Sunday

America's Worst Warranty


Don't buy a new Hyundai. That's our advice.

That new Hyundai comes with an ugly surprise buried away in the fine print of your glove box manuals. If you buy their new car, you give up your Constitutional rights. No kidding! If your new Hyundai turns out to be a lemon, you may not be able to go to court to make them take it back.

The new Hyundai warranty manual contains a binding arbitration clause. Under the new vehicle limited warranty section, there is a section that takes away your state's implied warranty rights and a binding arbitration provision. The arbitration clause says that all warranty claims, including claims related to the refund or partial refund of your vehicle purchase price can only be decided by private arbitration through the NAF or American Arbitration Association. Those are a couple of private companies who take money from big business and then agree to decide who is right when a consumer thinks they bought a lemon.

Let's see if you got that right. Hyundai pays them money to decide if Hyundai should have to buy back your car or pay you money for the trouble you had with it. Gee, do you wonder which side the arbitrator will lean toward? Well, I don't.

We've talked about this before and how these private arbitration companies have a lucrative deal going for themselves and how consumers can easily get ripped off by these things.

Well, Hyundai must have figured it out too. America's best warranty plan? NOT.

What can you do?

First, don't buy a Hyundai. Hit them where it hurts.

Second, if you did buy one, immediately write a letter or send Hyundai an email that says "I hereby revoke any consent to arbitration. If I have a problem, I want my court rights." And send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. After all, you have to be able to prove you sent it or they can say they never got it.

Third, write you state governor, your Congressional representative, and your US Senator and tell them that you want them to make it illegal for companies to put an arbitration clause in their warranty. You have to make it illegal.

And the next time you hear someone say they are thinking of buying a Hyundai, stop them. After all, friends don't let friends buy a Hyundai. You shouldn't have to give up your legal rights just to buy a car. It's downright unAmerican.

If you've got a lemon, don't put up with it. Complain, complain and complain. Then email or call us, 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free.

Getting rid of lemons is what we do. We help consumers every day to get rid of their lemon cars and trucks and motorhomes. Why? Because life is too short to put up with a bad car.


Burdge Law Office
www.UsLemonLawyers.com
Helping Consumers Protect Themselves Since 1978

Wednesday

Rate Your Car Dealer


Ticked off by the way a car salesperson treated you? Do you want to warn other consumers? Here's your chance. Maybe.

We wrote about car dealer complaint web sites awhile back (click here to see the earlier blog) and back then we had high hopes for MyDealerandMe.com. They had just started up and we thought now would be a good time to check back and see how things were going.

It looked like their intentions were to give consumers a place where they could complain or praise any car dealer they had experience with and that would help keep dealers honest and warn potential buyers of bad dealers to avoid. Well, maybe, maybe not.

The web site is not very intuitive and you have to guess where some things are. It is more than a little hard to find those reviews that consumers post. Don't give up though, you have to "locate your dealer" first and then go from there.

But even with a minor difficulty finding your way around, MyDealerandMe.com is still better than having nowhere to go at all. Maybe they'll improve things. For now, if you've got a gripe about a car dealer, post it. You've got nothing to lose. But if they get back to you in an attempt to "mediate" or help work out your complaint, be suspicious and be careful.

DealerRater.com is another dealer review site that is pushing its wares lately. Their web site is certainly easier to find the starting point where your dealer is and it's probably there somewhere. That's their problem, though: it looks like ALL car dealers are listed even though the vast majority have no comments posted about them at all.

So the index (which is really just a listed of possible pages where all the dealers are alphabetically listed) can easily be 50 pages long. Since there's no hint on where the "F" dealers begin and where the "M" dealers are on the list, you have to guess. You end up wandering through pages trying to find the listing for the dealer you want to comment on and, guess what, you probably will get bored and quit. That doesn't help anyone.

Both of these sites have a great idea and just need to polish it up. A consumer needs to be able to find their dealer's listing fast, no more than 2 clicks would be best. And if the dealer isn't on the list already, there needs to be a quick and easy way to add a dealer to the list. After all, car dealers come and go, some faster than others.

For now, these websites are worth at least taking a look at, but don't plunk down your hard earned money based on anything you see there. You just might be reading a review that was written by one of the salespeople who are working there.

Meantime, if you've been lied to by a car dealer, or ripped off by a salesperson, don't put up with it. Email us or call 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free for our free help.

Life is too short to always get caught short. We can help you fight back. Helping consumers fight back is what we do. Everyday.

Tuesday

Discord with Honda Accord

What's going on with Honda? Quality was always king at Honda, but things sound like they're slipping. The good looks are there with the new Accord, but owners are complaining.

Variable Cylinder Management. Now that's a mouthful and it may be a mouthful of trouble for Honda. The system is on the 2008 Honda Accord Sedan with the V 6 engine. The system is supposed to "activate and deactivate" engine cylinders to maximize fuel savings and energy when it's needed.

The car's computer basically tells the engine whether to run on 3 or 4 cylinders or 6, depending on your driving needs at any given moment.

Of course, if the engine runs on less than 6 cylinders the engine can get noisy from cylinders that turn but don't fire. So the computer also "fires" what some people think of as "white noise" designed to mask the abnormal engine noise.

Only problem is, there are reports this isn't working, in spite of Honda's claim that as the engine moves up from 3 to 6 cylinder operation "this transition between the three operating modes is completely seamless and goes unnoticed." Yada yada yada. Right, guys. Tell that to Accord owners.

Accord owners are usually a rabidly loyal bunch but seem to be lodging complaint after complaint that the system doesn't work and that engine noise is excessive and the vibration is excessive. Honda's answer? "We're still looking into it..."

One owner complained of the noise that, "You can almost hear a shutter like a bad tire or as if you opened a rear window only to get that annoying ear drum thudder everyone scrambles on to open a 2nd window and neutralize the air pressure in the cabin."

There's something wrong here. Honda apparently is copying the idea Cadillac had back in 1981 with its 4-6-8 cylinder engine that was supposed to also put some cylinders on "hold" when they weren't needed. That model ended up on the list of the worst 50 cars of all time. Deservedly so we think.

The GM Cadillac was such a lemon that it was named the
Titanic of engine programs. The cars jerked, bucked, stalled, made rude noises and generally misbehaved until their owners gave up on them.

These part time engines may be a good idea, but they just aren't there yet. 27 years after Cadillac tried it, and after several years of tinkering with it, Honda and a few others appear hooked on a bad idea. It all sounds like some engineer's idea of how to max the mpg numbers by fiddling with the mechanics instead of just plain improving fundamental mileage numbers.

Meanwhile, you and I are paying for all this mechanical guesswork with higher car prices.

If your Honda Accord doesn't know how many cylinders to run on, and you can hear it trying and failing miserably at it, don't put up with it. Take it back and complain. If they don't fix it, take it back and complain again. If that doesn't work, take it back and complain again. If it still isn't fixed, well, 3 chances to fix and it becomes a lemon in Ohio and many other states too.

At that point you have a right to a refund or a new car (but don't get another one of those crazy engines). If they won't give it to you (and they probably won't) it's time to call us. Don't put up with stall and delay. Don't put up with any runaround. Call us and we'll get it done.

Helping consumers protect themselves is what we do. It's all we do. Got a lemon? Email or call us at
1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. We'll get it squashed for you. After all, life is too short to put up with a lemon!

Burdge Law Office
www. Burdge Law .com
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemon Cars and Trucks Since 1978

Click here to find out what your Lemon Law says.

Monday

Auto History Trivia


It's good to read Good. The magazine. Not only is it always interesting but your small subscription cost is donated by the company to your choice from a list of charities. So you too can do good just by subscribing to Good magazine.

This month's issue had an interesting graphically illustrated "century of motoring" history. Here's some of the highlights of the auto industry and motoring in America.

1908 Ford's Model T was introduced and achieved 21 miles per gallon. No computers. Big, heavy engine. A crank start. And 21 miles per gallon. Amazingly, the average car nowadays gets less than that per gallon.


1911 The first Indy 500 race takes place in Indianapolis. Built in 1909, its owner decided from Day 1 that there would only be one race a year on the track and the winner would take home the largest winner's award in racing. It worked. That first winner averaged just over 74 mph.

1912 Traffic signals were invented and put in use. In a bare 4 years, folks, traffic got that bad.

1920 The first Rv was built and sold, ushering in an industry that today numbers in the millions. The quality of that first travel trailer was so bad that no known photos exist of it or its remains.

1926 The cigarette lighter introduced.

1930 The first car radio installed. The Motorola radio retailed for $110 on up but buyers thought it was well worth it. After all, it drowned out all that motor noise.

1933 The first drive in theater opened. Now you could smoke, listen to the radio, and go to the movies without ever leaving the comfort of your own car. Ahhh, modern times.

1940 Air conditioning put in the first car. Now drivers could be comfortable on long drives too.

1945 Cruise control invented ... but it would be decades before they would become common place.

1948 Power windows invented. And we're not talking Red 'n Green's cordless drill power windows either.

1956 First car phone created in Sweden. It weighed 90 pounds. Not exactly portable. See all those guys leaning under the hood? They're probably installing it.

1965 Ralph Nader publishes Unsafe at Any Speed, launching the consumer protection movement.

1968 Air bag invented ... again it would be years before they would become common. In the meantime, countless thousands of lives would be lost while car makers said they were so expensive that they were just not worth it.

1975 Catalytic converters became standard to cut back emissions.

1984 First seat belt laws passed.

1992 Humvee released for civilian ownership. Gas was cheaper then too.

1997 GM creates and leases to consumers the EV 1 electric car, saying the cars show the way to the future and pledging that everything about the car will last and be recycled for years into the future. Owners love the fact that you just plug it in and it goes right on by every gas station on the road. Oil changes are gone. So is that loud noise under the hood. But within 6 years GM would take them all back and crush them, while consumers begged GM to sell them the cars and not crush them. GM ignores the pleas. A black mark on GM that still hasn't been erased.

Cars are part of America's culture. They drive the economy. They are the reason our society is mobile. More importantly, they are the reason that parents and children, grandparents and grandkids can easily spend time together.

For a generation, the auto industry has convinced us we can rely on the cars and trucks they build to get us to work and to get us home safely. But when your new car breaks down, they break their promise. If America is to become a manufacturing giant in the world again (and that won't be easy), manufacturers have to learn to step up and accept responsibility for what they build and sell.

So how do we get them to do that? Believe it or not, big business listens to only one thing. The almighty dollar. Air bags languished for years while Detroit fought installing them for one reason or another. It was only when lawsuits starting claiming that a good design had to include air bags that manufacturers listened. When it costs too much to do something the wrong way, big business will do things the right way.

So don't put up with a bad car or a bad truck. If you want to make America strong again, do something about it.

Burdge Law Office
www.BurdgeLaw.com
Helping Consumers Get Their Money's Worth Since 1978


Find out what your state's Lemon Law says by clicking here.

Saturday

Dear S- - - face Collection Letter is Over the Line

You think you've heard of some pretty pushy collection calls and letters from aggressive bill collectors? Well, this one takes the cake.

A collection agency tried to collect a $16.96 debt with a letter that addressed the alleged debtor as "Dear S - - -", meaning a four letter word for excrement except that the word was spelled out in the letter. The letter itself was put in an envelope that was addressed to "S--- Face."

Nationwide Collections of Ft. Pierce, Florida bought about 350,000 old Columbia House accounts and promptly fired off demand letters for payments of pidley amounts like this one. For its part, Nationwide Collections says that all the letters were automatically generated by a computer and this one happens to be the name on the account. Yeah, right.

Under federal law, debt collectors are not allowed to use profanity to collect a debt. That's true whether the harassment comes in a letter or over the phone. Either way it's wrong. Federal collection laws were passed to require bill collectors to treat you with respect, whether you owe the money or not --- and sometimes (like this case) you may not owe the money at all.

There's a lot of "old" debt hanging around that banks (already hurting from their stupid greedy predatory mortgage practices) are dusting off and selling to collection companies like this. Why? Well, a couple of pennies for each dollar can amount to a lot of money for doing nothing but handing over a computer disk with data on it. Is it all really owed? The bank's answer might just be "who cares?"

The debt buyer (often called "bottom feeders" in the collection business) pay only pennies for the right to collect the debt because they know that most all of it is uncollectable. But they also know that harassment (legal or not) can turn those pennies into dollars from people who can't prove it was paid off or from people who just don't want to put up with the phone calls and nasty letters. So, they make money.

And true to form, as long as they can make money at it, you can bet collection companies will do it. But every once in a while they go too far.

So what can you do? You can either get a really thick skin and just live with it, or you can sue them to make them leave you alone. If you owe the money and they harass you, you might also be able to get them to finally wipe out the debt completely too. At the very least, you can make them treat you reasonable and fair.

Oh yeah, and you can make them pay you $1,000 just because they did it. Oh yeah, plus your legal costs too. Why did Congress pass that law? To keep piranha bill collectors in check because Congress knew the bill collectors could get crazy on you and that might drive more people into bankruptcy which, in the long run, hurts the economy even more than it's already hurting.

If bill collectors are harassing or abusing you, leaving messages at work, telling your neighbors you owe them money, or doing anything else that is unfair to you or illegal, call us Toll Free at 1-888-331-6422 or email us today.

Sure, we sue car dealers who lie to people and manufacturers who don't stand behind their warranties too. But when bill collectors are harassing you, we can make them respect you and treat you right again. Heck, we might even be able to make them go away for good.

Burdge Law Office
www. US Credit Rights .com
Helping Consumers Protect Themselves Since 1978

This story came from the Associated Press, via an article recently posted on msnbc.