Thursday

Is it Identity Theft or a Bank Robbery?

Okay, so you get a call from the bank saying your identity was stolen and they took the money out of your account. Is it identity theft, or is it really just a bank robbery?

Of course, the bank says it's identity theft and it was your money that got stolen. On the other hand, your money is still in your pocket. The money you gave the bank to hold onto, though, is gone. So, isn't it really just a bank robbery? How did that get to be our problem instead of the bank's problem?

Here's a link (below) to a great comedy spoof explaining the whole thing. By the time you get finished listening, you just might wonder too.

Is it Identity Theft or a Bank Robbery? Click here. Then you decide.

Burdge Law Office
Helping people protect themselves, even from the bank, every day since 1978.

The Cash for Clunkers Car Dealer Rip Off

Some car dealers are having consumers sign "waiver" forms that say if their trade in doesn't get "approved" for the Cash for Clunkers program, then the consumer will pay the dealer the difference. Well, now the government is telling consumers not to do it.

Bloomberg News is reporting that the U.S. Department of Transportation is advising consumers taking advantage of the "Cash for Clunkers" program not to sign contingency agreements promising to pay back up to $4,500 if dealers don’t receive payment from the government.
No contingency agreement is required to participate, the Transportation Department, which administers the $3 billion Car Allowance Rebate System, is reported to have said on its Web site.

To enable its dealers to get more money out of consumers, the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association apparently posted a form on its Web site that car dealers can use to make new car buyers reimburse the dealership the incentive amount if the dealer is unable to obtain the credit from the government "for any reason." The consumer can also return the car to the dealership and pay "a reasonable charge" for use of the new vehicle, according to the form.
Consumers signing the agreement also acknowledge their trade-in vehicle may have been destroyed and can’t be returned. The result? You sign and you're stuck. You give them back the new car and get zippo in return.

Be careful with this Cash for Clunkers program. We are hearing stories of car dealers getting consumers to sign everything and then calling the consumer up days later and saying their trade in wasn't "approved" for the program and now the consumer has to either come up with more cash or return the new car and (surprise, surprise) the consumer's trade in is already been sent off to the crusher and can't be returned.

The whole thing reminds us of the spot delivery yo-yo "your financing wasn't approved" rip off scam where the only thing that really wasn't approved was the amount of greed running rampant at the dealership.

The simple fact is that if the car dealer does it right, they should know immediately whether or not you will get approval and a credit. So don't trust any car dealer who calls you back and wants more money down, no matter what the excuse.

If you think you're the victim of a Cash for Clunkers rip off, call us. We help consumer protect themselves every day. It's what we do.

Burdge Law Office
Because someone needs to be on your, side for a change.

Tuesday

The Rip Off Introductory Rate Scam

We've come across a Rip off Introductory Rate Scam that we are seeing several motorcycle dealerships using. Since several dealers are doing the same thing in different areas, the source of the problem is outside of the dealership itself. Maybe it's at GE Money Bank? Maybe they aren't the only ones doing it either.

Here's how it seems to work and what happens later because of it.

Dealers advertise a "come on" low monthly payment for a brand new motorcycle and maybe they say it's an "introductory" rate for 2 years or maybe they don't. The part they don't seem to tell the buyer is that the payments are paying interest on the loan balance only. Dealers seem to routinely give the same sales pitch. They sell the buyer on the idea with something like this: "most people trade their bike in every two years, which is how long your payments will be low, so you'll be able to afford it and come out okay when you trade it in before the payment goes up."

What they don’t tell you is that if all you pay is interest then after two years you still owe the same amount on your motorcycle that you started out with but your bike isn't worth the same amount any more. The result?

You can’t trade it in and break even because it isn’t worth what you bought it for, which is also what you still owe on it. But now you're faced with a sudden jump in your required monthly payment amount.

At end of two years, the interest rate jumps to a much higher rate and your payments can triple or quadruple, so you can’t afford the payments then either. You are stuck in a loan that you can't afford and if you try to trade in your bike you can't get enough to pay it off either.

This introductory rate scam virtually forces you to trade it in and either come up with a down payment you weren't counting on or else "roll" the debt off the old bike and onto the new loan for the new bike. In other words, you go deeper in debt on the next bike. Do that a couple of times and you can't get out of the loan alive. In other words you will be stuck in a debt rut.

If you are thinking of buying a motorcycle and your dealer tries to sell you on this rip off introductory rate scam, be extra careful. The paperwork we've seen is confusing and misleading and the dealer's sales presentation is slick and smooth. If you aren't careful you will never know what happened to you until two years later when reality sinks in.

And the worst part? The strongest consumer protection law that most states have (they are called "Udap" laws) usually has a 2 year time limit to file a claim in court. So by the time you find out you are really stuck, your legal rights have already expired.

Gee, does anyone think that's a coincidence?

If you are the victim of this rip off scam, don't wait to find out your rights. Talk to a Burdge attorney now.

Burdge Law Office
Helping bikers protect themselves since 1978.

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