, Being Reaped Again

Okay, we only talk about consumer protection issues here, but this weekend we received a 50+year old magazine and while reading through it, came across an editorial by Ralph Emerson McGill, a journalist from a time long gone by, discussing the state of American society in the year before a Presidential election long ago, which has echoes of right now.

One thing we noticed about politics and politicians is that everyone has an opinion and everyone's opinion often includes the opinion that everyone else is wrong. Perhaps it's time we reconsidered. Here's a few quotes that are worth a good, hard read.

"Extremists have ... directly and indirectly encouraged violence and defiance of Federal authority.  The list of these [people] includes politicians, evangelists, spokesmen for organizations dedicated to defying ..... The more shrewd among the peddlers of hate against their country have been careful to avoid open and direct incitement of violence. But their words and other abuse ... have inspired many whose disturbed minds tend easily toward recklessness and criminal action.

"We have grown used to seeing, on television and in news and magazine pictures, the hate-twisted faces of young men and women, and their adult counterparts, crying out the most violent threats and express venom against their country, its courts and its authority. We have seen the frightening faces of screaming, cursing mothers ..... The lives of those persons who sought to stand for law have been disturbed by threats and abuse, by filth shouted over the phone, by prowlers and, now and then, by a shot .....

"The extreme right and left in this country have so well revealed their minds to us in their literature, public utterances, in floods of mail, mostly anonymous, filled with outrageous charges against, and lies ... that we have no excuse not to understand what they plan and how they operate. In some instances men of great wealth, all made in the nation they wish to change more nearly to their own dream of at least semitotalitarian power, reportedly help finance some of the more extreme organizations, left and right. There were businessmen who, in a time when profits were at an all-time high and the domestic economy booming, nonetheless could speak only in hatred.....

"We must now understand that hate, if unchecked by morality, decency, and the determination of civilized men and women, may so weaken us that we will be vulnerable to our enemies.

"This hatred could focus on almost anything." And now it has come to focus again on us, in these times.

McGill's editorial, published in the Saturday Evening Post on December 14, 1963, was speaking of the rabid extremist views that saturated both the North and South in the 1960's and encouraged a young man to murder President Kennedy in Dallas the month before.

There is an old saying that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. If we as a society fail to rein in the hate-mongers among us, both left and right, if we fail to bring tolerance and civility back to our daily lives, if we continue to accept political gridlock as the best our elected representatives can accomplish, and if fail to return to having respect for each other in the midst of disagreement, well then this harvest of hate will only become more bitter, intense, and destructive.

So much of the Post's editorial could have been written just yesterday. So much of it may be written again tomorrow.

What are the Most Common Types of Consumer Complaints in Ohio?

Each year Ohio Attorney General DeWine adds up all the complaints they have gotten from consumers in the last year and sees which area has the most.

As usual, it's car sales that is in the Number One spot again.

The 2015 top complaint categories were:
  1. Motor vehicles
  2. Professional services
  3. Collections, credit reporting, or financial services 
  4. Shopping, food, or beverages 
  5. Utilities, phone, Internet, or TV 
  6. Home or property improvement
  7. Identity theft 
  8. Potential scams or other (such as sweepstakes, do-not-call issues, or grant offers) 
"Nearly a quarter of all complaints involved motor vehicles. The most common motor-vehicle complaint related to used vehicle sales. Other top motor-vehicle complaints involved vehicle repairs and new vehicle sales" DeWine's office reported.

Car sales fraud continues to dominate consumer complaints and in the past year we've seen some wild ones. Money really does make a car dealer go blind.

Like the Cleveland car sales operation that concentrates on internet sales of high priced and often wrecked and badly repaired vehicles. We've seen internet car sales fraud involving vehicles under $20,000 all the way up to over $100,000 that are bought by people who see online advertisements and after some phone calls and emails trusting consumers get ripped off more often than ever.


And then there's the Dayton-area operation that deals with its customers by packing high-profit "soft add on products" such as window etching they
call theft deterrent that is worse than useless and a so-called concierge service that amounts to a high priced "call us and we'll answer your questions if we can" scam --- and the customer often doesn't even realize what is happening to them at the time because of the 5 finger close the dealer uses to hide the numbers from the buyer's view.

Or the Rv dealer in the Columbus-area who charges what amounts to a $2,000 "delivery" charge for each motorhome sale.

Perhaps the worst rip off we've seen this year was the Cincinnati area Rv dealer who charged $2,500 for prepping the inside of their Rv's with a germ killing spray-down that was just as effective as a $2 bottle of Lysol.

Before you buy, check out the merchant at your local Better Business Bureau, do an internet search for complaints against the company, or you can even check the Ohio Attorney General's office for complaints against them too.

Buy local from car dealers you know and trust. And if you are not sure, then be extra careful. Read everything. If something is not clear or not what you were told, then make the car dealer hand write on the printed documents what they promised you or what they said to you about the vehicle. Never agree to any arbitration document - cross it out big and bold - if the dealer wants your money bad enough (and he does) then he will not argue over it. If they argue with you, then ask yourself "what are they doing to me that they are afraid of me taking them to court for?"

And when all else fails, get a car sales fraud lawyer on your side. Oh yeah, that's what we do.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers, every day.

Friday

Rv Warranties and their Dirty Little Secret


When you buy a $30,000 new car and it turns out to be a lemon, you get your money back. Why doesn't it work that way with Rv's costing more than $100,000? Because most new rv warranties have a dirty little secret buried in the fine print. And it can cost you big time.

In fact, you would be better off with no written warranty from most Rv companies instead of the fancy but worthless written warranty you often get, buried in all that owner manual package of paperwork that you find in the rv after you drive it home.

Most of new factory rv warranties are now "repair only" warranties. That means the manufacturer only gives the buyer one promise - that they will fix what goes wrong if it is the factory's fault. That sounds okay at first, but what happens if they can't get it fixed right at all, in spite of weeks of trying on multiple repair trips back and forth to and from your dealer and maybe even other dealers? What then? Well, it gets worse.


What is "limited" is your legal rights.
Some of them, like many Thor rv warranties, now say that if they can't get it fixed then all you get is their promise to pay someone else to fix it. They even have a name for it; they call it their "back up" warranty.

Well if your Thor dealer can't fix the Thor rv, what makes you think that Bill and Bob's Rv Repair Shop in Podunk, Iowa, will be able to? 

Now, we aren't saying that Bill and Bob aren't good mechanics. Some independent rv repair shops are, frankly, even better than some rv dealer shops. But rv dealers have the advantage of direct lines to the factory help desk and can get attention and assistance that independent shops can only wish for. But if the factory can't get a problem fixed once and for all, and the factory dealer can't either, what makes you think that anyone else can?

So why do some rv manufacturers give you that "we'll pay someone else to fix it" promise? Simple. Because then if that other shop doesn't get it fixed, the factory can say "well we paid them to do it so now your fight is with them and not us." And you? Well, the big company sticks you in the wallet again.

The simple fact is that in most states if the factory did not give you any written warranty at all on that big, shiny new $100,000 + rv, your state law would probably give you an automatic 4 year warranty anyway. It's called an implied warranty of merchantability and fitness for use, and it would actually give you more legal rights and more protection than what the rv manufacturer wants you to have - and certainly more than many of them are now giving you. 
What the fine print taketh away?


So this is one instance where the fancy-looking factory warranty actually hurts you - you get less than you think even though it looks like you are getting more than you need.

Fancy rv warranties from rv companies that won't stand behind them, and the lawyers they hire to write nice sounding warranties that actually don't give you much at all - and all the while they are making tons of money from building bad rv's that they sell for big profit with little warranties. Warranties that have a dirty little secret hidden within. Warranties that don't give you rights but spend their time taking away the rights you already would have.

Before you buy your next rv, insist on getting and reading a copy of the factory warranty. And don't buy an rv that only gives you a "repair only" warranty promise. Yes, maybe that means you don't buy a Thor next time. Or a Winnebago. Or maybe some other brands too.

There are some rv manufacturers that actually care about quality control and their customers. And then there are the rest.


What do you really get for your money?
Tell the dealer you want an rv that the factory will stand behind and will put it in writing in their warranty. And if the factory won't do it, then how come the dealer won't either? 

Tell the dealer that you want them to write on the sales contract that if their brand new rv is in the repair shop for more than 30 days in the first year then the dealer will refund your money. If the dealer won't do that, then what does that tell you about the quality of what the rv dealer is trying to sell you? It ought to worry you enough to go somewhere else.

If enough people demand a fair rv warranty and fair treatment, the industry might finally change and give it to you. But if no one complains, well, that's how they dig into your wallet and how you can be wasting your money.

If you get a lemon rv, we're right here. Helping rv owners get their money back is what we do.

Burdge Law Office
Helping Rv owners get rid of lemon rv's since 1978.

Most reliable cars for 2016 - and the worst predictions from Consumer Reports Magazine

Each year Consumer Reports Magazine sends out thousands of questionnaires to car owners to survey defects and problems that owners are experiencing. Based on the latest survey results, Consumer Reports has predicted what cars will the most reliable in 2016 - and which ones will be the worst - in the December 2015 magazine issue.

The most reliable car? The Lexus NX. The fact that it is the Lexus brand is no surprise to us - we hardly ever get a lemon Lexus case.

The only American brand car to make the top 15 most reliable cars for 2016? The Buick Encore. We can't recall the last lemon Buick Encore case we had - the quality is that good.

And the least reliable car predicted for 2016? The Fiat 500L. And, yes, that is also what our clients seem to say too. For the price though, when you get a good one it may well be worth the money.

Most surprising result for most people? The Mercedes Benz GL Class ranks among the least reliable and the Cadillac SRX is even worse. Both of those "luxury" brands like to tout quality but the owner survey numbers show an experience among their owners that is anything but that.

Our lemon law experience is the same for the Mercedes and Cadillac cars too.

You can read the entire list and see how your car stacks up online at the Consumer Reports website or at your local news stand.

And if you get a lemon, call us. Getting rid of lemon cars is what we do.

Burdge Law Office
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons Since 1978

Wednesday

A Farmer's Son and a War Long Ago

Every Veterans Day we pause to thank those who served and to reflect on the meaning of this day by republishing a blog article written several years ago, to give tribute to the veterans in all of our families - and all the veterans who have served over the generations. We pause to note not our time but to honor the time of the millions of veterans who passed before and after us. The true story below is that of a farmer's son and a war that was only just beginning some fifty plus years ago and which now has passed from most memories, except for those who lived it. Like every war in the last 100 years, it was life and death everyday, half a world away from the evening news.

A few years ago, a local farmer came in to see me for some help. Farming bills and crop prices and debt had him over a barrel and we talked about bankruptcy and what it could and couldn’t do to help relieve his situation. He was a big strong man, the way some farmers just naturally are, both in his heart and his size. We were about the same age but he looked so much older.

His situation took about 5 months to get resolved but I will never forget the day that I learned that he was a chopper pilot in Vietnam about the same time as my older brother, Larry, was there. I had no clue and never would have guessed.

We both stopped what we were talking about, his own current problem, while he looked out the window and quietly talked about what it was like then, back in Vietnam. It was hard for me to look at this older and much heavier man and try to imagine what he must have looked like back in the days of 1966-'68. Now, he was mostly bald and probably weighed a lot more than he did back then, but like me he had been young once too. Now, he didn't move as quick as he undoubtedly did back in 'Nam either.

But you could tell from the distance in his eyes as he spoke that he had never really left it all behind him.

He talked about what it was like to fly a chopper in and out of valleys and hills and fire, dropping down as quickly as he could and picking up a wounded soldier or two and getting back out of there, wherever "there" was, as fast as he could. Nothing but plexiglass between him and the bullets.

He said he loved flying helicopters then, but that he was never in his life as scared as he was in those few minutes between the time just before he would land and when he was back out of the worst of the fire. He said they were the longest minutes of his life. He called it dodging a lifetime of bullets, scared to death that one of them had his name on it.

He had a dusty old baseball cap in his hand as we talked. It hung loosely in his hand as he gazed aimlessly out the window. It was from some team that didn't really matter, I'm sure. His eyes were never in the room with us as he calmly and matter-of-factly talked of how men died around him and also of those who came back like him.

You could tell he had memories he wished he didn't have. He said the worst feeling he had from the whole war was that every time he'd lift off the ground he knew that while he was getting out of there, he was leaving other boys behind. He'd fly away, his heart pounding loud in his chest, while the fighting went on below him.

After a long while, he stopped talking and we just sat there, not talking at all. I could see that things were going on inside his mind and I just didn't know what to say. I was dumbstruck by this seemingly now-gentle giant of a man who had been through hell. Truth be told, I didn't think I had a right to say anything at all. After what seemed like the longest time, both of us returned to the present moment. He never spoke about it again.

It's been years now. I don't even remember his name. Probably most of the guys he saved didn't remember it either. I haven't thought of him since then until my older brother sent me a recording he found on the internet, called God's Own Lunatics (click below) that explained what it was like to be one of those foot soldiers on the ground. I clicked on it, listened, and the memory all came back to me.

I recall that he was the son of a local farmer who had gone off to war and came back all grown up - to be his father's son, a farmer again. Something about beating your swords into plows seems appropriate for me to end on with this note but it also seems so trivial a thing to say. I can still recall his face. It has haunted me ever since. It was a look of resigned melancholy. Perhaps for a war that took away his youth and innocence. Perhaps the regretful haunting of his own for those boys he left behind so many times.

Being a veteran is hard because no matter what duty you had, things happen there that you never forget and which influence the way you live the rest of your life.

We all owe veterans a whole lot more than any of us will ever be able to repay. If you know someone who served, shake their hand and thank them. You don't need to say why. They'll know. And remember on this Veterans Day that there are lots of vets that aren't around for you to thank, so say thanks to those who still are. Thanks, Dad. And thank you, Larry. Two of the wisest bravest men I have known in my lifetime. Veterans.

Thursday

A Word to the Wise About Rv Warranties and Their Tricky Attempt to Cut Off Your Right to Go to Court



Don't let that expensive Rv rip off your rights

New Rv buyers fall in love with the appearance of the new RV long before they ever see the sales paperwork or the factory warranty. That can end it up costing you a lot more than you think.



So, what should you look out for?



First, the warranty limitations. Many new RV warranties now come with a shorter time limit to file any kind of warranty claim against the manufacturer. That can cost you big money.



If, like many RV's, your Rv goes into the Rv dealer repair shop too many times and that one year warranty goes by quickly, you could find yourself with an expired warranty and malfunctions and defects that continue to exist. And if you wait too long to file a claim after that warranty expires, you may be stuck on your own - and stuck with the repair bills too.



Some new RV warranties have a sentence buried away in them which says that you have to file in a claim under the warranty within as little as one month or three months from when the warranty expires - or your legal rights are gone. Think it doesn't matter? Thank you again.



No one likes to rush off to a lawsuit or lawyer, but if you let the manufacturer or dealer drag out your repairs, you could find things never getting fixed. If the dealer does not get your defects fixed in time or the repairs are done late in your warranty, then you may have no choice but to go to a lawyer for help. If you don't act fast, the factory may try to use that short time limit in the warranty to avoid paying for any repair at all after that.



The moral of the story is simple – get to a lawyer quickly and file your claim fast. Most lemon RV lawyers will review your case for free (we certainly do). And the federal lemon law gives you the right to recover your attorney fees if you have to file a claim.



But wait, there is another problem lurking in the sales paperwork your dealer used to sell you that nice, new RV that can also cost you more big bucks.



When buying a new RV you almost always will get a warranty from the manufacturer, but you seldom get a warranty from the selling dealer. Why not? After all, it is the dealer is who you give your money to.



If they want $50,000 for $100,000 or even more of your money, they should at least give you the promise that they will stand behind what they are selling. Almost all dealers use sales paperwork, however, that says they are selling that expensive new RV to you "as is." Is that fair?



Money Talks. So let it talk.
Think about it this way. The dealer may argue with you about changing their paperwork, but do you think if you stacked $50,000 in cold, hard cash on the salesman's desk, he just might agree to give you their own warranty to get their hands on the cash? You betcha! Well, that check you give them and that finance contract you sign - those are the same thing as a stack of cash to an Rv dealer.

You should insist on the dealer standing behind what they sell (put it in writing on the sales contract itself) or take your money elsewhere.



The moral of the story is easy – tell the dealer you want them to write on the sales contract that they are giving you their own 90 day warranty (or some other time limit). And then tell them that you will not sign the sales contract until they do that. Don't worry, because if they want your money bad enough they will do anything for it.



That extra warranty from the dealer will create extra legal rights for you that can give you powerful remedies if, Heaven forbid, your RV turns out to be a lemon.



No one wants a lemon RV and no one thinks that is what they are buying when they get their new RV. But there are lemons out there and just a little extra effort on your part can give you tremendous legal rights to do something about it if that is what you end up with. 

Why? Because it's better to be safe than sorry. Buying a new RV is subject to Murphy's Law. In other words, as sure as you take the time to protect yourself a little better, you won't have any problems at all. And as sure as you don't, you will end up wishing that you did.

Burdge Law Office
Helping Rv'ers Get Rid of Lemon Rv's

Wednesday

10 Tips of How to Buy a Car Without Getting Ripped Off

Ten tips that can save you a lot of money when you buy your next car.
One of the smartest folks I know just wrote a terrific article giving you ten tips on how to buy a car that should be required reading for anyone who is even thinking about it. 

Its published over at the NHS Consumer Law Center blog, where you can find out much more about consumer rights, scams, and how to protect yourself.

One Smart Car Buyer Gives You 10 Tips
In the article, Nadine Ballard explains what she just did in buying a car that kept her in control of the process and avoiding some of the major pitfalls and dangers that lurk in the sales staff and paperwork car dealers use.

She also shows you how just saying "NO" can save you time and money and preserve your legal rights - and how car dealers will change even their form contract paperwork just to make a sale to you if they have to.

Nadine's advice is highly recommended to everyone!  Don't leave home (to go car shopping) without it -

Burdge Law Office
Helping Consumers Protect Themselves, Everyday

Monday

National Watermelon Day for Lemon Car Owners

Today is National Watermelon Day - so if you've got a lemon car, we have your answer.
Goes Well With Lemonade too

1. Go to a restaurant or bar near you

2. Order a Watermelon Martini

3. If they know how to make it, drink it down and call us for your Free Lemon Law Help (it's what we do)

4. If they don't know how to make it, here's a YouTube (click here) so you can go home and make your own. Then drink it down and call us for your Free Lemon Law Help

5. Don't try to drive to our office; if you are at a bar and have had too many Watermelon Martini's - well, call a cab right after you call us or we can call one for you.

Remember, got a lemon motor vehicle? We can handle that. It's what we do.

Burdge Law Office
Getting rid of lemons for people, everyday. 

Friday

Does Chrysler Have to Buy Back Your Car or Truck?

Got a Lemon? Get Burdge on Your Side
Chrysler Death Wobble trucks to be repurchased.

After months of negotiations, Chrysler has agreed to accept a hefty fine for violating federal safety laws and buy back the trucks that thousands of consumers complained had an uncontrollable chassis wobble, nicknamed the "death wobble" by owners and investigator.

Under the recent agreement between Chrysler in the federal government safety recall agency, Chrysler also agreed to repurchase thousands of motor vehicles whose recall work had not been done properly or whose owners had not been notified properly.

If you have one of these Chrysler lemons, you need to know if Chrysler has to buy it back.

Is your vehicle affected?

278,229 vehicles were recalled because the axle may lock up and could cause an accident. The vehicles involved in this recall are the 2009 Chrysler Aspen, the 2009 Dodge Durango, 2009 through 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 trucks, and the 2009 through 2011 Dodge Dakota trucks.

Another 36,710 vehicles were recalled because of a factory defect that can cause the driver to lose steering power and control - and that can lead to a crash. The vehicles involved are the 2008 through 2012 Dodge Ram 4500 trucks, and the 2008 through 2012 Dodge Ram 5500 trucks.

Another 265,057 other vehicles were recalled because a steering link defect could cause the driver to lose power steering control and crash. The models involved in this recall are the 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 truck, 2008 through 2012 Dodge Ram 2500 trucks, and the 2008 through 2012 Dodge Ram 3500 truck models.

If you have one of these lemon trucks or cars, what can you do?

1. Call your local dealer and tell them your vehicle is one of the recalls and you want them to buy it back.

2. Call Chrysler at 1–800–853–1403 and tell them that your vehicle is one of the recalls you want them to buy it back.

3. Make notes of what you say and what they say.

4. If you don't get it resolved promptly, call us call another lemon lawyer near you. To find the name and phone number of a lemon lawyer near you, keep reading.

How do you find out about recalls for your vehicle?

How do you find a local lemon law lawyer near you?

To stay up-to-date on all recalls for your vehicle, download the Ohio lemon law app for your smart phone. It has all 50 state laws and a list of lemon lawyers in all 50 states.


Just click here and look for the link in the lower right corner of the page. With the app on your smart phone, go to the recalls page and enter "my recalls" info for your vehicle and press "get recalls" and you will always know when a recall is issued for your vehicle.

For the iPhone app, click here

For the Android app, click here

Is General Chrysler Going to Build Your Next Chevy?

FCA, the new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles corporation that resulted from the merger of Chrysler and Fiat, is looking to merge now with General Motors, but GM bosses want no part of the idea, according to AutoNews in Detroit.

FCA first floated the idea early this year and GM's Board refused. Now, both GM and FCA are reportedly taking another look, each hiring financial advisers to see if it makes sense.

For its part, FCA's chairman is arguing that combining development teams would enable each of them to create new and better products faster. But the biggest shareholder in GM is the company that manages the United Auto Workers healthcare trust for retired workers and no one thinks they would rush to the merger idea for one simple reason. Job losses from a merger would hurt current employees and the Union itself.


This whole merger thing sounds like a game being played by millionaires who sit on the boards of large corporations that employ thousands of workers and are just dreaming up ways to make more money for themselves and their companies by cutting company costs, which often means cutting jobs. We can't think of a single merger in the last decade where the new company had the same number of employees that the two companies had before the merger - workers seem to always lose out when big corporations get bigger.

And for the guy who goes car shopping later? Well your next Chevy Impala just might end up being made by Fiat workers in Europe. Will the quality get any better? Only time can tell...

Meanwhile, if you've got a lemon Fiat or Chrysler, you know who to call.

Burdge Law Office
Getting Rid of Lemons, That's What We Do 

Monday

This Pepper Stinks

Same Size Can but with More Profit
So, with costs going up and profits going down, what does a food manufacturer do? Simple, trick consumers into thinking they are getting just as much today as they did yesterday when they go to the grocery store. But how do we do it, asks the CEO, CFO and the Board of Directors? Well, says a voice in the back of the room, how about we just put less pepper in the package? Genius, shouts the entire room, s they envision their next bonus payment!

And so it goes. Profits stay high, the fat guys get fatter, and the everyday folks in the grocery store don't even realize what is happening to them. At least maybe not until every food product starts doing it. And now they are.

All of this came to the forefront (again) in a front page article in the Business section of the June 12 Wall Street Journal. The entire article is well worth the read, so you don't waste your money on big business rip offs. Consumer Reports reported on its investigation of these deceptive practices a few years ago but obviously things have only gotten worse as Big Business has continued to find ways to sneak around the law's prohibitions.

You need to be aware of this grocery store deception and to be ready to do something about it too.

We don't know where it started but McCormick's pepper tins are among the latest to take the weight out of their same-size tin package so they can keep their profits high. Same size tin on the shelf at your grocery store. Just a lot less pepper inside. One fourth of the original content has been cut out and in tiny print on the bottom edge of the can the new much-less content amount is printed, 3 ounces now where it was 4.

It's like a 25% price increase that you didn't even know you were paying. In the food packaging business this deception is called "weight-out" or "slack fill" apparently by those who are beginning to do it regularly. We call it cheating.

News programs noticed the narrowing of toilet paper rolls, followed by the shrinking size of some cereal boxes, but up to now there was usually some noticeable size difference in the package itself that would tip off the consumer that they were getting less than when they shopped yesterday. Now we are seeing some food companies getting deceptive by simply keeping the food container-package the same size and just cut back on how much product is put on it.

Well it turns out the Federal Trade Commission has some federal regulations that makes deceptive packaging illegal and there are only a couple ways around deceptive packaging laws. One is the unavoidable settling of the food items into the bottom of the package - think crackers in a box for example. Another is to protect the food from damage in transit - think chips for example.

Image result for unfair deceptive ripoff
Is Big Business Cheating You at the Grocery Store?
And then there are those companies who do it just to protect their profit in a way the consume has less chance of finding out about. Feel like complaining to McCormick about this? Click here and do it! Maybe it will make them think twice before doing it to their other grocery store products.

Better yet, the FTC is looking at rewriting its packaging regulations and is inviting you to tell it what you think - you can do that by clicking here - so give them a piece of your mind if you want to stop this kind of consumer fraud.

Time did a nice article online about the ten common ways that companies trick you into spending more on their products.

So what can you do? You can stop them. You can let them know you don't appreciate being ripped off by sneaky sales gimmicks that are designed to see if you are being careful every time you go to the grocery store.

Every state has a "Udap" law that makes it illegal for any company, anywhere, to do anything that is unfair or deceptive to a consumer - and that includes the use of deceptive advertising and sales gimmicks that can rip you off. And, best of all, many of these Udap laws say that a violation of the federal law against unfair and deceptive acts is also a violation of the state law. So if you see an unfair or deceptive sales tactic that costs you money, these laws not only give you the right to stop it, but most of them give you the right to make the company pay you for doing so and, on top of that, they can be liable for any attorney fees too.

Big Business will be fair and honest, it seems, when you make it less profitable for them to be unfair and deceptive. So when you go shopping, be careful and don't let them trick you into wasting your money.

Burdge Law Office
Helping Consumers Everyday, Since 1978

Sunday

Are Flood Cars Headed to Your Dealer?

A tip from an industry source warns us that as many as 10,000 damaged vehicles may come out of the recent Texas floods and insurance companies may be letting wholesalers buy these vehicles so they can end up at your neighbor dealer's car lot.

Texas floods send thousands of vehicles to auction
Automotive News and Bloomberg News are both reporting that about 2,500 flooded cars, trucks, Rv's and motorcycles have already been towed to a Copart yard in Houston, where they likely will be auctioned off for salvage value to the highest bidder. Copart works with insurance companies to sell vehicles wholesale that have been totaled in accidents and floods.

While these totaled out flood cars are normally reduced to salvageable parts, some are bought by dealers who intend to resell them after cleaning them up, often moving them to another state, and then off to the local auction yard they go - where their flooded or wrecked history can often be made difficult to trace back.

So if you are in the market to buy a used vehicle in the next six months, watch out. Inspect carefully, have a local mechanic or body shop check out the vehicle before you buy it. Check under seats and in trunks for any sign of water damage, such as sand or dirt or waterline markings.Look for signs of premature rust. Smell for musty odors and look for mold.

And, most important of all, ask the selling dealer to guarantee that the vehicle you are looking at was NOT in a flood anywhere.

And don't just take their word for it. When they say "no flood - no way" be sure to tell them that you want them to write that on the sales contract too. And if they won't do it, then watch out! Don't buy! Go somewhere else.

Don't waste your money on flooded or wrecked cars!

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers get rid of lemons, every day.
It's what we do.

A Farmer's Son Who Came Home, and Those Who Didn't. Remember this day.

Every Memorial Day we pause to remember and thank those who gave their all so that all of us could have the life we have in this country. We also pause to remember those who served and to reflect on the meaning of this Memorial day by republishing an article written several years ago, to give tribute to the veterans in all of our families - and all the veterans who have served over the generations. We pause to reflect on the millions of veterans who passed before and who inspire those who will come after them. The true story below is that of a farmer's son and a war that was only just beginning some fifty plus years ago and which now is little more than a few pages in a history book. Like every war in the last 100 years, it was life and death everyday, half a world away from the evening news.

A few years ago, a local farmer came in to see me for some help. Bills and crop prices and debt had him over a barrel and we talked about bankruptcy and what it could and couldn’t do to help relieve his situation. He was a big strong man, the way some farmers just naturally are, both in his heart and his size. We were about the same age but he looked so much older.

His situation took about 5 months to get resolved but I will never forget the day that I learned that he was a chopper pilot in Vietnam about the same time as my older brother, Larry, was there. I had no clue and never would have guessed.

We both stopped what we were talking about, his own current problem, while he looked out the window and quietly talked about what it was like then, back in Vietnam. It was hard for me to look at this older and much heavier man and try to imagine what he must have looked like back in the days of 1966-'68. Now, he was mostly bald and probably weighed a lot more than he did back then, but like me he had been young once too. Now, he didn't move as quick as he undoubtedly did back in 'Nam either.

But you could tell from the distance in his eyes as he spoke that he had never really left it all behind him.

He talked about what it was like to fly a chopper in and out of valleys and hills and fire, dropping down as quickly as he could and picking up a wounded soldier or two and getting back out of there, wherever "there" was, as fast as he could. Nothing but plexiglass between him and the bullets.

He said he loved flying helicopters then, but that he was never in his life as scared as he was in those few minutes between the time just before he would land and when he was back out of the worst of the fire. He said they were the longest minutes of his life. He called it dodging a lifetime of bullets, scared to death that one of them had his name on it.

He had a dusty old baseball cap in his hand as we talked. It hung loosely in his hand as he gazed aimlessly out the window. It was from some team that didn't really matter, I'm sure. His eyes were never in the room with us as he calmly and matter-of-factly talked of how men died around him and also of those who came back like him.

You could tell he had memories he wished he didn't have. He said the worst feeling he had from the whole war was that every time he'd lift off the ground he knew that while he was getting out of there, he was leaving other boys behind. He'd fly away, his heart pounding loud in his chest, while the fighting went on below him.

After a long while, he stopped talking and we just sat there, not talking at all. I could see that things were going on inside his mind and I just didn't know what to say. I was dumbstruck by this seemingly now-gentle giant of a man who had been through hell. Truth be told, I didn't think I had a right to say anything at all. After what seemed like the longest time, both of us returned to the present moment. He never spoke about it again.

It's been years now. I don't even remember his name. Probably most of the guys he saved didn't remember it either. I haven't thought of him since then until my older brother sent me a recording he found on the internet, called God's Own Lunatics (click below) that explained what it was like to be one of those foot soldiers on the ground. I clicked on it, listened, and the memory all came back to me.

I recall that he was the son of a local farmer who had gone off to war and came back all grown up - to be his father's son, a farmer again. Something about beating your swords into plows seems appropriate for me to end this note but it also seems so trivial a thing to say. I can still recall his face.

We all owe veterans a whole lot more than any of us will ever be able to repay. If you know someone who served, shake their hand and thank them. You don't need to say why. They'll know. And remember on this Veterans Day that there are lots of vets that aren't around for you to thank, so say thanks to those who still are. Thanks, Dad. And thank you, Larry. Two of the bravest men I have known in my lifetime. Veterans.

Tuesday

US Cars Stink in New Zealand

Is There a Stink Bug Legion in Your New Car?
Literally. US Cars literally stink in New Zealand, according to an article just published by WardsAuto news publication and Yahoo's New Zealand news online. The official announcement was made in New Zealand last December but apparently word has just reached the US. Yeah, right, guys.

It turns out that stink bugs, those pesky fingernail size brown bugs, can infest cars shipped to New Zealand from the US and the island's government officials have put in place a ban on imported US motor vehicles that are shipped to the country unless they have first been fumigated. Or "heat treated" to kill the bugs.

“We are working closely with importers and treatment suppliers to ensure imported vehicles can receive biosecurity clearance where possible, although, if there are no suitable decontamination options, non-compliant vehicles may have to be turned away,” New Zealand's Ministry Biosecurity and Environment Manager Paul Hallett says.

The untreated US car ban  is intended to keep the pesky bugs out of New Zealand before they do damage to the country's agriculture.

So, it is from New Zealand that US consumers learn that US cars have stink bugs in them. A no-extra-cost standard feature, mind you.

If your new car or new truck stinks, call us. Getting rid of lemons is what we do. Everyday.


Burdge Law Office
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons for More than 25 Years
It's what we do.