Monday

If you think your vehicle will never be the same after a collision repair - you're right. Most folks ...

Most folks don't realize just how much they have lost when a crash occurs. Many think that the insurance company will pay to fix the car and then they are financially back where they were before the wreck. Wrong.

Paying to fix the damage to a car only fixes the damage to the car - there is more to it than that.

To learn more about the truth about auto repairs and how you can still lose hundreds and even thousands of dollars after the repair work is done, check ou SafeCollisionRepairs.com.

The simple fact is that a wrecked and repaired car is not worth as much as a never been wrecked car. Car dealers know it. That's why they look for signs of repairs when you trade in your old car, and that's why they don't tell you about prior repaired damage when they sell you a car - and that can leave buyers victimized even more.

So when you go shopping for a used car, you have to be watching out to protect yourself. No one else will help you avoid that bad buying decision. Well, there is one guy we know of.

David Williams is an independent expert on cars and values and he knows how the value of a car is wrecked when the car itself is wrecked. If your car has been damaged and is getting repaired, you need to realize that even when it gets fixed, that wreck can still show up on a Carfax or AutoCheck or even sometimes on the factory's warranty record where they will "block" it from any more warranty coverage because of an accident.

When you go to trade it in, your dealer will likely find out about the damage and repairs and that means they will very likely offer you less for it. So not only does your vehicle lose value when the accident occurs - it loses it again when you go to trade it in. It's called "diminished value." But all is not lost. After all, that's what you have insurance for, right?

Problem is, many insurance companies certainly don't tell you about diminished value and they don't offer to pay it for you either. One victim tried to explain it to their insurance adjustor and concluded that it was a lot like trying to verbally explain something "to my dog" who obviously wasn't listening either. MSNMoney, and lots of others, note that a wrecked-repaired car just isn't worth as much anymore.

 Still Ohio courts have recognized that your insurance covers it and your insurance should pay for it.

So why doesn't your insurance company offer to pay you for the diminished value of your car after it's been repaired from your accident? Well, folks, the simple truth is that the insurance companies don't buy those tall buildings in your downtown city because they are paying out all they should on their claims.

Check it out. SafeCollisionRepairs.com is the place where you can learn about safe auto repairs and your right to collect diminished value after an accident and repair. After all, you pay for insurance to cover you so make sure it does.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers protect themselves every day.

Tuesday

How Car Dealers Make their Money might surprise you - the profit mostly comes from everything else

Once upon a time there was a mega-dealer in Columbus that sold more cars and made more money than anyone in the county. Then it was the region. Then it was Ohio. Where are they now and who’s #1? Well, apparently it isn’t the guy with the guitar anymore.

The new Ward’s Dealer 500 List is out, listing the top 500 dealers in the nation, and Jeff Mauk is smiling. He’s the guy who owns/runs Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Worthington, Ohio. His dealership hauled in over $122 million last year, putting him at #73 in the nation and the rough numbers from Ward's tell you a lot.

48% of the money came from new vehicle sales and 38% from used vehicle sales. But when you count the iron (that’s dealer talk for the vehicles themselves) 38% of vehicles sold were new and 62% of them were used. It takes a lot more used cars to make a buck apparently.

But over $3 million of gravy was cooked in the F&I office where the sales staff (they call it the business office - it’s where your financing is arranged and set up) sold soft add-on’s like service contracts, GAP insurance, credit life and disability, etc. You can take quite a few extra vacations on three million, folks. They’re called soft add-on’s because they don’t really add any “hard” value to the vehicle itself and a lot of folks doubt that they are worth the high prices most dealers charge. You can read about car dealer slang terms on this web site dictionary here.

But Maxton Chevrolet isn’t really trying apparently because they were #73 on the list and the dealership that was #72, just once notch higher, was The Andira-Winton Chevrolet dealership in San Antonio and their F&I staff processed a lot less sales, nearly a thousand fewer vehicles, but made over TWICE as much money selling those soft add-on’s.

It’s like we said before - selling cars is like selling movie tickets - the real money is at the refreshment stand. And in the car business, the extra profit (made with little real cost of what’s being sold) is in the F&I office. Not coincidentally, that happens to be where a lot car dealer sales fraud occurs too.

Smoking paperwork, packing deals, menu selling and other buzz words that basically mean ripping off the customer. Be careful you don’t become an auto sales fraud victim. You can learn how to buy a used car and not get ripped off by reading this Avvo.com Legal Guide here: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/how-to-buy-a-used-car-and-not-get-ripped-off

Remember: most car dealerships only has one goal and that’s to get as much of your money as possible. You should also have just one goal: to get the best deal you can without paying anymore than you have to.

Oh, and that guitar playing brother whose dealership used to be #1? They aren’t even on the Ward’s Dealer 500 list now.

Monday

When you give the factory "one more chance" to fix your lemon, you can lose

We've noticed an unusual number of calls from lemon car owners who aren't sure if they should give the manufacturer or the dealer another chance to work on their lemon car if they already fit the lemon law. They wonder if they should wait while the factory works on a "fix" that's is in the works or enforce their legal rights now.

The answer is now. And there's good reason for it.

After all, if they haven't been able to fix it so far, there's no reason to think the dealer will suddenly discover the cure for your lemon car ills. Most of the time, the dealer and the factory are really try to stall and delay you. The days can turn into weeks and the weeks into months. So why do they try that? And what's wrong about letting them do that? Plenty.

First, your warranty is running out on you while you wait. And the factory knows it. Once it has expired, manufacturers often argue that it's too late - even when the only reason you were strung out so long is because you were waiting for the dealer or the factory "rep" to call you back for that "fix" to finally get done. They blame it on you - and it isn't really your fault at all.

Second, not going back in the shop can create the impression that everything was fixed. They argue that since months went by without you complaining then there must have been nothing wrong that whole time. "It's fixed now" they say with a straight face, even though you know it isn't true. The truth is, they know it too - they just don't care.

Third, you have nothing to lose by starting your lemon law claim now with us. The warranty claim "department" is not the same people who are supposedly waiting on "the fix" for your car - so you have nothing to lose by starting your claim right now. You might as well let us start your lemon law claim now so that we can work toward getting you out of your old car and into a new one or getting your money back. In many consumer cases, the "fix" never comes at all and even when it does it might not happen for months, if at all. 

Fourth, if you wait until later, it takes that much longer for the warranty claim people to get your claim processed. Often, it is months before the so-called "fix" repair process comes down to the dealer (even when there really is a repair announced) and by then you could have your lemon law claim processed and be driving your new car. Sit and wait or get in your new car - which would you rather do?

Fifth, while you are waiting, you may be stuck using the vehicle. We know you don't want to, but the simple truth is that most folks can't afford to just park their lemon and go out and buy another vehicle (new or used) and make TWO loan payments. So you are stuck having to use your already-a-lemon car or truck while you are waiting for the dealer or factory representative to call and give you the "good news" about the "factory repair" authorization that you've been waiting for. 

And if it never comes? or it doesn't work? Well, then you've got hundreds of more miles on your car by the time you finally give up. The factory lawyers know that means that they have a better chance of getting away with paying you much less than you deserve.

"After all," they claim, "you got a lot of miles out of that car so it couldn't have been that bad." Yeah, right. Continuing to drive your lemon car or truck lemon, while waiting for them to call you, can reduce the amount of money you have a right to get back. They know that and they are betting you don't know it. Don't let them fool you.

And then, there's the legal concept of "waiver" and the factory attorneys love that one. Waiver is an idea that factory lawyers dreamed up. They claim that you knew what your legal rights were and you decided not to enforce them and to instead give the factory another chance to repair your lemon car anyway. It's a legal defense that most states may allow a defendant motor veihcle manufacturer to use to avoid having to do anything at all for you. They sneak up on you with it and it can cost you big time money in the end.

There's lots of other reasons, some legal and technical and others just plain practical. But the simple truth is that if you don't protect yourself then you can be sure the factory won't.

That's why we're here. Don't let the manufacturer of your lemon car or lemon truck take advantage of you. We can protect you and get you the maximum amount of refund in the quickest time. After all, there's a reason vehicle manufacturers don't like us. And we're okay with that because we work for you - not them.

If you've got a lemon and you are getting nowhere, don't wait for that promised "fix" to arrive months from now. By then you could be in your new car - a car that runs right. Call us on our toll free number, 1.888.331.6422 or email us right now.

Why? Because life's too short to drive a lemon.

Getting rid of lemon cars and lemon trucks is what we do.
Everyday, for over 25 years.

Ford loses $2 Billion Judgment - sued by its dealers

Ford, which argues long and hard over having to buy back a lemon car, and then nickels and dimes its customers over every penning of the refund, just lost big time in a case where it was sued by a group of its dealers.

A $2 Billion judgment was just granted against Ford Motor Company in a class action case filed by a group of their truck dealers who found out that Ford was cheating them on truck prices.

And the Ford dealers, who have long said that they need a mandatory arbitration in their consumer contracts so that consumers can't sue them (the dealers), have a special law that allows them to sue manufacturers like Ford and it is illegal for manufacturers to put binding arbitration in their dealer contracts. But you? The dealer would just as soon stick it to you, folks.

$2 Billion. Well, folks, now you know what a binding arbitration clause is worth. It's what keeps a consumer from being able to do anything about it when a car dealer rips them off. But Ford couldn't use a binding arbitration clause to keep from getting sued when they ripped off their dealers - so the dealers were able to go to court and prove their case and win.

But you? Car dealers don't want you to get into the court house door and they will do anything to stop you - including slipping into your contract paperwork a binding arbitration clause.

So what can you do when a car dealer tries to slip an arbitration clause into your deal? Don't sign it. Take that ink pen and put a great big "X" over it.

How bad and one-sided is binding arbitration?

Well, if you sign the paperwork to buy the car and it's in there, and on your way out to the car to drive home, the salesman comes out after you with a baseball bat and beats you up - you can't take them to court. The public won't find out about it because arbitration is a secret non-public process where the company that the car dealer hired (and pays regularly for its arbitration "decision") will have you come in and tell your side of the story and then they will listen to the car dealer and its people tell their side. Then it will make a decision on what they think should happen and mail it to you later.

All of your legal rights will be decided quietly and privately by an "arbitrator" who gets paid by the dealer to make the decision on what the dealer should have to do for you. Who's side do you think the arbitrator will be on when you say that the sales person lied to you?

It's why we say arbitration sucks and you can find out more at www.ArbitrationSucks.com. You can change it by writing or calling your US representative and telling them that you want them to support Frankel's bill to ban arbitration, called the Arbitration Fairness Act.

You shouldn't have to give up your right to protect yourself - just to buy a car to get to work.

Chinese buy control of Saab - well, they own everything else already anyway, right?

Swedish car maker Saab has been struggling for months to survive - in fact, ever since GM dumped them after the GM bankruptcy - and things are still shaky, but now there's a white knight investor to the rescue. Well, actually a Chinese knight, sort of.

Last week Chinese car company Pang Da agreed to buy a 24% stake in Saab. Now comes word that a Chinese auto builder, Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co., as signed a deal to buy a 29.9% stake in Saab. The result? Chinese ownership of control.

Is China taking over the world by simply buying it up, piece by piece?

It took $352 million, but the two Chinese companies appear to have taken Saab over and the only thing left is for the blessing of Chinese and Swedish bureaucrats. And they don't have much choice about it since without the Chinese money Saab's doors will very likely stay closed. Still, CEO's say it will take several months before it's a "done deal."

It's all a bit too much like that commercial making the rounds about the US debt that China has also bought up.

Not only are the Chinese buying companies, they're building them here too. In Spartanburg, SC, a Chinese company is opening up a factory on land that cost only 1/4 what it would for land in Shanghai and will power it with electricity that costs 4 cents per kilowatt hour compared to 14 cents in China - without the Chinese brownouts either.

Are they are buying up the rest of the world because the world is cheaper than China? Maybe.

It's all a twisted maze of tax credits, cheap resources vs costly resources, and a lot of politics. But for unemployed and underpaid workers in places like Spartanburg, it just means jobs.

Same thing in Corpus Christi, TX where the largest-ever Chinese built factory is about to open, one billion dollars later.

It seems that the most common reaction is that of a 47 year old who had been laid off before a Chinese company bought his American employer's facility. "Just because it's a Chinese owner, they don't really care," said Scott Henderson, "They're all happy to be working 40 hours a week."

The Chinese have bought or started up at least 50 companies in the US, according to CNNMoney.com recently.

And what does it all mean? Smarter people than us will have to figure that out. Why? Because all of us are just trying to make a living day to day. But you can be sure that someone else has their eye on the long range plan - we just don't know whose plan it really is.

Thursday

Saab opens manufacturing plant - and gets shut down again - it just never ends

Saab just can't seem to get it up and running as the money continues to run out. Last month it made a deal with China's largest dealer network that promised to refuel the Swedish automaker with badly needed funds to reopen its plant, according to thedetroitbureau.com.

The Hatai Group from china had agreed to buy up 29.9% of Saab but Chinese bureaucrats nixed that deal.

Then along came Pang Da, China's largest dealer network, which made a deal with Saab to buy 24% of the company. That would effectively pour millions of dollars into the company just when it needs it the most and open the Chinese market to the Swedes. But the same Chinese bureaucrats haven't okay'd the deal yet.

Meanwhile, Saab is drying up. They had started production back up on May 27 only to have it shut down in a matter of days, even though they received "an initial payment" from Pang Da. Saab spokespersons are only saying that the money situation "is tense."

So, folks, if you're thinking of buying a used Saab, don't count on being able to get any replacement parts. The way things are going, those parts are likely to end up being made in China.

Got a lemon car or lemon truck? Don't put up with it. If your dealer won't help you, call us on our toll free line, 1.888.331.6422, or email us at info@ohiolemonlaw.com.

Getting rid of lemons is what we do. Making the manufacturer pay our attorney fees - instead of you - just comes naturally to us.

Wednesday

Cash for Clunkers goes to China as the world's largest auto market clogs in smog


Can you teach an old Chinese dog a new American trick? Maybe, according to TheTruthAboutCars.com.

Because of their population base and the ratio of cars to people, China is the world's largest automotive market. And their big cities are choked up with traffic and the smog it produces.

In spite of that, and after years of double digit sales growth, April numbers saw China's sales drop 14% and that has Chinese bureaucrats worried because numbers for May are apparently even worse.

So worried that China's Ministry of Commerce borrowed an American idea - cash for clunkers.

That program let US auto owners trade in their older cars for newer ones and get up to $4,500 bonus money. Well, the Chinese are calling their cash for clunkers program "early retirement" for vehicles. They are offering between $1,700 and $2,800 for old vehicles when new ones are bought.

The "early retirement" program also covers farm vehicles and buses and heavy duty trucks and is intended to avoid an economic slowdown that can hurt the Chinese auto industry which, like America's auto industry, largely fuels the national economy in China, according to TheDetroitBureau.com.

In the US, analysts say the cash for clunker program caused an extra 625,000 vehicles to be sold that would not otherwise have happened and the Chinese are hoping to duplicate it or do even better. There were plenty of critics around for the US program but in China, where the press and the people are far more tightly controlled, there isn't a critic to be found.

Who knows - if they sell enough of them, maybe we'll open a lemon law office over there. Meanwhile, if you are over here, and you've got a lemon, we can help. Getting rid of lemon cars and lemon trucks is what we do.

Monday

Home owner forecloses on Bank - justice in Florida

From WFMY News, out of Collier County, Florida comes this report of true justice.

Seems Bank of America filed foreclosure papers on a home that was owned by a couple free and clear - no mortgage, no loan, no debt and certainly no bank mortgage.

You'd think the bank could figure that out when they got the court papers from homeowner Maurenn Nyergers' attorney, but no. the bank still went to court and the home owner's won.

More than that, the judge then ordered Bank of America to pay the legal fees of the homewoners, saying it was a wrongfully filed foreclosure. Five months later, the bank still hadn't paid up. So the couple's attorney did exactly what the bank threatened to do.

He executed on the bank - sending the sheriff out with a court order to seize the bank's assets - the desks, computers, copiers, filing cabinets and cash in the teller's drawers.

The attorney, Todd Allen, told CBS that the bank ignored his calls and letters. Naturally he had to take action so he did. You can see the tv news video by clicking here.

The sheriff padlocked the bank and after an hour or so, the bank manager handed over a check for the legal fees the bank owed.

Now, folks, that really is justice. Attorney Allen said that he often sees bank making errors because (in the rush to foreclose) they often don't investigate adequately and it makes for a long and costly fight for the innocent homeowner.

We seen and heard of more and more cases like this where banks and their collection lawyers make mistakes. For instance, one of our Ohio clients got foreclosure papers served on him for a house in Florida that he never heard of. He's never even been to Florida, let alone bought a house there. In spite of numerous letters and emails and phone calls, the bank and their foreclosure lawyers then dropped him out of the lawsuit only to serve him all over again a few months later. Now he has a claim pending back against the bank.

Big banks make mistakes when they rush their foreclosure papers thru and when their foreclosure lawyers have so many files to handle they can't keep them straight. Frankly, it is likely that only when the bank has to pay for their mistakes that they will learn to slow down before they mess up more people's lives.