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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 ...


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
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons Since 1978

Ford's Dumb Diesels

Ford's Navistar diesel engines appear to be a disaster looming in the near future for thousands of consumers. Navistar started supplying Ford with 6.0 liter diesel engines for its 2003 model year and now the internet is littered with engine complaints by unhappy owners and suspicious diesel mechanics. Apparently with good reason.

In fact over at (a forum only open to registered Ford diesel technicians) there was posted a video of a 2008 Ford Super Duty pickup truck shooting flames from its tailpipes. No one is saying where the video came from butit's pretty shocking to see a truck throwing flames while in idle and even more so when the engine is revved up.

The danger was so bad it resulted in Ford recalling 33,000 of the '08 F-250, F350, F-450 and F-550 trucks.

Early on the problems were blamed on the engine's ECU computer which controlled the engine and Ford reprogrammed it but consumer complaints didn't go away..

Fuel injectors and injector controller harness problems surfaced and replacing injectors started being talked about. Water in the fuel line started to be complained of and people wondereed about the fuel filtration system. Then it was the fuel pump and oil pump.

As miles began to pile up on the diesel Ford trucks, the consumer complaints piled up too. The worst problems seem to come between 40,000 miles and 80,000 miles. Numerous customer complaints resulted in the Auto Channel detailing the horror stories and factory excuses.

That was compounded by diesel fights between Ford and Navistar over who was to blame, resulting in an ugly lawsuit and reports that Ford had spent over a billion dollars in warranty repairs and reports that Ford had told Navistar it wouldn't buy diesel engines from them after '09.

Things got uglier with warranty chargebacks and production halts as the money fight got big. Navistar claimed Ford owed it $2 billion and that Ford was bound by contract to keep using Navistar diesel engines. Several times the fight's intensity went up and down, with claims and counter claims adding to the insults. All the while Ford's highly profitable F series of trucks was put in danger.

Then it all stopped. In fact, some of the web site pages dealing with the feud have even disappeared. Are things suddenly cozy again between the two auto giants? Not likely...

Meanwhile, thousands of diesel F series owners are driving around with the danger of flaming out like a jet, leaving me wondering if the garage burning down is next?

If I owned a 2008 Super Duty with the 6.4L Power Stroke engine, I'd be calling Ford to not only reflash the engine management system but to also inspect the injectors and turbos. Who knows what problems are coming down the pipeline...

If you've got a diesel Ford, you might want to think about getting rid of it. Or maybe increasing the insurance coverage on your garage? If you've got a Ford lemon (after all, that oval isn't always blue), call us, 888.331.6422, or email us right now,

No matter where you live, we can help. We're on your side, here to help you get even.

Burdge Law Office
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Flaming Fords Since 1978


Toyota Down, Subaru Up, Go Figure

In a stunning upset, Toyota reliability fell below both Honda and Subaru in the Consumer Reports reliability report just out.

In fact the Toyota quality is such a problem right now that Consumer Reports director of auto testing bluntly said that Toyota and Lexus, the brand's luxury vehicle line, "don't get a 'pass' anymore."

CR's results are based on actual consumer owner surveys done last March and even Toyota that the CR reliability report "is the best there is. When they say there's a problem, there's a problem." The report is so devastating to Toyota that they quickly put out a staged "interview" to downplay and blunt the effect of the bad news, which you can watch by clicking here.

Another surprise was that Ford's quality left GM and Chrysler in the dust, as it continued its 5 year run up in improvement. Ford saw 93% of its models score at least average or better reliability, while GM only hit 49% and Chrysler came in at 67%.

Toyota was dragged down by known problems with its Camry line, including the V-6 transmission where customers are complaining about harsh and slow shifting. TheToyota Tundra's four wheel drive system has seen its share of owner complaints too. But Lexus, that's supposed to be Toyota's gold plated luxury brand. What's going on?

The Lexus GS all wheel drive sedan's audio system and power accessories are apparently irritating Lexus owners to the max. After all, they are used to years of experience of reliable and trouble free operation. They may be a picky lot, but they pay for the right to be that way too and many of them think that Lexus is getting sloppy.

Meanwhile, over at Ford, the blue oval is smiling big.

It's Fusion and Mercury Milan were among the top reliable family cars according to CR. And you can bet that Ford won't waste any time getting reprints of the CR report into its dealer showrooms either. Consumers are widely aware of the inherent honesty and integrity in whatever Consumer Report surveys say, and this one won't be an exception.

According to the survey, the most (and least) reliable cars are:

1. For small cars, Toyota Yaris is tops (Dodge Caliber is bottom)
2. The best family car is the Toyota Prius (while the Chevrolet Impala bottoms out)
3. For upscale luxury, it's the hybrid Lexus GS 450h (the V8 Cadillac STS is at the opposite end)
4. In the small SUV category, the Honda Element squares off at the top end (the Dodge Nitro blows up at the bottom)
5. For mid size SUV, the Toyota Highlander rises holds the crown (kicking the Land Rover Ranger Rover in the grill)
6. The best large SUV award goes to the Toyota Land Cruiser (the behemoth Chevrolet Suburban 2500 lugs along)
7. The wagon-minivan category award goes to the Pontiac Vibe and finally an American brand shows up on the list (while the Chevy Uplander is way down there)
8. And last but not least, in the pickup category the V8 2 wheel drive Toyota Tundra wins (while the Cadillac Escalade EXT loses)

Did you notice it? In spite of its fall from grace, Toyota still manages to claim 6 out of 8 categories.

And in the loser column? GM grabs 5 shameful titles while Chrysler gets two last place awards and Ford's Land Rover brand gets shafted with one "loser" award.

If you've got a lemon car or truck, a lemon SUV or minivan, call us. We can help you get back on the winning list again.

Burdge Law Office
Helping Consumers Squash Lemons Everyday


Lexis Investigation Launced by Safety Investigators

Federal safety investigators have launced an investigation into complaints of unwanted acceleration of 2007 Lexis ES and the ES350 vehicles. Previously the investigation was at a lower level "preliminary evaluation" stage. Now, it's much more serious ... there's a recall afoot.

Dozens of Lexis owners have complained to safety investigators at the National Highway Safety Transportation Adminstration (the same people who are in charge of vehicle recalls) that their Lexis ES and ES350 model vehicles can accelerate uncontrollably. Nearly 99,000 vehicles are involved in the federal government's investigation.

Some inside Nhtsa's Office of Defect Investigations department blame the existence of an unsecured floor mat that can trap the throttel pedal in an open position. Whatever the cause, it's dangerous. And the federal government finally decided to get a recall going. The problem is apparently so massive that some vehicles in the Camry line are being included.

If you've got one of the Lexis vehicles, make sure your floor mats are securely attached to the floor with factor clips. If your car doesn't have any means of attaching the floor mat securely to the floor carpet, then remove it. Take it out of your car and call your dealer to complain.

For the cost of Lexis, problems like this shouldn't happen. If you've got a lemon Lexis, or a lemon Camry, and your dealer can't or won't take care of it, call us. We know what to do and how to do it.

Cadillac Investigation Launced

Federal safety investigators have launched a "preliminary evaluation" safety investigation of 2003 thru 2006 Cadillac CTS, CTS-V and STS models covering about 353,000 cars.

Owners claim the rear differential fails often, causing loss of power and rear wheel lock up dangers.

The 2006 Cadillac CTS was recalled once before for fuel shut off computer problems and other Cadillacs have seen recalls and service bulletins. The Cadillac suv was recalled, along with many other GM sport utility vehicles, recently and GM has seen more than its share of recalls.

If you've got a lemon Cadillac, drive carefully. Be alert to the dangers being investigated by federal officials. If you've had a loss of power problem in your Cadillac, and your dealer isn't taking care of you, call us. Sueing car dealers and manufacturers is what we do. Every day.

Burdge Law Office Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons Since 1978


Jeep Investigation by Feds

Federal safety investigators have opened a "preliminary evaluation" safety investigation of 2005 Jeep Liberty and 2006 Jeep Liberty and 2006 Jeep Liberty 4x4 vehicles powered by a 2.8 liter 4 cylinder turbo charged diesel engine.

The National Highway Trafic Safety Administration is the federal agency responsible for investigating motor vehicle safety complaints. They also are in charge of motor vehicle recalls.

The say that consumers are reporting that diesel fuel leaks and signs that the electrical connector for the fuel heater shows signs of being burned.

Fuel leaks in a motor vehicle are just a step away from a vehicle fire so don't take a chance if you own one of the Liberty Jeep vehicles.

An estimated 20,000 Jeep vehicles are involved in the latest safety investigation. but Jeep has been the subject of numerous other recalls and service bulletins. If you've got a lemon Jeep Liberty, or any other Jeep lemon, be careful. You don't want to go up in smoke while you're going down the road.

Burdge Law Office
Helping People Get Rid of Lemons Since 1978


Recall China?

I can't believe it. After all the Chinese-made toys being recalled for months, now it's gotten down to Boy Scout badges. Good grief!

A plastic Cub Scout badge has been recalled because it, too, is reported to contain excessive lead paint. Since when did manufacturing get so bad in the United States that the Scouts decided to get their merit badges from China? China, mind you!

"Our highest priority is the safety of the boys," said Gregg Shields, spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America. Really? Well where were you, Gregg, when someone was deciding whether to start buying Scout badges from China? This is crazy.

First millions of toys are recalled for excessive lead paint and now Scout badges. Where will it end?

The only good thing is that maybe now people will begin to look for the "made in America" label again. Remember that? Once upon a time it was a slogan for Union clothing makers, but no one was paying attention. Now, even the Scouts are feeling it.

Okay, so the UAW goes on strike every once in a while. No big deal, if anything in the last few weeks shows us, it is that they aren't very serious. But China? Come on! Somewhere along the way US manufacturers decided to save a buck by shuttering US plants and setting up new factories in China. You know. Save a buck and raise the price a buck and the next thing you know, there's two extra bucks profit for the Board of Directors and CEO to get a raise or gold-plate their parachute if the company gets bought out. And who will buy out the company? Probably the Chinese...

So this Christmas, do yourself a favor. Look for the label. You know. The one that says "made in the USA." And think about the jobs you are giving to your neighbors instead of someone in Shanghai. "Made in USA" can mean quality again. Lord knows it probably means fewer recalls.


Thieving Dealers

"I learned it from the boss," might be the excuse some dealership employees have in mind for the latest round of fraud at car dealerships.

According to Wards Dealer Business Magazine, more and more employees at car dealerships are getting caught stealing from the dealership itself. Last year, big time California dealer, Cal Worthington, had two employees steal a big chunk from himi to fund their gambling habit. And earlier this year, a Chief Financial Officer for a Florida luxury dealership was reportedly caught stealing to pay off his own large gambling debts. Apparently gambling is a problem in the car business?

And in New York, the FBI is investigating a car theft ring involving at least two dealerships where they say dealership managers were involved in arranging for the theft of new vehicles to be shipped out to the Dominican Republic.

If car dealership people will steal from the hand that feeds them, what makes you think they won't try to pull one over on you, the customer?

Now is a good time to start being very, very careful when you go on any car dealer's lot. Maybe the first question you should ask is "Been to Vegas lately?"

Burdge Law Office

Helping Consumers Protect Themselves From Crooked Car Dealers Since 1978


Hyundai Sales Slow

GM, Ford and Chrysler aren't the only ones with excess inventory to get rid of. Hyundai Motor Co. halted production at its Montgomery, Ala., assembly plant a few days ago because their dealers already have too many unsold Sonata sedans.

The plant is set to close again on Oct. 12 and Oct. 19, according to Hyundai spokesman Robert Burns. No word on whether or not more shutdowns are planned yet but "We expect the idle to be temporary," Burns said.

It's no wonder since in the first nine months of 2007, U.S. sales of the Sonata model were almost 20 % under the numbers from the year-ago period. As it was, they were already cutting back on the build numbers, with daily production of Sonatas at the Alabama plant down from 711 vehicles in September 2006 to 429 in Sept '07.

Get ready to see rebates coming to Hyundai and dealer spiffs in the offing to move the old iron off the dealer's lots. After all, there's no point in building them if they can't sell them. Wait a little longer and maybe the price will even drop.

Burdge Law Office
Helping Consumers Protect Themselves Since 1978