Tuesday

What bad economy? Car Sales are at a 2 year high point

It's getting better in spite of what "they" keep saying.
The economy appears to be heading up in spite of the doom and gloom from politicians and dismal failings of some college football coaches. Enough of the bad news, folks. We can talk ourselves out of this recession or we can talk ourselves in a deeper one - it's up to us.

The good news is that housing sales are actually up in many parts of the country. Employment numbers are also holding or going up too, including locally in Dayton, Ohio. Black Friday was a boon to retailers. Cyber Monday was super to online merchants. The Federal Reserve just reported that the total consumer debt load is down - and now comes word that auto sales, which drive major parts of the American economy, are up for the last six straight months of year-over-year gains according the The Detroit Bureau. And not only are more cars and trucks being sold, but consumers are paying higher prices for them too - a sign that they can afford it again?

It was Wall Street and Detroit that crashed the economy two years and both appear to be well into the black now and the rest of the economy is moving up too.

Numbers from Chrysler, Ford and GM all show increases in sales. The survey people at JD Power & Asc, who monitor auto retail sales, also reported the increase.

Maybe it's time for all the politicians to leave America alone so it can fix the economy without the bickering sideshow that Congress puts on the network news every night? Maybe, just maybe.

But they are still building cars and some of them come out as lemons, so we're still here too.

Burdge Law Office
Because life's too short to put up with a lemon

Friday

Tips To Help You Avoid Buying A Lemon

We don't often do guest posts but here's a very nice article from Isabella Woods, a professional writer for numerous websites and publications. She's got some great tips on what to watch out for so you don't get a lemon when you go car shopping.

You’ve heard of people buying lemons - not in the food store, but in the auto dealer’s sales showroom. You might have been lucky up until now, but when you hear the stories of how some people have suffered, think about getting some help before your next car purchase – just in case it’s a lemon. Here are some tips that will help you avoid difficulty.

Pick Your Favorites and Research Them

Tip one is to do your research. Google will show you page after page about the types of cars you plan to look at. Some cars have much worse records than others. Search for the worst lemons and avoid all of those in the bottom half of the table. Choose a vehicle that has a good reliability record. There are charts and data on all brands of cars. If a certain manufacturer is always recalling cars, it might be time to take them off your list.

If you’re buying from a used car dealer, the Federal Trade Commission rules state that every used vehicle should have a buyer’s guide clearly attached to the window. You will know if you’re buying purely as seen, or whether a warranty is included. If you’re buying without a warranty, the cost of anything that goes wrong with the car from the day you drive it away from the showroom, comes from your wallet.

Take a Walk Around the Vehicle

Sometimes damage isn't as obvious as this: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Damaged_car_door.jpg

That's why you need to take a slow walk around the vehicle. You’ll be looking for anything out of the ordinary – do all the body panel gaps line up perfectly? Do you see anything broken or replaced by parts that just don’t look right? For a video of how we spotted one wrecked car by looking it over carefully, click here.

Want to know if the previous owners used their driving school insurance to have the car resprayed (which alerts you to accidents)? Look out for paint that has been sprayed over the line and lands on chrome or rubber trims.

Check that all the moving body panels – doors, hood and trunk – fit perfectly. Use a magnet around the car. If it doesn’t hold onto the metal, there might be body filler lurking behind.

The Inside is Just as Important

When you look inside, go straight to the pedals. If they are worn, it will be a sign of a high mileage vehicle; don’t rely on what the milometer says.

A general look around the interior will help you know if the car is feeling worn out. Are there any missing knobs and are the handles original?

Checking the seat belts, can you see melted fibers? This might be evidence of a front end collision. Belts not in 100% pristine condition will need replacing.

Water smells, perhaps mildew, are especially difficult to erase. They may be a sign that the car has been flooded or suffers consistent water leakage. Walk away now.

How Good are the Tires?

Obviously you can change the tires easily, but there are some tell tale signs of problems you can look out for. Aggressive driving can affect the whole car. To spot this, you’ll see heavier wear on the exterior shoulder by the sidewall. If the tires are worn unequally, you’ll have to look further into brake, suspension or steering problems.

Steering Clues

When it's time to test drive, look out for these clues. When driving normally, the car shouldn’t pull to one side or the other. If it does, you may have a worn steering gear. Steering wheel shake can tell you to look into the vehicle’s suspension frame. If this has been bent during a collision, it will cost you.

Under the Hood


Most people won’t know what’s good or bad under the hood, but there are a few signs you should be wary of even before a mechanic looks over the car.

Of course most engines won't sparkle like this one:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1978_March-Triumph_F3_car_engine.jpg

But it ought to be pretty clean. There should be a lack or corrosion and the engine and battery should be grease free. The oil should be slick and not too thin. Any metal particles will show you it’s time to move on.

After the vehicle has been running for at least ten minutes, check under the hood to see if the engine sounds better or worse than when you started it. This is also a good time to check that gear changes are smooth.

Finally, "bounce the car" (by leaning or pushing hard on one corner of the body and suddenly letting go) to see that it bounces once or twice. More and you will know the suspension may be suspect.

If the vehicle passes all your tests, it’s time to call in your mechanic to check it thoroughly. The expense will save you hundred of dollars over time. After all, you wouldn’t want to buy a lemon, would you?

Isabella Woods is a professional writer for numerous websites and publications. One of her very interesting articles was published at US Daily Review raising the question Should Inventors and Innovaters be Compared? It's an interesting discussion contrasting the contributions and style of Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison and well worth the read.
 
Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers protect themselves everyday

Thursday

ABC News explains the Yo Yo game car dealers play on consumers

Noting that tomorrow the Federal Trade Commission starts considering a new regulation to stop unfair and deceptive car dealer fraud tricks, ABC News has an alert on their website with a nice video explanation of the Yo Yo scam that many car dealers use to trick consumers with their "gotcha" tactic.

If you don't know what a car dealer's Yo Yo scam is - then find out before it bites you in your wallet.

And if you've been victimized by what one car dealer on the ABC News video admits is a sinful and unfair tactic, then call us. Helping consumers get their money back is what we do. And we make the car dealer pay us for it too.

Burdge Law Office
Because it isn't fair to get cheated out of your money

Learn more car dealer slang terms by reading the Online Car Dealer Dictionary
Want to know what fraud legally means? Check out http://www.carfraudsales.com/

Tuesday

What cars have the highest repair bills?

One hand fixing the other
CBS News released a report on Monday which shows what cars have the fewest and least expensive repairs. In spite of the recall beating, Toyota took the top spot with its 2009 Corolla. Hyundai came in second.

The report covers model years 2001 to 2011 and looks at repairs that occurred in the last year. The report came out of CarMD originally, apparently, which is a service aimed at letting car owners know what is wrong with their car and what repair costs for problems ought to be.

CarMD based its data on mechanic info they say and not the owner survey reports that Consumer Reports gets from their reliability survey.

Luxury brands were generally worse, even though you'd think they'd rank better than non-lux brands.

You can check how reliable your car model is at CarMD's website, click here.

As for Toyota, taking the number one spot in this survey comes in the shadow of the latest Toyota recall - which hit the Avalon, Camry, Sienna, Solara, Highland and even its Lexus ES330 and RX330 and RX400h, all for model years 2004 - 2006. The latest recall is for a faulty crankshaft pulley in V6 engines which can lead to loss of power steering. Continuing their policy of apparently trying to keep recalls quiet as long as possible, Toyota isn't telling owners about this recall because they don't have an adequate supply of replacement parts, according to a report in the Christian Science Monitor on Nov. 9.

Check out CarMD to see what repairs cost for your car before you fork over big money, so you don't waste your money.

And if you've got a lemon Toyota and the dealer isn't helping you out, call us on our Toll Free Toyota Lemon Law Hotline at 1.888.331.6422 or email us right now. We know how to get their attention. It's what we do, getting rid of lemon cars and getting consumers back their money.

Burdge Law Office
Because life's too short to drive a lemon

Thursday

Thank Someone Who Served

A few years ago, a local farmer came in to see me for some help. Bills and crop prices and debt had him over a barrel and we talked about bankruptcy and what it could and couldn’t do to help relieve his situation. He was a big strong man, the way some farmers just naturally are, both in his heart and his size. We were about the same age but he looked so much older.

His situation took about 5 months to get resolved but I will never forget the day that I learned that he was a chopper pilot in Vietnam about the same time as my older brother, Larry, was there. I had no clue and never would have guessed.

We both stopped what we were talking about, his own current problem, while he looked out the window and quietly talked about what it was like then, back in Vietnam. It was hard for me to look at this older and much heavier man and try to imagine what he must have looked like back in the days of 1966-'68. Now, he was mostly bald and probably weighed a lot more than he did back then, but like me he had been young once too. Now, he didn't move as quick as he undoubtedly did in 'nam either.

But you could tell from the distance in his eyes as he spoke that he had never really left it all behind him.

He talked about what it was like to fly a chopper in and out of valleys and hills and fire, dropping down as quickly as he could and picking up a wounded soldier or two and getting back out of there, wherever "there" was, as fast as he could. Nothing but plexiglass between him and the bullets.

He said he loved flying helicopters then, but that he was never in his life as scared as he was in those few minutes between the time just before he would land and when he was back out of the worst of the fire. He said they were the longest minutes of his life. He called it dodging a lifetime of bullets, scared to death that one of them had his name on it.

He had a dusty old baseball cap in his hand as we talked. It hung loosely in his hand as he gazed aimlessly out the window. It was from some team that didn't really matter, I'm sure. His eyes were never in the room with us as he calmly and matter-of-factly talked of how men died around him and also of those who came back like him.

You could tell he had memories he wished he didn't have. He said the worst feeling he had from the whole war was that every time he'd lift off the ground he knew that while he was getting out of there, he was leaving other boys behind. He'd fly away, his heart pounding loud in his chest, while the fighting went on below him.

After a long while, he stopped talking and we just sat there, not talking at all. I could see that things were going on inside his mind and I just didn't know what to say. I was dumbstruck by this seemingly now-gentle giant of a man who had been through hell. Truth be told, I didn't think I had a right to say anything at all. After what seemed like the longest time, both of us returned to the present moment. He never spoke about it again.

It's been years now. I don't even remember his name. Probably most of the guys he saved didn't remember it either. I haven't thought of him since then until my older brother sent me a recording he found on the internet, called God's Own Lunatics (click below) that explained what it was like to be one of those foot soldiers on the ground. I clicked on it, listened, and the memory all came back to me.

I recall that he was the son of a local farmer who had gone off to war and came back all grown up - to be his father's son, a farmer again. Something about beating your swords into plows seems appropriate for me to end this note but it also seems so trivial a thing to say. I can still recall his face.
We all owe veterans a whole lot more than any of us will ever be able to repay. If you know someone who served, shake their hand and thank them. You don't need to say why. They'll know.

Tuesday

Credit Records and Credit Rights, an FYI Word for Consumers


Akron.com, a news outlet on the internet for the Akron Ohio area, recently published an article on Credit Rights and consumer rights about their credit record, authored by Dayton attorney Ron Burdge and now being circulated by the Ohio State Bar Association.
"Most consumers have no idea who can legal access their credit records," said attorney Burdge. The news article lets people know the answer to that question and lots more.

The state bar had not published any articles for the public dealing with credit rights and credit record information, Burdge's website on credit rights, OhioFairCredit.com, explains federal laws dealing with protecting your credit, monitoring your credit rating, how to get a free copy of your credit record, and more - so you can protect your good name.

Burdge has written other aritcles distributed by the Ohio State Bar Association to newspapers and media state-wide, including warranty rights and Rv lemon laws and other consumer protection laws.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers fight fraudsters