Thursday

Tata, Baby, Tata

Well, there goes Jaguar. And Land Rover. Bye bye, baby, bye bye. Or maybe Tata, baby, tata.

Tata Motors, from India, looks to be the high-bid winner in the "Jaguar and Land Rover sales auction" from Ford for a cool $2 Billion, according to reports from Britain's Birmingham Post newspaper.

Granted there might be a stack of paperwork to sign off but what the heck, Ford can probably use the money. Lord knows the way they argue over warranty claims with their customers you'd think things were really tight in Dearborn.

The sale process at Jaguar appears to have taken its toll on Jaguar car quality too, judging from complaints we're getting around here. So maybe the quality can get back to what Ford had it at several years ago.

No one knows what Tata will do but production of the long-standing English cars is not expected to move to any of Tata's plants in India, although they have at least four manufacturing facilities scattered across India.

If quality goes down, don't worry. We'll still be here ready to fight for your warranty rights. England, Dearborn or Delhi. It doesn't matter to us.

Burdge Law Office
www.NewCarLemonLaw.com
Helping Jaguar (and other) Car Owners
Get Rid of Lemon Cars and Lemon Trucks Since 1978.

Monday

The Price was Wrong on the Price is Right

So you think when you win a brand new car on a tv game show, you'd actually get a brand new car, huh? Well not according to Donna Tillman. What she says she actually got was a wrecked and repaired car.

Court papers filed in L.A. claim that she thought she won a new Pontiac GTO worth $33,495 and wasn't suspicious when delivery of the car took a little longer than usual because the car got "bounced around" from Australia to San Francisco to Pasadena before she got the keys in her hand to her shiny new car.

It was the first new car she had ever owned and the single mother of two was thrilled to win it on the big game show formerly hosted by her life long idol Bob Barker. But a year later the trouble started.


She noticed that when you got up to freeway speed the car "felt like it was windy outside" according to the New York Post newspaper. After a fender bender a year later she took it into the shop and mechanics told her that the car "had existing front end and structural frame damage" and had been repaired in a way to hide the damage. At that point, she was more than a little "bent out of shape" about her bent outta shape car, no doubt.

Worse yet she paid taxes based on the full value of the car and not the wrecked value of the car. Talk about irritating! No wonder she feels cheated. Meanwhile, the car dealer who delivered it to her is claiming Tillman damaged the vehicle herself.

Was your vehicle wrecked before you bought it? Every year thousands of vehicles are totalled out by insurance companies after accidents or a flood. A total loss usuallymeans the vehicle can not be repaired cost effectively up to mechanical or safety standards. Such vehicles are supposed to be junked and used for parts only but it doesn't always happen.

If someone sticks you with a wrecked car and you didn't know it when you bought it, you've got rights so don't put up with it. If they won't take care of it, email us or call for a free case conference, toll free 888.331.6422.

Helping consumers protect themselves is what we do every day. Suing car dealers and manufacturers for consumers is also what we do every day.

Thursday

GM & Chrysler Layoffs


The US auto industry continues to struggle to regain market share and customer confidence. The oh-so-apt editorial cartoon to the side is from Brian Fairrington, whose work is terrific.

The work force at GM's Dayton Delphi plant has dropped in half from its former high just years ago and now another 300+ are getting the pink slip just before Christmas. Talk about a Scrooge attitude and a lousy Christmas present... Then there's Chrysler. Chrysler at Christmas isn't any better either.

Chrysler LLC has announced that it is shutting down several assembly plants over the next few weeks, blaming it on sagging product demand. The Warren truck assembly plant in Warren, Michigan will close for more than a month to let dealers sell of product and Chrysler to move the metal. After workers go home on Friday, Dec. 21, they are not set to return until Feb. 4, 2008, UAW sources are saying.

The Warren Truck plant builds the Dodge Ram and Dakota pickup trucks, which have had their share of trouble. Recently the 07 Ram was hit with a recall over fuel tank straps that could result in fuel leaks.

The Detroit News reported Wednesday that Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly in Detroit and Windsor Assembly plants in Windsor, Ontario, will be closed for 2 or 3 weeks beginning Jan. 14.

Jefferson North builds the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander SUVs and Windsor is one of two Chrysler plants that build the newly redesigned Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans.

So far Ford is keeping mum on cutbacks at Christmas ... a smart move we say.

For more hilarious, and sometimes very sadly so, editorial cartoons, check out Political Cartoons .com by clicking here.

Wednesday

What a Car Title Can Tell You

What you don't know can hurt you. It's true in life. It's true in car titles too.

Bob Eppes spent over 20 years working odometer fraud for the federal government in Kansas City. Recently he turned me on to a web site that says more about title branding and types than anything I've ever seen. No matter what state or US territory you are in, if you're going to buy a used car or truck, you need to know how to understand the codes and brands that can show up on the vehicle that you're about to pay thousands of dollars for --- before you plunk down your money!

What makes it tough is that each state (or US territory) has its own unique title "brand" and code process. That's where some sort of "brand," or often a 2 digit code, is put on the title that discloses something about the vehicle itself, but only if you know how to read it.

Sometimes there are only a few types of titles, like Puerto Rico where everything is either a clean title or a salvage title and nothing in between. Other places, like Pennyslvania, have dozens of different types of titles. Well, actually they've got over 150 there (talk about confusing).

These title types or brands can often disclose whether the vehicle is a rebuilt wrecked car, a flooded vehicle, a Lemon Law buyback, or an unrebuildable salvage junkyard car, among a lot of other things.

Sometimes the "brand" on the title is pretty clear, like with most Lemon Law buyback brands that warn the vehicle was bought back because the vehicle couldn't be fixed by the manufacturer in a reasonable time. In Ohio that would read "BUYBACK: THIS VEHICLE WAS RETURNED TO THE MANUFACTURER BECAUSE IT MAY NOT HAVE CONFORMED TO ITS WARRANTY" but the wording can be different in different states.

More often the title can have a small code notation on it, often just a couple of letters, that can provide important historical background info on the vehicle. Your local car dealer knows how to read the codes. Do you? Well, here's help.

For a list of the title brands and codes for you state, click here. This is a website set up by one of the larger auto auction yards so that everyone knows what the lingo is for cars they are selling there. The unspoken message is that even the auto auction yard knows the codes can be mysterious and confusing.

Don't get taken. Insist on looking at the actual title for any used motor vehicle you are thinking of buying --- before you hand over your hard-earned money. But if you got taken by a crooked car dealer (and our series last week on crooked car dealers showed you how they even steal from each other) call us, 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. Or fax or email us right now. We can probably help you get your money back with no cost to you.

We go after car dealers (and manufacturers) every day. It’s what we do.

Burdge Law Office
www. Burdge Law .com
www. Car Sales Fraud .com
Helping Consumers Get Even Since 1978

Monday

National Rv Files Bankruptcy

If you own a National RV motorhome still covered by warranty, you've got trouble. The day after the "National Rv Trade Show" came to an end in Louisville, factory reps from all over the country packed their bags and headed home. Things were different for the California-based National RV company though.

The next day National RV filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in California and posted notice on its website that it would no longer be honoring any warranty claims.

The bankruptcy can end up costing a lot of customers a lot of money because National RV dealers are likely to stop doing warranty work for free for customers now that the company won't be paying them anymore to do the work. The warranty won't be worth the paper it's written on if that happens. You can read National RV's letter to its dealers by clicking here.

That dealers won't honor the company's warranty is not surprising since there's a lot of motorhome dealers listed on National RV's list of creditors that it owes money to. You can view the list of people who were given notice of the bankruptcy, and those are mostly creditors, by clicking here.

In the bankruptcy filings, Perris California based National RV said it had assets of just over $52 million and debt of over $30 million. That might leave you wondering why they filed bankruptcy at all, but it's not unusual for companies to file bankruptcy to shed (or trim down) debt that they can't get under control or may not have enough cash on hand to pay when the bills come due, among other reasons. On the other hand, 6 years of losing money may have been enough.

Reports are that the motorhome builder shut down its headquarters and main production facility and laid off all employees, according to the Press-Enterprise newspaper. It was also reported that National RV's shuttering last week followed a year of turmoil during which the company was forced to sell its most profitable line of RVs (Country Coach was sold in February 2007) plus its land and buildings in Perris California just to stay in business. Then it leased back the factory. That was followed by the bankruptcy filing and laying off all the workers.

Candidly,
David Humphreys, who has been chief executive since August, is reported to have said that the company had been trying to sell itself for sometime now, without success.

"But I think it's unlikely, and the RV market itself is quite flat," he said. "The good news is that we think, if we have to liquidate the company, which is likely, we will have enough money to pay off" their financial obligations.

If you're owed money then I suppose that might be good news. But if you're driving a National RV motorhome, none of this is good news. You can monitor the Bankruptcy Court filings in the National RV case by clicking here.

You may not be totally out of luck though if your sales paperwork gives you any rights against the rv dealer where you bought your motorhome, and if you have an extended warranty (sometimes called a service contract), then you may still be protected to some degree.

If you've got a lemon motorhome, don't wait until it's too late to do anything about it. Act fast and let us help you get rid of it.

Burdge Law Office
www. Rv Lemon Law .com
Helping Rv'ers Get Rid of Lemons Since 1978


Convicts at Car Dealers, Part 5


If a car dealer's employee is willing to steal from the company, what makes you think they won't steal from you, too? Well, when we started this 5 part series we had just 5 reports of car dealer employees who were reported to have stolen from their car dealer employer.

Problem is, even more thieving reports popped up. Okay, we'll keep this series to just 5 stories for now and add more later. But this one is a biggie: $1.2 million. And the boss himself is the thief.

"Floor planning" is when GMAC (or some other lender) finances the cars that are sitting on the dealer's lot for sale. The dealer buys the new cars and trucks from the manufacturer, say GM. The factory's financing department (like GMAC) loans the money to the dealer to pay for the shipment of new cars. Paperwork is signed and GM sort of moves the money from the left pocket to the right pocket and ships the new cars and clear titles to the dealer, who promises to pay GMAC a chunk of money each time it sells one of the new cars.

To keep the dealer honest, GMAC often sends out someone to count the cars on the lot and make sure the dealer is not holding back any money for cars that have already been sold. As long as the dealer is honest, or GMAC keeps a close watch on the dealer, everything works out fine. Of course, we are talking about car dealers here. So honesty may be all a matter of interpretation.

But in Illinois things are different it seems.

A former Illinois GM dealer engaged in a multiyear fraud and skimmed $1.2 million according to the Peoria Journal Star newspaper. Todd Black agreed to a plea bargain that will put him in the federal pen for 41 months and leave a $1.2 million court ordered restitution debt hanging over his head for years to come.

Black owned 3 GM dealerships that used GMAC to finance his new car purchases from GM. When GMAC came knocking to count cars they discovered they weren't there because Black had sold them without sending any money to GMAC. They weren't happy.

Additionally, Black also got titles to "ghost" cars that he claimed were in his possession when they really weren't. As a result, GMAC sent him more money. When things got tight, Black would then use the proceeds from recent sales to repay GMAC for older car loans, adapting the "Ponzi" scheme where a person uses money from one sale to pay off another person. Authorities claimed Black used the money to buy houses and a condo.

Black's employees apparently also lied to GMAC auditors trying to cover up the fraud, but GMAC eventually wised up.

So, if employees will steal from the owner of the dealership, what makes you think they won't steal from you too? And if the boss in charge of the place is orchestrating the whole scam, ripping off the factory itself, what makes you think he gives a darn about how bad you get ripped off by his sales staff?

Like everything else, you have to be careful and watch out for the thievin’ on the retail end — that’s your end and it can cost you money!

If you’re the victim of car dealer fraud, call us right now,
1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. We go after car dealers (and manufacturers) every day. It’s what we do.

Burdge Law Office www. Car Sales Fraud .com Helping Consumers Get Their Money Back Since 1978

Thursday

Convicts at Car Dealers, Part 4

If a car dealer's employee is willing to steal from the company, what makes you think they won't steal from you, too?

Question: how many Mercedes do you have to sell so the boss doesn't notice when you steal a million dollars? A lot.


In a new twist on skimming money from the till, the supervisor of temporary employees at Mercedes-Benz of Laguna Niguel, a southern California Mercedes-Benz dealership worked out a deal with temporary employees to split their pay with him --- in exchange for them not having to work at all! In just a couple of years he managed to pocket over a million dollars, and still collect a paycheck too.


According to a press release from the feds, David Delgado was the temp worker's supervisor for 7 years at the dealership and in charge of monitoring and approving the hours worked by all dealership temporary employees. One day back in 2004 one of them offered to give him half his paycheck if Delgado would leave the temporary employee on the payroll but not make him show up for work. It was a deal too good to resist apparently.

Over the next few years Delgado started making the offer to the temp workers, offering to approve phony time entries for temp workers and keep them on the payroll even though they weren't really working for the Mercedes dealership any longer. The more temp workers agreed, the more money Delgado pocketed. Then it occured to him. Why do I need to split it with temp workers at all? Why not just make it all up? So he did.


While he hired temporary employees from two agencies he also started creating completely fictitious temporary employees, turning in hundreds of hours of payroll time for people who either weren't there or didn't exist. It didn't take long to make some really big money. That is until the whole thing started to smell fishy.

Eventually the FBI came knocking and Delgado ended up copping a plea to two wire fraud charges in a deal with federal prosecutors that kept his jail time down to 18 months in the slammer and a court order to pay money back to the car dealership --- $1,053,970 of it.


You gotta wonder. Just how much money was that place rollin in the door? How much profit does it take to keep the boss from missing a million dollars or so? And just where was the boss anyway? Out to lunch? A very long lunch? Maybe a lunch out of the country? Cayman Islands, at the bank?


I guess there's just so much money floating around at car dealerships (especially Mercedes dealers?) that the employees just can't help themselves.

Like I said, if an employee will steal from the car dealer they work for, what makes you think they'll think twice about getting into your wallet or purse without you knowing it?
Like everything else, you have to be careful and watch out for the thievin’ on the retail end — that’s your end and it can cost you money!

If you’re the victim of car dealer fraud, call us right now,
1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. We go after car dealers (and manufacturers) every day. It’s what we do.

Tuesday

Convicts at Car Dealers, Part 3


"Cheezit, guys, here come the cops!" It's not just a line from an old movie. It's probably what they said at an upstate New York Chevy dealer recently when the police showed up with search warrants. Not a good way to start the day.

If a car dealer’s employee is willing to steal from the company that pays him or her, what makes you think they won’t steal from you too?

A lot of car dealerships have a job they call Special Finance Manager. That's the person who sets up the financing for risky-credit customers. People with credit problems. In the mortgage broker business it's called subprime (and we all know what is happening in the mortgage market because of it --- it's a big part of the reason you see all those boarded up and empty houses around your town).

Subprime, special finance, is one of the most lucrative money-making games car dealers play. Huge amounts of profit can be very tempting for crooked car dealer employees too, as Whalen Chevrolet Oldsmobile found out when the dealer's special finance manager was arrested and charged with nine felonies related to his risky business.

Seems he was getting really creative with his creative financing, making fake documents that looked like tax returns, social security benefit letters, W-2 forms, and pay stubs. Then he'd use the fake documents to get financing approval for prospective car buyers and the customers didn't know what he was doing, according to a report in the Glens Falls Post-Star newspaper. It's not just a New York problem either. It's a game we've heard of before in Ohio and elsewhere, too.

Police are saying the employee submitted fake documents to finance companies like Capital One to get car buyers approved for credit they couldn't really get. The house of car[d]s was going just fine until the repo's started, apparently. At that point Capital One probably started wondering what was going on.

Then the cops raided the car dealership and seized car sales files for the last year to see if there were other fraudulent loans the guy created. According to the newspaper, the Police say the F & I sales manager involved also worked at a number of car dealerships in the Albany (NY) area over the years, and "told police that he learned the scheme at another dealership that he did not identify to investigators." Well, now, that makes sense. It also makes you wonder who the car dealer is that apparently is still doing it!

Amazingly, police suspect the finance manager of using the same scam while working at Nemer VW, an upstate New York Volkswagen car dealership, last year too. Not surprisingly, the owner of the Chevy dealership said he was unaware of the fraud and that he learned of his employee's past criminal history from the police.

"Obviously we would not condone anything like this," Whalen [the owner of the car dealership] said of the scheme, according to the newspaper. "It's unfortunate for everybody involved." Yeah, there goes this year's bonus Fiji vacation plan ...

It is amazing how many felons, crooks, criminals and thieves work in the car business. Why do you suppose that is? I suspect it's because they are always looking for the money-making angle to play and no one knows it better than a crook.

Sure there are some honest car dealers out there but some of them aren't. Like everything else, you have to be careful and watch out for the thievin’ on the retail end — that’s your end and it can cost you money!

If you’re the victim of car dealer fraud, call us. We go after car dealers (and manufacturers) every day. It’s what we do.

Monday

Convicts at Car Dealers, Part 2


If the car dealer’s employee is willing to steal from the company that pays her, what makes you think they won’t steal from you too?

Arnold Pontiac GMC had been in business since 1916 and Joyce Piasente had worked there for 27 years but she stole nearly half a million dollars from them anyway ($439,806 to be precise about it). Being a long-term employee apparently doesn't mean anything more than being a green pea at Bennington Subaru either, at least not when it comes to the old car dealer adage, lie-cheat-n-steal.

And she might have kept right on getting away with it too, at least until one day when someone from GMAC showed up at the dealership to pick up a check to cover "rejected" funds. One thing led to another and after the dealership hired an accountant to figure it all out, the owner found nearly half a million was missing, reports the Washington (PA) Observer-Reporter newspaper.

When confronted, she admitted taking the money and said it was needed to fund her children's debts and to finance her gambling addiction. How much went for one and how much went for the other didn't seem to matter much to the owner of the car dealership because it's all gone now.

The car dealer employee, make that ex-employee, was sentenced to 18 to 36 months in the slammer.

You have to wonder though, just how much money was that person raking in that the owner didn't even notice a missing half million? And how much of it was honest income and how much of it was just another way of ripping someone off? Maybe none of it? Maybe all of it? We don't know.

One thing we do know, however, is that if a car dealer doesn't care enough to spot a thief in action, or is just so sloppy that they miss it (assuming they are watching out for you) then it shouldn’t surprise you when you realize they stole money from you in your deal too. After all, who is better to steal from customers than a thief?

How might they do it? Packing a deal with window etching when you don't realize how worthless it is. Charging for credit life and disability insurance when you didn't know it was in the deal. Adding Gap insurance to your costs. It used to be undercoating and fabric protection, before car dealers figured out how to really get in your wallet or purse. Watch out for the thievin’ on the retail end — that’s your end and it can cost you money!

If you’re the victim of car dealer fraud, call us. We go after car dealers (and manufacturers) every day. It’s what we do.

Burdge Law Office
www. Car Sales Fraud .com
Helping Consumers Get Their Money Back Since 1978

To read Part 1 of Convicts at Car Dealers, click here.

Thursday

Convicts at Car Dealers, Part 1


If the car dealer’s employee is willing to steal from the company that pays him, what makes you think they won’t steal from you too?

Today we start a 5 part series of true stories of car dealers and their employees. Employees who were caught stealing from the dealership in one way or another. From a salesman in Vermont to a million dollar thief in Southern California and a lot of stops in between. But first, Vermont...

In the car sales business a new salesperson is called a green pea but, as Bennington Subaru found out, some green peas are rotten. Bennington Subaru hired a young salesman named Benjamin Hammic. He didn’t know much about selling cars but he was energetic and wanted to learn.

If they had checked him out carefully, the general manager might have found out that he was on the lam from a New York court and under sentence from a Connecticut court. Hammic was a two time loser looking for chance number 3. And he found it at Bennington Subaru, where they apparently don't ask a lot of questions before hiring a salesman (or maybe they do).

On his second day at the dealership he was studying Subaru model information when he took a break and walked off the job. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. It’s more like he drove off. In a nice brand new car. After awhile management must have started thinking it was a pretty long break because Hammic never came back.

A week later the stolen car was recovered while being driven by three kids in Massachusetts. As for Hammic, he called in from Connecticut and said he had just borrowed the car and someone had stolen it from him. Yeah, right.

You have to wonder how a guy with a warrant and a conviction could end up getting hired in the first place. Well, maybe the manager thought he just had “the right stuff.” They probably figured he’d steal alright, just from customers when they came to buy a car and not from the dealership itself.

If a car dealer is willing to hire convicts, crooks and thieves, it shouldn’t surprise you when you realize they stole your trade in on the paperwork, ripped you off on the Gap insurance cost, or packed your deal with window etching that you didn’t know you were getting either. After all, who is better to steal from customers than a thief? Only thing here is the thief stole from the car dealer first. Usually they pay them good enough to keep the thievin’ on the retail end — that’s your end and it can cost you money, so watch out!

If you’re the victim of a car dealer’s fraud, call us. We go after car dealers (and manufacturers) every day. It’s what we do.

Burdge Law Office
www. Car Sales Fraud .com
Helping Consumers Fight Back Since 1978

Wednesday

Best Vehicle Resale Value Cars


For 2008 the five car brands with the best overall predicted resale values are Volkswagen, BMW, Acura, Honda and Porsche. Not a US label in the bunch.

And what is ranked 5 to 10? It's Subaru, Lexus, Infiniti, Audi and Toyota. Again, not a US label in the list.

And it gets worse if you break it down by model instead of just the brand, because VW alone takes 3 of the top 10 spots, according to Kelley Blue Book predictions.

What's wrong with this picture, folks?

Detroit hurts in this kind of comparison because they go after market share and that ends up meaning building more than the market can absorb and that hurts resale value. Worse yet, the Big 3 throw incentives and rebates out there like it's going out of style, sell millions to the rental car companies to bolster sales figures, and then wonder how come the resale value just isn't there a year or two down the road. Well, no kidding folks.

If you flood the market with thousands and thousands of Taurus vehicles, the value of a Taurus just isn't going to hold up. On the other hand, if you build quality and build a limited supply of your model, then the prices tend to hold up better and longer. Detroit seems to be plagued with the "instant gratification" mindset of the "give it to me now" generation.

Meanwhile, VW has steadily moved up in the resale rankings because they put style and quality and fuel efficiency into a limited supply of models. And those are all factors that drive value up and resale prices hold steady because of it.

So, the moral? If you don't hold onto your car for long, then get one of these cars that hold their value longer so you can get more out of it when you sell it in 2 or 3 years.

Of course, all of that depends on if you get a lemon, which can rip the floor out of any car's resale value. If that happens to you, call us. Getting rid of lemons is what we do. Everyday.

Burdge Law Office
www.BurdgeLaw.com
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons Since 1978

Tuesday

What Color is Your Lemon ?


What does your car say about you? Do you drive a Firebird? A Corvette? A Prius? Or a Malibu? Is your car black? Red? Silver? White? Purple?

According to researchers, it all means something. Whether it means something for you may be debatable.

Researchers in Tennessee from "The Right Brain People" have been studying the psychology of cars and colors. Supposedly the right side of the brain is in control of emotion and creativity and that is the part that influences what we buy when we go t0 a car dealership. The psychologists in Tennessee try to help car dealers understand the emotional factors that drive consumer decisions. In other words, they predict what you are going to buy and what color you want it to be. Results are curious but interesting.

They say that minivan buyers are “nurturing” and escape-minded people. Sport-utility vehicle buyers are looking for adventure. The people who plunk down big dollars to buy a Hummer or another large SUV are looking for power and control and have a "warrior mentality". Don't get in their way. Especially if they are armed.

People who buy a hybrid have character and are trying to show that they are "doing the right thing". Compact cars go to people who are low in rationality and character, according to the psychologists in Tennessee. On the other hand, maybe they are just looking to spend a lot less money for basic transportation?

Got a convertible? They say that means you want freedom and independence to be your motto. Got a sports car? Okay, then you are looking for “youthful exuberance and rejuvenation” (whatever that really means).

If you are driving a four-door sedan, then you are practical. That one is pretty obvious.

On the other hand, if you are driving a big truck that means you are looking for power and control (but since you don't carry a gun or a spear or sword, you must not own a Hummer yet, I guess).

Then we get to the Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, both of which stand for power and status, along with the BMW. The slight difference is that Lexus goes to the younger mind set while Mercedes is big on "power attitude" and BMW is looking for a sporty "control" in life.

Got a Corvette? The psychologists say only one word in response: immortality. Apparently you think you will live longer than your car? Yeah, maybe... just maybe (but I wouldn’t bet on it).

Meantime, what do all the colors mean? Well, that have answers for that too.

Silver: elegant and cool.

White: fastidious.

"Gimme a ticket" Red? Sexy, speedy, high energy and dynamic (and a glove box full of tickets from the highway patrol).

Deep red? Some of the same qualities as red, but a little less obvious about it. Translation? Not as many tickets in the glove box.

Light brown: timeless, basic and simple tastes.

Black: not easily manipulated, loves elegance, and appreciates a classic. Still, don't expect to find Frank Sinatra in the CD player.

Gray: sober, corporate, practical, pragmatic. The only word missing is boring.

Dark green: traditional, trustworthy, well-balanced. Think Jimmy Carter in a nice wool suit.

Bright green and yellow: trendy, fun, lively. Also screaming to be seen.

Dark brown: down to earth, no nonsense.

Orange: fun-loving, talkative, fickle and trendy. Likes pierced body parts (just kidding).

Deep purple: creative and individualistic. Has extensive Jimi Hendrix CD collection.

Some of the predictions might be true, and some of them might be a mile off. Still, keep in mind that this is what the "experts" are telling car dealers. So when you go to buy a specific type of vehicle or a specific color of vehicle, the car dealer’s salespeople may have an attitude and expectation about you as a buyer as a result.

No matter what color your lemon is, we can help you get rid of it. After all, that's what we do. And we make no judgments about you in the process!


Monday

Grinch Strikes Auto Industry


Detroit has its "big 3" auto investors and all of them are predicting a sales slump next year. Looks like the Grinch has struck the auto industry!

One of the predictors is Jerry York, an advisor to billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian. Another is financier Wilbur Ross. Then there's Thomas Stallkamp, a former president of Chrysler. All are negative on next year's auto industry outlook, with predictions of a 10% sales reduction.

Detroit went through a similar sales slump back in 1991 when sales fell 11% and the economy was slumping in general. Same thing back around 1982-3. Maybe this is just a ten year thing and the middle Eastern war delayed it a few extra years?

Then again maybe the housing market mess and the current sluggish economy is dampening consumer spirits, causing more caution when it comes to spending.

Whatever it is, the predictions are that Detroit will deal with it by cutting production instead of juicing up the rebate machine. So don't count on seeing zero rate loans and generous rebates or big price discounts next year.

If your car or truck is running right, get it serviced often and keep driving on down the road (right past those shiny, expensive hunks of iron on the front row of the dealer's lot down the street). If you've got a lemon car or a lemon truck or a lemon motorhome though, now is the time to do something about it. As the economy tightens up in the coming year, so will the factory's willingness to help out consumers who bought bad products and are now stuck.

If you've got a lemon, call us. Getting rid of them is what we do. Everyday.

Sunday

Ford Crown Victoria Tarnished and Gone


Once upon a time, it was the flagship of the Ford lineup, the Crown Victoria. Police departments just plain loved it because it was just plain big. Drop a big engine in it, bolt some lights on top, and that car could haul!

But you won't find one in a Ford dealer's showroom anymore. Well, if you look really hard, and really fast, you might find one of the less-than-80 2007 Crown Vic cars across the country that are still on a dealer's left over lot, but you won't find any 2008 models.

That's because they are all going to fleet customers like business and governments, particularly police departments. Seems the Ford 500 and the Taurus interiors got bigger along the way and that ate into the Vic's marketshare, to say nothing for non-Ford nameplate competition from the Dodge Charger police car version and others.

At the end, fleet deals made up 95% of the Crown Victoria sales, almost entirely to either police departments or taxi cab fleets. But the model line had its share of troubles along the way too.

Fire dangers under the dash in 2003, 2004 and 2005 models hurt the image. Gas tank explosion claims made by police departments created huge ill will problems for Ford, to the point that Ford reportedly warned them that it would just stop selling the police model if they got any more lawsuits.

Still, in its best day the Crown Vic was still something of a lemon and now its day has gone. A lot of former owners are probably just murmering "good riddance."

If you've got a Ford lemon, we can help. Lemon Motor Vehicle Law cases is what we've been doing for 30 years. It's the reason Ford doesn't like us. We're kinda proud of that.

Who Do You Trust?

A new poll out from the Better Business Bureau and Gallup Polling finds that most people still don't trust car dealers. For good reason, we find.

New to the top of the "don't trust 'em" list are furniture stores, cell phone providers, and real estate brokers too, closely followed by banks, grocery stores, pharmacies, stock brokers and home improvement stores.

And almost 20% of the people polled said that they trusted businesses less this year than last year. Well, maybe the chickens have finally come home to roost. Then again, maybe they never left?

The poll results here aren't much different than the Harris Poll results in 2006 when people ranked stockbrokers and realtors at the bottom of the list there too, but that was without car dealers even being included in the rankings at all. The closest category included was mechanics, who came in only slightly above realtors.

And being in Canada doesn't make much difference in the poll results either, according to Leger marketing, who completed a poll in May 2007. There, they found levels of trust declining too and, of course, used car salespeople were at the bottom of the "trust list" for Canada (apparently things are worse up north?). Just slightly higher than used car salespeople were politicians (a feeling we're familiar with in the US too) and only two notches above that were new car salespeople (so you'd rather trust a new car salesperson than a used car salesperson? I don't think so...).

In the recent BBB-Gallup survey, Americans considered honesty, fairness, dependable, reliable, good value for the money and good prices to all be key factors in trusting the businesses they deal with every day in every aspect of their lives. Okay, so much for car dealers ...

If you've been lied to by a car dealer or another merchant or if you're a victim of fraud, we can help. We've been helping consumers get back their hard-earned money from crooked businesses for almost 30 years.

Friday

National Law Journal Quotes Burdge on Rv Lemon Law


This week's National Law Journal has an article in it headlined "Motor Home Makers Hit with Warranty Actions" and quotes Rv Lemon Law lawyer Ron Burdge.

The article discusses the rising tide of warranty litigation with motorhome manufacturers under the federal lemon law (the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act) as well as state lemon laws and other state consumer protection laws like Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act.

It's kind of surprising to see the article talking about other attorneys recently becoming aware of the federal lemon law --- it's a law we've been using for 29 years against defective vehicle manufacturers who build bad Rv's and then fail to fix them properly under warranty later on.

"R.V. manufactures are 'digging their heels in' and settling late in the litigation, but the number of cases is increasing because consumers are intolerant of defects in such an expensive product, said plaintiffs' lawyer Ron Burdge of the Burdge Law Office in Dayton, Ohio. Burdge handles motor home cases in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

"The difference between a Kia and a $1 million R.V. is how much they fight," Burdge said. "You spend much more time winning an R.V. case than you do winning a four-door car case."

Your legal rights matter when you pay big money for an Rv and can't get the manufacturer or the dealer to live up to their warranty. If it happens to you, we can help. It's what we do. You can read more about your state's Rv Lemon Law by clicking here.

Thursday

Recall Roundup

The new Chrysler is still busy cleaning up the old Chrysler's problems it seems.

Federal safety investigators have announced that Chrysler is recalling nearly 300,000 SUV vehicles because of brake problems. The recall involves the 2006 and 2007 model year Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander models, the 2007 Jeep Wrangler and the 2007 Dodge Nitro. When the vehicles coast uphill there's a delay in braking.

Meanwhile the 2008 Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring convertibles are on the list for over 72,000 to be recalled because of problems with front door latches and locks that won't open.

Not to be outdone, the Japanese Big 3 are recalling their own too.

For model year 2006 and 2007 vehicles, Honda is recalling more than 180,000 Civics to fix a wheel bearing seal that can lead to the wheel falling off the car (folks, that's pretty serious stuff).

But Nissan tops the record this month with 420,000 SUV's being recalled. Included models are the 1997 - 2001 model years for the Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4 sport utility vehicles. corrosion can occur in the tube where the gas is pumped in. That can result in a fuel leak and fire danger. But this is one of those regional recalls we talked about before, where the recall is limited to only certain states. Here it's Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin --- basically the bad weather "winter" states. I guess the moral of that story is don't drive North if you've got a Pathfinder or QX4?

Toyota is recalling 55,000 optional all-weather floor mats that were installed in the Lexus ES 350 and Toyota Camry cars because the mats can interfere with the pedals and cause a loss of control problem sometimes referred to as a runaway accellerator. Well, at least it's just floor mats.

If you've got a recalled lemon, or one that should be, call us instead. We know what to do because we've been doing it for nearly 30 years.

Saturday

Chrysler Drops Magnum, PT Droptop, Pacifica & Crossfire Models


A week ago we predicted Chrysler would drop some of its models that overlapped each other's target buyers and introduce some new ones. Well, Cerberus, the new owners of Chrysler, announced the elimination of four models from the Chrysler lineup, but they didn't touch the duplication target at all.

The Chrysler Sebring and the Dodge Avenger? "Oh, let's just keep them both."

The Jeep Commander vs the Grand Cherokee? "Gosh, they both look pretty."

The Chrysler Aspen or the Dodge Durango? "The Aspen hasn't been around long enough yet and the Durango is such a good money-loser for us we don't want to give it up yet."

Soon to be gone, though, are the Dodge Magnum (Dodge's macho), the cheap-to-build-and-easy-to-sell Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible, the Celine Dione promoted Pacifica and the cool looking Crossfire. What are they thinking up there in the Detroit tower?

Given the 50,000+ 2007 Magnums that were recalled because the ABS brake control module software could lock up the rear brakes at times, that one probably shouldn't be a big surprise. And the 2006 Pacifica and PT Cruiser were both subject to recalls too. But we thought the bugs had been worked out of all these model lines by now.

Figures. Just when they start building them right, they decide to stop building them at all.

Also soon to be gone are 8,500 to 10,000 hourly jobs by the end of 2008, in an expense cutting move, along with 1,000 salary workers and a projected 37% of its outside contract workers. Looks like Cerberus Management is very serious about cutting costs, indeed.

In a move to jazz up its model line, Dodge is adding a Challenger coupe and the Dodge Journey "crossover" model. On top of that are new plans to build two new hybrid Suv's, the Chrysler Aspen and the Dodge Durango. With all that body weight, it's hard to imagine the Durango as a hybrid, frankly, but it's an admirably target. The two new hybrids will make the Chrysler brand a little "greener" while the Challenger ought to make the Dodge brand a little sexier too.

All in all, a smart move for Cerberus. If they build the new models right, too, then all the better. But if not, then call us. When your Durango dodges reliability, when you want to shove that Aspen up Chrysler's tailpipe, when the Journey won't let you journey, and when the Challenger challanges your patience, contact us. If you've got a lemon, we'll get rid of it.


The Paradox of Our Time

I can not take credit for the monologue that follows and which was sent to me by my cousin in Florida. And although it has been widely Erumored as coming from George Carlin, it isn't according to www.georgecarlin.com. Also, it isn't from a surviving Columbine student either. It was actually written by a former pastor in Redmond, Washington, according to Truth or Fiction.com. Still, and even though it was first penned in 1990, it fits our time, right here, right now too.

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.


We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much , and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life but not life to our years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but read less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw-away morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this e-letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember to say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.


Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment, for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts
in your mind.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Sappy, schmaltzy? Sure. But it still makes you think.

Thursday

When Cars Were Cool and VW's Were Too


How long has it been, I asked myself. 30 years? 40 years? Amazing...it looks brand new.

The VW Camper van was a product of innovation within the bombed out walls of a VW plant after World War 2 when they started using partially built VW's to make parts deliveries around the VW plant and someone realized that you could take one of them and put a camper shell on top and sell them as campers for the common consumer. They were right of course.

By 1963 Americans had bought 150,000 of them. The other day I saw one of them and it looked beatiful. Totally restored inside and out and all around. Original paint. Original hubcaps. Original radio. Just incredible to look at. It was parked in the grocery store parking lot where I stopped for coffee on the way into work last Saturday morning.

Of course, I wasn't the only guy staring at it, but I was the only to take out his camera and snap a picture of it. The others? Well, they had their camera phones too, I'm sure, but they just couldn't stop salivating long enough to take a photo.

What I really wanted though was a phone number and price but, of course, the owner of this classic isn't selling it anytime soon. After all, it comes from an age when cars were simpler and also built better. That was good, too, because there were no lemon laws back then either.

Nowadays, though, that's not the case. If you've got a lemon, VW or any other kind, call us, toll free, at 888.331.6422, or email us. We know how to make them take it back and give you back your money and we do it for free, no cost to you. That way you can go out and buy one of these.

Wednesday

Used Car Research Getting Easier

Online vehicle research for used cars is getting easier every day. The online title check companies are putting more and more info into their database records for millions of motor vehicles. That will make it easier for consumers to identify wrecked cars that have been rebuilt, flooded cars that have been resold, and car dealers who ply such dangerous "bargains" to sometimes-naive consumers willing to plunk down their hard earned money because they trust people to tell them the truth.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. But it probably isn't your neighborhood car dealer.

Experian is adding new info to its multi million vehicle AutoCheck database on used cars and trucks nationwide. The end result will only help consumers and it will likely spur other online vehicle history sellers to increase their database information too.

The Autocheck data will include the severity of a collision, where it happened, the vehicle area involved, and whether or not airbags were triggered in the crash. That will really help prospective buyers learn the full truth about a vehicle's prior history.

The company says that new records will include some exclusive frame damage records that come from actual physical inspections that occur at auction yards where car dealers buy their inventory, commonly across state lines.

Indeed, the simple fact is that if a consumer has a choice between a database that includes details about prior wreck damage and one that doesn't include it, it is pretty obvious what they will want. The numbers show that 75% of consumers say that whether a vehicle has been in an accident is the most important piece of information that want to know about in an online used vehicle history.

Experian is making a smart move. Carfax and others will have no choice but to do at least as good, if try to one-up them.

If you bought a wrecked used car that was rebuilt, and the dealer didn't warn you before you bought it, that's called fraud. We can help. Sueing car dealers who rip off consumers --- that's what we do every day. Contact us, we can help.

Tuesday

The Danger of Geographic Recalls


In yesterday's blog post we talked about How Recalls Happen and explained the Nhtsa safety investigation and recall process, but the fact is that federal safety investigators rarely force a vehicle manufacturer to recall a vehicle, although they do have to power if they want to use it.

When things get bad enough, the federal safety investigators at Nhtsa can force a manufacturer to recall a bad motor vehicle and they call this a "Defect Petition" or "Recall Petition." If Nhtsa’s position is justified, federal safety investigators open this most serious investigation but the truth is that it rarely gets this far.

Part of the reason is the very conservative position taken on enforcing safety laws by the current and recent Nhtsa regulators. A good example of this less than stellar performance is Nhtsa's decision to allow manufacturers to make regional or "geographic recalls." The concept started in 1985 when Reagan's conservative politicians were in charge but, like any bad idea that gets a toehold, it never really went away. We wrote about this back in 2006, in an article called "We Don't Need No Stinkin' Regulations" and the problem has only gotten worse.

This isn't like the manufacturer's secret warranty programs, which by the way Chrysler has admitted is a cost that is built into the price of every new car and truck even though no one tells you about it and you don't have a right to get what you are paying for. Regional recalls are recalls that are only sent to vehicle owners in one region of the United States, but not to people who own the exact same vehicle but live somewhere else in the US.

By 2002, there had been 37 geographic recalls affecting over 20 million vehicles, and it hasn't stopped. A prime example of why geographic recalls are bad are the Ford Aerostars and Windstars fuel tanks that could crack in high temperatures, causing dangerous fuel and vapor leaks. The stupidity of geographic recalls was at its height here. Ford vans in LA and Santa Barbara county were recalled but not those in Death Valley, where the average yearly temperature was 15 degrees hotter than Santa Barbara.

Federal safety officials at Nhtsa sat by idly and allowed Ford to label balmy Santa Barbara a hotter spot than Death Valley. The same thing occurred with corrosion recalls on the Ford Taurus which covered northern US states but not Georgia and California where the same defect was reportedly the cause of more than one auto accident when corroded subframe bolts gave way. Same thing again with GM tailgates that could drop off trucks.

R.H., in Europe, emailed me today to talk about the GM tailgate regional recall (his sister has a GM S-10 truck). He very accurately pointed out that perhaps the biggest danger with the tailgates was that a person climbing in or out of the truck bed could be severely injured if one or both cables fail while the person is standing on the tailgate. He pointed out that it "must be something like standing on the trap door of a gallows when the trap is sprung ... the acceleration of the fallilng body and the rotation imparted to the body by the sloping off of the door as it falls, and then any abrupt stop when the tailgate hits either the end of its travel, or the bumper, will cause the person to pitch in a way that few would be able to recover from."

Gruesomely accurate I'd bet. At least if the tailgate drops off while driving down the highway, the next driver has a chance to avoid the bouncing tailgate. If you're standing on it when it collapses, about all you can do is get our your hospital insurance card.

The federal law which created Nhtsa treats all vehicles the same regardless of where they are sold or registered. Given the mobility of our society, that makes good sense. Geographic recalls help manufacturers save money for Wall Street investment groups, at the expense of your safety and mine. And Nhtsa bureaucrats let them get away with it.

It's time to stop. Write Nhtsa, 400 Seventh St. SW, Washington, DC 20590 and complain. Tell them you don't want to buy a used car in your home town that didn't get recall work done on it just because it was licensed somewhere else at the time the recall was announced. Write your congress person too.

The more you complain to Nhtsa and your congress person, the more likely it is that someone will finally listen and change the system. After all, you are the person paying for this recall system.

If you've got a bad vehicle with a problem the manufacturer won't fix, recall or not, contact us. We can help. It's what we do. Everyday.

Monday

How Recalls Happen

The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration is the federal agency responsible for investigating unsafe motor vehicles in the US. Often working quietly to investigate and analyze vehicle safety issues, their dedication to protecting the public often goes unnoticed until a vehicle recall is announced.

But recalls are just the proverbial tip of the investigation iceberg, so to speak.

There are 4 levels of investigation for Nhtsa safety investigators. The lowest level is the "Preliminary Evaluation" which starts after enough consumer complaints or factory service bulletins occur to suggest a safety defect may exist. It usually last about 4 months and if the issue looks serious, the results of the PE investigation go "up the ladder."

The second phase of a federal safety investigation is the "Engineering Analysis" and it is the final phase of any informality. Here the data from the PE is closely examined to see if a potential safety defect is so serious that a recall should be required. This part usually takes about a year.

Obviously, during this whole time the manufacturer is aware of the investigation process because they are required to provide responses to Nhtsa requests for more information. Direct dealings between those people often tell the manufacturer where the investigation is headed and how likely it is that it will get to a recall point.

Often the manufacturer will try to head off the seriousness of the problem by announcing the recall themselves, which also serves as a public relations move to brag about their self-proclaimed concern for public safety.

When the manufacturer announces a recall, it still isn't over with though because Nhtsa's safety investigators will then pour over the recall announcement to make sure that the scope of the recall is proper, the recall work is being doing timely, and that the repair work described by the recall will fix the defect involved. If federal safety investigators seriously question if the recall is adequate, they start a "Recall Query." This is where they investigate whether or not the scope of the recall should be expanded or if the factory's fix is adequate.

Finally, if Nhtsa safety investigators think the factory is ignoring a defect, or the factory won't cooperate with what Nhtsa thinks is the proper scope of the recall or the repair work really needed to fix a defect, Nhtsa can file to investigate a safety defect "on the record" or to investigate whether a manufacturer has successfully carried out a recall. They call this a "Defect Petition" or "Recall Petition." If the Nhtsa position is justified, federal safety investigators open this most serious investigation but it rarely gets this far.

Part of the reason is the very conservative position taken on enforcing safety laws by the current and recent Nhtsa regulators, but that's a story for another day. The point is that federal safety investigators are supposed to be watching out for you, but that may not be the case after all.

One thing is for sure. If you've got a bad vehicle with a problem the manufacturer won't fix, whether they recalled it or not, contact us. We can help.

Sunday

Dodge Nitro Blowing Up?

You have to wonder why Chrysler makes so many models that compete with each other, instead of with other brands, and just how long can that kind of marketing survive?

Take the Dodge Nitro. It competes with the Jeep Liberty. Then there's the Chrysler Sebring competing with the Dodge Avenger. The Jeep Commander competes with the Grand Cherokee. And the Chrysler Aspen competes with the Dodge Durango. That may be one reason the Durango's sales have slid down 30% this year.

While job security for union workers is important, all this duplication with stale products isn't economically healthy for the Cerberus-owned stepchild.

We predict that sooner or later something's gotta give. One or more of those duplicate models is going to be cut from the Chrysler lineup. It has to because Cerberus is all about money and plugging up the duplicate holes in the dike is one way to stop the bleeding of the cash from the Chrysler cow.

Cerberus is no dummy. They know that they need new designs and models to catch the public interest again if they are going to make money in this business. And making money is, like we said, what they are all about.

So, when Chrysler abandons your car, and the parts have to be back ordered to fix your defects, just remember that 30 days our of service can make your car a lemon. Then you can get it replaced with one of those newly designed models. We can help when the time comes. Sueing car dealers and manufacturers is what we do. Every day.

Saturday

Chrysler Creates Customer Advocate Job


In an effort to learn something about customer care from the Japanese, Chrysler has created a new "customer advocate" job and hired a man from Nissan to fill it.

Doug Betts is the company's new chief customer officer. Have you got a lemon? Then write down this guy's name because he's who you should argue with. And when you get the runaround from this guy, call us and we'll take over dealing with him.

Betts was the VP of customer satisfaction for Nissan North America before taking on the new job at Chrysler. Chrysler's Vice Chairman, Jim Press, says Bett's job will be a liaison between Chrysler customers and executives to deal with "quality issues" and Betts will be reporting direct to VP Press.

So, if you've got one of those 81,000 recalled Jeep Wrangler or Dodge Nitro vehicles that stall, call Betts. If you've got one of the PT Cruisers recalled for having "fly off" windows, call Betts. If you've got one of the Chrysler Pacifica vehicles being investigated for fuel tank punctures, call Betts.

What? You say you don't know Betts' phone number? Neither do we. Seems he's out there somewhere ... we just don't know where!

Got a lemon? Get a Burdge attorney. We may not get ahold of Betts, but we will get ahold of Chrysler! If you've got a lemon, don't go it alone. Call us, 888.331.6422 Toll Free from anywhere. Or email us today.

Friday

BMW Airbags Investigated


Does a lit up air bag warning light mean anything? Well, it probably does if you're driving a BMW.

BMW has long been a brand that tried to communicate key concepts to its customers. Excellence, engineering quality, sporty --- these are just a few. And then there's safety. That's where the vehicle air bag system comes in.

Federal safety investigators have opened a "preliminary evaluation" investigation into several BMW models due to front passenger air bag malfunctions. The suspect models include the 2005 and 2006 5 Series, 2005 525I, 530I, 545I, 745I, 745LI, 760I, 760LI, and the X3, along with the 2006 & Series and 750LI.

Apparently some air bag malfunction renders the air bag inoperative. About 66,000 vehicles are being involved in the safety investigation.

A Preliminary Evaluation is the initial phase of a NHTSA safety or defect investigation and is almost always the result of numerous consumer complaints or manufacturer service bulletins that suggest a safety defect may exist. A service bulletin is often the formal notice a vehicle manufacturer sends to its dealers, telling them that they have found something going wrong in their cars and what the dealer should do about it.

The results of a PE determine whether the investigation will be upgraded to an Engineering Analysis or closed. The Engineering Analysis is the next step on the road to a recall. Most PEs are resolved within four months, but not always.

BMW has issued at least one technical service bulletin for the affected vehicles that related to improper illumination of the air bag warning light and the passenger air bag status lamp.

If your vehicle's air bag warning light is lit up, call your dealer right away. And don't take "could not duplicate" for an answer either. Air bag systems are mandatory in new cars sold in the US and there's a good reason for it. Make sure your's works right. It can be a deadly defect if your air bag system doesn't work just when you need it. And in Ohio, like many states, the manufacturer only gets one chance to fix a deadly defect. After that, your car's a lemon.

That means you complain once and if the dealer doesn't get it fixed on the first attempt, you've got a lemon and you may be entitled to a free new car or your money back. Your choice.

If you've got a lemon, don't go it alone. Call us, 888.331.6422 Toll Free from anywhere. Or email us today.

Making manufacturers take back badly built cars and trucks --- that's what we do every day.

Thursday

Forbes Quotes Burdge

In a recent article, Forbes website ran an article called "10 Ways to Outwit a Car Dealer" and quoted Lemon Law attorney Ron Burdge discussing the secret ways car dealers make money off customers, including "Dealer Reserve."

That's a practice many banks and other lenders have used for years to basically bribe car dealers to send consumer loans to them by giving them a kickback that is based on the amount of the interest rate that the dealer puts in the finance contract.

"Most people don't realize it but the interest rate on that loan the dealer sets up for you is usually a number that the dealer itself picks out and often it is based on how much of a kickback they can get from the bank," says Burdge.

The Forbes article is full of other car dealer slang terms, many quoted from Ron Burdge's Car Dealer Dictionary found online by clicking here. It makes for interesting reading!

Don't let a car dealer rip you off ... and if you already has, then call us, 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. Sueing dishonest car dealers and lemon manufacturers is what we do. Every day.

Wednesday

The Car Toilet Has Arrived

Stuck in rush hour traffic and have "to go"? Well, Japan's Kaneko Sangyo Company has the answer for you!

They have developed the first toilet-in-a-brief-case for those times in your car when Mother Nature calls and you can't get to the next rest stop in time. No, folks, I'm not kidding.

Kaneko is a big plastic car accessories manufacturer in Japan, where there must be a lot of traffic jams I guess. Japan's Kyodo News is quoting a company official on the invention as saying, "The commode will come in handy during major disasters such as earthquakes or when you are caught in a traffic jam."

It comes complete with a window curtain to keep out the prying, envious eyes of nearby drivers, and is small enough to fit inside a suitcase. It's made of a cardboard toilet bowl that you can hurriedly assemble when needed. All you do is fit a water absorbent sheet inside the bowl, pull the curtain around you, and you're all set to go, so to speak. Of course, there's a plastic bag for quick and easy disposal.

Good grief. I just don't know whether to laugh or feel sorry for those Toyko drivers ...

Monday

Recall Parts Shortage at Ford


Apparently “parts is parts” ain’t necessarily so. At least not at Ford.

Ford has admitted that it does not have enough repair parts on hand to fix all the 1.25 million passenger cars it recalled for a deadly cruise control switch fire hazard.

Worse yet, Ford says the parts won’t be available until late 2007, even though they were all promised to be out by early October. I guess the moral of the story is that your Ford needs to always be driven near a fire station?

In August 2007 Ford recalled some 3.6 million cars and trucks, ranging over a dozen models plus that were built between 1992 and 2004. It was just another in a series of recalls during the last 8 years of what now amounts to more than 10 million vehicles because of engine fires that safety investigators say are linked to the cruise control systems in Ford trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles.

If you’ve got a Ford or Lincoln Mercury car, your parts are in short (or nonexistent) supply. But if you’ve got one of the popular and hotter selling Ford trucks or sport utility vehicles? Well, guess what? “Them parts we got” seems to be Ford’s answer because there have been no supply problems for parts for the recalled SUVs and pickup trucks covered by the recall.

So, if they’re a slow seller, Ford apparently will get around to fixing them when they can. But for the bread and butter profit building vehicles, Ford’ll get right on it! How’s that for taking care of all your customers, folks? Yes, Virginia, blue oval sometimes makes lemons.

Meanwhile, Ford dealers are installing a fused wiring harness into the speed control electrical system as part of the recall just as fast as they get the parts and as fast as they can get the customers in.

Vehicles that are affected by the Ford parts shortage include the 1992-1997 Lincoln Town Car, 1992-1997 Ford Crown Victoria, 1992-1997 Mercury Grand Marquis, 1993-1998 Lincoln Mark VIII, 1993-1995 Taurus SHO and 1994 Mercury Capri.

If you’ve got a flammable Ford lemon, don’t put up with “no problem found” and don’t put up with “no parts yet” either. Call us. We know what to do because we’ve been doing it to Ford (and all the rest of the manufacturers whenever they build a lemon too) since 1978. It's what we do.


Burdge Law Office
www.BurdgeLaw.com
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons Since 1978