Tuesday

Great Mpg or Real Life Mpg?

Where did all these high-mileage cars come from all of a sudden?

It seems you can't watch TV, surf the Internet or pick up a newspaper without seeing an advertisement from an auto manufacturer touting a vehicle that gets 25 to 30 miles per gallon or more. If all these thrifty and, by extension, environmentally friendly vehicles are out there, why didn't we know about it before now?

The truth, as always, is in the fine print. We seldom see articles elsewhere that can really help car owners and buyers figure out things, but here's one from BankRate.com that tells you a lot more about those "high mileage" cars and trucks than meets the eye and well worth reading. Click here for more.

Meanwhile, if your new car or truck is getting lousy miles per gallon and you think you've been had, you can do something about it. While it's tough to fight over the mpg aspect when the sticker tries hard to wiggle out of the numbers they represent, if your mpg is drastically off, it could mean that there's a defect or problem with your vehicle that is eating away at your mpg numbers. Take your vehicle back to your dealer and complain. Some variance from the EPA numbers might happen, but you shouldn't be drastically off target.

And if you get the run around from your dealer, remember that the squeeky wheel is the one that gets the grease so keep complaining.

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

Monday

The Boys Club Car Dealership

There's a lot of sexism at some car dealerships.

Sometimes the best way to see what the industry is like is to read what they have to say about each other when one of them gets caught doing what's wrong. Most car dealers run their dealership right, but every once in awhile you come across one that just seems like a Boys Club. That might be the story here.

The New York Daily News and the New York Post are reporting that a 21 year old former dealership employee has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the 84 year old owner of a Long Island, NY Dodge dealership, claiming the owner is just a dirty old man. John Vigorito, 84, allegedly asked her for sex on a recording made by the 21-year-old woman, who asked to be identified only as Desiree.

At another point, Vigorito, who owns Security Dodge in Amityville, allegedly said, "What do I have to do, rape you?"

Pretty stupid, John, pretty stupid. But what beats that is the comments posted by other car dealers to the news report on DealersEdge.com, a car dealer news service where readers (mostly other car dealers) can post their comments. So what did other car dealers say?

"84 and still a horn dog. Hey, he can always claim sinelity."

"Sounds like a set up to me"

"Ohhh and i'm so sure there was no inapropriate behavior or flirting with the 84 year old who is currently single. Probably can not find a job because she has no skills. Remembers an old man looked at her once and says...LETS SUE"

So who is the most stupid? The 84 year old with the groping hands or the Boys Club guys who think it's all a joke? That's a close call.

And you wonder why the service department advisor tells the young woman customer that it's all in her head (that's a true story) or why the salesman takes advantage of the single mother and talks her into more soft add-on's than she'll ever need in life?

If you've been ripped off by a car dealer, email us now or call us 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. We know how to handle car dealers who aren't fair or honest with their customers. We sue them. Everyday.

Burdge Law Office
www.CarSalesFraud.com

Because life's too short to let car dealers rip you off.

To find out more about fraud, click here.

Sunday

244 mpg and 125 mph for 220 miles

Miles per gallon finally matters on Main Street. And it couldn't have come at a better time for Tesla.

We've talked before about high mileage cars that were, for the most part, on the drawing board of lots of independent builders who were scrambling to out-engineer the Big Boys at GM, Ford, Chrysler, and elsewhere.

One of those was Tesla.

The latest government fuel economy ratings says that 2008 model cars and trucks sold in the US will average 26.8 mpg, a bare one tenth of a mile per gallon more than last year. While the big manufacturers cry out in their well-orchestrated chorus that they just can't get more mpg out of their cars and trucks, there's one big number in the report that stands out: 244 mpg. That's Tesla.

In California's silicon valley the gutsy upstart Tesla Motors has come out with an electric sports car that gets a 2008 corporate average fuel economy rating of 244 mpg in the midst of an annual report that sets a goal of only 27.5 mpg. And mpg isn't the only eye popping number Tesla has.

While the Big Three are struggling to get their electric cars to go 50 to 70 miles before having to recharge, Tesla doesn't run out of juice until it passes 200 miles on its way to 220.

And speed? This Lotus-like sports car will scream its way up to 60 mph in only 4 seconds but you may have to hold on for dear life if you don't get your foot off the pedal.

And the best part? It costs only 2 cents a mile to operate. Now with all this going for it, you just gotta know there's a downside, right? Right. It's the price.

All that speed, power and great mpg will set you back about a hundred grand and you have to plop half that down as a deposit on a car you won't see for probably a year, more or less. That sucks, even though it's probably worth it.

Meanwhile, you and me and Joe Average are stuck out here driving around in a Chevy or SUV and wondering how come Detroit can't make one of these for about 30 or 40 grand? A bunch of brainiacs in silicon valley figured it out and at their low production numbers the cost is up there, but why can't Detroit's mass production and purchasing scale knock that price down?

Until they get around to it, if you've got a lemon car or truck, don't put up with the run around. Email us right now or call us 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. We get rid of lemons everyday. That's what we do.

Burdge Law Office
www. New Car Lemon Law .com

Because life is too short to put up with a bad car or a lemon truck.

Click here to see what your state Lemon Law says.

Saturday

"No Tire" Tires from Michelin

What Michelin touts as the next generation of motor vehicle tires was on display at the Philadelphia Car Show recently and causing quite a buzz. No air, no flats, no repair kits, and no stopping them either, here are some pictures.

From an engineering perspective, they are quite remarkable. A band around the outer skin forms the tread surface, supported by an inner deformable wheel and outer flexible spokes.

Now, if only cars could be designed so well.

The new tire design can "curb" the wheel with virtually no injury to the wheel itself, as the flexible spokes give way to the curb pressure.


It's a shame cars aren't built this well. Maybe one day they will be but until then, if you've got a lemon car or lemon truck, click here to email us right now or call us 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. We know how to get rid of car lemons and truck lemons and get your money back or a new one that's built right. Who knows, maybe you can even get a new set of tires for that new car.

Thursday

Hybrid Cars, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Hybrid cars can be wonderful. Great mileage, quiet operation around town, neighborhood envy, low carbon footprint, and great for the environment.

Only one problem: hidden hybrid expenses can cost you an arm and a leg.

There’s two problems here, really. First is the fact that few repair shops have any real know-how when it comes to hybrid repair work and that means having to go back to your dealership for practically anything and everything. Second is the extraordinary cost for virtually all repairs.

If you’ve got a Toyota Camry or Toyota Prius, forget about your local garage. That Lexus hybrid? Get to know your Lexus dealer real well. Honda Civic or Honda Fit, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Silverado and Malibu and Tahoe, Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, Chyrsler Aspen, Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, Mazda Tribute, Saturn Vue Green Line, Toyota Highlander, GMC Yukon, Dodge Durango and Ram pickup truck, even a Cadillac Escalade comes in a hybrid version. Someplace under the hood (or more likely somewhere else) you’ll find both a gas engine and an electric motor which alternately power the vehicle.

Most of the time the mpg factor is impressive. What buyers don’t often realize is that most of the time the incompetency of most mechanics on a hybrid is also quite impressive — and depressive too. It’s bad enough that a hybrid can cost 18 to 25% more than the all-gas version of the same vehicle, but just try getting something fixed at your local corner garage.

Most garages can’t even begin to work on a hybrid. That means you are forced to go back to the new car dealer’s garage for even simple repairs. And that means even simple repairs will cost more. Problem is, even simple hybrid repairs might not get done right either.

We’re hearing more and more consumer complaints about repeat trips to the dealer’s shop for seemingly simple repair jobs that just don’t seem to get done right the first (or second, or third) time.

True, there are a few rare hybrid-only independent shops around like Luscious Garage in San Francisco, but those few that exist are located only in hybrid-intensive big city markets.

Maybe the worst part, though, is the extraordinary high cost of small repairs. Take the case of Michael Yuan’s slow low speed accident where he backed into a wall and ended up looking at an $8,000 repair bill because the repair shop wouldn’t touch the batteries so the car had to make two trips to the Toyota shop for them to be removed and reinstalled and the whole car’s electrical system checked out after the body shop was through with just the body repair work. The final tab? About 4 times normal for a gas engine car. Little more than a handful of states have any independent hybrid repair shop at all (to see the list, click here).

That translates to higher than normal car insurance rates too, folks. One owner complained that their hybrid insurance costs more than double their Ford Explorer, but early reports are mixed.

And if you thought that having a hybrid meant fewer factory defect recalls to deal with, think again. The 2000 Honda Insight was recalled for headlight defects. So was the 2001 Insight. Even the 2002 Honda Insight was recalled. Maybe that has something to do with Honda not making them anymore?

Then the 2003 Honda Civic was recalled repeatedly over exterior lighting and headlight concerns. Recalls kept happening every year and even the 2007 Nissan Altima (for engines) and 2007 Toyota Camry (for airbags) were recalled.

Folks, it looks like the manufacturers just don’t have this hybrid technology worked out yet. Maybe you ought to think twice before you take the hybrid hurdle. It’s a good thing that hybrid cars and hybrid trucks are covered by most state Lemon Car Laws.

Meanwhile, if you’ve got a hybrid lemon, a lemon Honda, a lemon Chevy, a lemon Toyota, or any other kind of lemon hybrid car or lemon hybrid SUV or lemon hybrid truck, don’t put up with the runaround. Email us now or call us at 1.888.331.6422 Toll Free.

Burdge Law Office
www.NewCarLemonLaw.com

Because life is too short to put up with a lemon hybrid car or a lemon hybrid truck.

Click here to see what your state’s Lemon Law says is covered.

Tuesday

Dead Donkeys and Car Dealers

Punitive damages are a necessary part of our society because of Chuck. Let me explain.

Young Chuck moved to Texas and bought a donkey from a farmer for $100.00. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.

The next day he drove up and said, "Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died." Chuck replied, "Well, then, just give me my money back." The farmer said, "Can't do that. I went and spent it already." Chuck said, "Ok, then, just bring me the dead donkey."

The farmer asked, "What ya gonna do with him? Chuck said, "I'm going to raffle him off." The farmer said, "You can't raffle off a dead donkey!" Chuck said, "Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead."

A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?" Chuck said, "I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars apiece and made a profit of $898.00." The farmer said, "Didn't anyone complain?" Chuck said, "Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back." Chuck grew up and works for a car dealer now.

Punitive damages are necessary to punish those few business people who knowingly do something that's just plain wrong and is so bad that they need to be taught a lesson and made an example of. 499 people paid Chuck two dollars and never knew they were ripped off. When the one who found out complained, why Chuck just paid them off by refunding their two dollars.

Meanwhile, by lieing to everyone (okay, technically he just hid the truth) Chuck made $898 profit off the scheme.

That's why just making a con artist refund your money is not enough. You have to stop the scheme and as long as they make money off the scheme itself, simply making them refund your money won't be enough to make them stop what they are doing. You have to go deeper into their pocket because people like that only understand one thing: money. After all, if they understood right and wrong, they wouldn't be selling raffle tickets for dead donkeys.

Same thing is true of a thieving car dealer who you catch ripping you off. The average car dealer fights hard to keep from taking back a bad car. Why? Because there's an old saying in the business that goes like this" "Once it goes over the curb, we don't take it back."

Nowadays, the smart car dealer will argue but then eventually give up and take it back. They argue hard at first to try to avoid taking back the defective car (that's probably a visceral reaction ingrained in the breed, frankly). But if you argue long enough, the smart car dealer will take the car back just to stop your complaining. After all, they know that they can just pawn off the dead donkey on some other guy or gal, who probably won't argue as long or as loud as you do.

And they get away with it. In fact, they make money off it.

Many courts have explained that punitive damages are intended "to discourage others from committing similar wrongful acts." They don't reward the victim for being a victim. They punish someone for being a thief. Why? Because punishment works.

Otherwise, they'll just keep selling raffle tickets for dead donkeys.

If you've bought a dead donkey from a rip off car dealer, we can help. Click here to email us right now, or call us, 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. Helping consumers get their money back is what we do. Everyday since 1978. Oh yeah, lots of car dealers know who we are and what we do, and that doesn't bother us one bit.


Fighting Fraud Since 1978, One Car Dealer at a Time

Monday

Nissan's Rogue Shakes on Down the Road


Nissan's Rogue is a great looking SUV and even though SUV's are getting a hard time over their fuel mileage, the Rogue is getting a hard time over something else. If you've got a Nissan Rogue, or even if you're just thinking about buying one (new or used), be careful.

The Rogue's hard time is over its hard ride. Vibration, vibration, vibration. And lots of internet chatter about it is a warning. Even the New York Times reviewer lamented over the 2008 model's excessive vibration, "I had previously driven two pre-production development models, a step away from cars that would go to customers. It was in the first preproduction model that I noted vibrations through the floor and steering wheel in the 1,200 to 1,500 r.p.m. range. In a second preproduction model, the vibrations were much less noticeable, but still present. So I waited to drive a production version before forming my judgment. It wasn’t long into this drive to Pittsburg that the vibrations started givin’ me excitations once again. They were less noticeable than with the first car, but worse than the second."

So, for $20,000 +, an SUV price that is right, you get all shook up. Folks, shook up at any price is still just plain silly for any car, let alone one from the usually-well-engineered Nissan line.

And what does Nissan say in defense?

Brian Brockman, a Nissan spokesman, reportedly said the vibrations, and sometimes a booming noise, were associated with the way the torque converter lockup clutch, which works to increase an engine’s efficiency and fuel economy, is tuned. He added, “but that was a decision that was made during the development process.”

Oh great. Now you're telling me you made it that way on purpose? C'mon, Nissan, get real.
If the engineering is that bad, don't make it in the first place. If you already made it, then buy it back. At least the 1980's Yugo had an excuse.

If you've got a lemon Nissan Rogue that vibrates and the dealer just can't seem to get fixed, email us right now or call us right now, 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. We know how to get rid of lemon SUV's, Nissan or not. It's what we do. Everyday.

Burdge Law Office
www. New Car Lemon Law .com
Because life's too short to put up with a vibratin' Rogue.

Click here to see what your state's Lemon Law says.

Sunday

Opportunity is Knocking on Detroit's Door. Is Anyone Listening?


Detroit's Big 3 have a unique chance to take back market share and prove American engineering and know how are still King. But is anyone listening?

Like the gasoline crisis of the 1970's, here we are again. And just like it was then, Americans (being the fickle lot we are) are running away from SUV and other gas guzzlers as fast as they can and heading toward gas-miserly, efficient cars again. The cure of choice for politicians in the 1970's gas war was just to import more gas. No one tried to fix the problem.

The problem? Cheap gas itself was the problem. Okay, maybe the American attitude of bigger is better, I'll pay for that tomorrow, conserving and the environment are just not for me ... maybe that was part of the problem too.

But now, Detroit has a chance. Opportunity is knocking again. Maybe this time Detroit's Big 3 will listen.

Building fuel-efficient cars isn't impossible. Plenty of small businesses and entrepreneurs have proven it can be done. Even GM built an electric car, once upon a time. Daimler and Smart proved that an inexpensive fuel efficient car can be built for the masses of people living in big cities and the millions of people living in small town who just don't need to drive that far that often.

So when is Detroit going to get in on the action? With business-savvy investors now in charge at Chrysler, they've got the best chance of taking the lead. GM? It's just too slow with too many chiefs in charge of decision making. And Ford? Ford just needs someone named Ford in charge of everything again. A pretty PR face with a corporate business card doesn't make a dime worth of difference.

Chrysler, on the other hand, has investors and money people in charge. Odds are, they've got the best chance of making the corporate attitude turn on a dime and go after this fuel-conscious market faster than the others. But then again, that's not the real question.

Question is, will the Asians beat Chyrsler to it? Will Prius take over while Chrysler managers meet with committees who meet with managers who meet with committees who meet with ... and on and on.

This is Chrysler's time. If the new owners want to really prove they know how to run a car company, this is their chance.

On the other hand, if they're just in it for the short term profit, then they can follow GM's geriatrics and Ford's flatulence into the sunset. Chrysler is at a crossroad. Let's hope they know it.

Burdge Law Office
www. New Car Lemon Law .com
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemon Cars and Lemon Trucks Since 1978
For Free Help to get rid of your lemon, call us now 1.888.331.6422 Toll Free.

Click here to find out what your state's Lemon Law says.
To find a Lemon Law Lawyer near you, Click here.

Thursday

The "Good Hands" People?

Are you in good hands? Maybe. Maybe not.

The results are in of a comprehensive investigation of thousands of legal documents and financial filings by the American Association for Justice to determine the best and the worst of the insurance companies. Apparently the "good hands" people (who spend a fortune on very well done tv ads) ranks the worst.

AAJ says it based its ratings on what it found to be "a distinct pattern of insurance industry greed"
among ten companies that are reported to do everything possible to avoid paying claims, employ hardball tactics against policyholders, and reward their executives with fat salaries while raising premiums to max out their profits.

American Association for Justice CEO Jon Haber is reported to have said that "Allstate ducks, bobs and weaves to avoid paying claims to increase its profits."

The AAG charges are reported to be backed by thousands of court documents and materials uncovered from litigation and complaints filed with state insurance departments, Securities Exchange Commission and FBI records, and news accounts.

2nd worst? Unum. Indicative of their attitude may be the settlement they struck in 2005 with 48 state insurance commissioners chasing them over their disability insurance and other insurance practices.


3rd is AIG, the world's biggest insurer whose slogan was "we know money." That says it all.

Coming up in 4th place is State Farm, who we have also filed several dozen lawsuits against over their recently publicized practice of selling totaled out cars and trucks on the open market in a way that allowed salvage rebuilders to reconstruct the remains and pawn them off as normal used cars to unsuspecting consumers. State Farm is still in trouble over the Hurricane Katrina claims handling.

Conseco wins 5th place, if you can call it winning, for their handling of long term care policies for the elderly who apparently made it so hard to make a claim that people often gave up or died.

Perhaps most surprising was the treatment given the consulting giant McKinsey, who was hired by at least 3 of the "bottom ten bad boys" of the insurance industry to adopt what AAJ calls "aggressive tactics" in claims handling. Most people never heard of McKinsey, but it shouldn't surprise them that insurance companies hire consultants to help them figure out how to avoid paying a claim.

Not sure how claims-friendly your insurance company is? Let's hope you never have to find out. After all, the insurance companies don't own all those buildings downtown because they are paying claims.

A good example is the first case we ever fought all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court. It was Cincinnati Insurance Company's denial of a $1,000 claim over a used pickup truck. A consumer bought it and got a title in his name and then the truck was stolen from him. He filed a police report and a claim with his insurance company. Turns out some of the serial numbers on the truck didn't match so the insurance company said he had bought a stolen truck so he didn't legally own it himself (even though he had the title) so they weren't going to pay the claim, which was only about $1,000. They fought the case for several years, all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court, losing every step along the way, but holding on tight to the money. Eventually it all came to an end and they had to pay out but the law at that time did not require them to pay the policyholder's legal costs. The law firm got about $500 in fees for fighting a case for several years and spending over $50,000 of time and litigation costs. Why did we all do it? Because it wasn't right.

Sometimes we fight a case for just that reason. What the defendant is doing, just isn't right. In those cases, the only way to stop that kind of consumer abuse is to turn to the courts, dig in your heels, and fight.

Monday

Angry Customer Stabs Salesman

If a car dealer ripped you off, don't take it too far. Use a lawyer.

Police in Manassas, Virginia, report that an angry 66 year old customer went to Battlefield Ford to complain about a car he bought recently and things got out of hand very quickly, leading to the stabbing of the salesman with a butcher knife.

The attacker was quickly subdued by another employee who used to work at a prison. There's even a YouTube posted of the news on a local tv station.

Folks, we don't handle cases that go this far. So if a car dealer ripped you off, leave your knives in the kitchen drawer and call us 1-888-331-6422 Toll Free. Car sales fraud is what we do. Everyday.