Thursday

Soon, You Will Lose More of Your Rights. You Can Stop It If You Act Now.

HB 275 will hurt you
There are more consumers in Ohio than businesses, that just stands to reason. But the Ohio legislature pays attention to where the money comes from. And here they go again. This time, you are about to become the victim.

For 40 years Ohio has had a simple law that said no merchant could do anything that was unfair or deceptive or unconscionable to a consumer. That sounds like a pretty reasonable law. The law stopped crooks from ripping consumers quite so badly, frankly, because when they got caught they would just move on to other states where the law wasn't so strong and they could get away with their thievery more easily. That may end soon.

The Ohio General Assembly has decided that the crooks need a break apparently. So they have created HB 275, a fundamental change to the law, dressed it up in sheep's clothing, and now it's headed for the governor's signature in the coming days. If Gov. Kasich signs it, the thieves will win and you will lose. It's that simple.

The amendment to Ohio law will gut the only consumer protection law in Ohio that makes it illegal for a merchant to commit an unfair or deceptive or unconscionable act on a consumer. Once the word gets out, you can bet that the crooks and thieves who left Ohio for better pickings elsewhere will flock back. But you have one more chance to stop it.

Ohio voters don't have to stay silent while Gov. Kasich considers whether to go along with the big monied lobbies who have contributed time and money to dismantle Ohio's consumer protection law. You have a chance to stop it if you act fast.

Tweet @JohnKasich. Send him a message through the governor's web site. Call his office at 614-466-3555 or 614-644-4357.

Demand that the governor VETO HB 275. It is an anti-business proposal that is anti-consumer too.

If you don't act now, the governor may bow to political pressure from big business donors who are just waiting for the chance to get into your wallet or purse. If the governor does not hear you say VETO HB 275, then it could become law. And if it does, you will lose and the crooks and thieves will win.

It is that simple. Call or email the governor's office today. Just say VETO HB 275.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers protect themselves since 1978.

Hundai Getting Too Big for its Britches?

There just isn't anything quite like a "maybe recall" where the manufacturer will fix some cars, but not the ones that it has already sold, but that's what Hyundai is trying to get away with now. They win. You get stuck. Sound familiar?

Hyundai has announced a recall to fix a bad seat belt design in the 2011 Hundai Sonata and 2012 Hyundai Sonata vehicle line. But there's a catch.

The center rear seat belt mechanism design violates federal safety standards and 13,095 of the vehicles have been sold and delivered to drivers - leaving only about 1,633 still in dealer inventory or unsold. Hyundai has told the federal government's safety investigators that it only wants to fix those 1,633 vehicles. Worse than that, they don't even want to tell the other 13,095 owners about the problem.

So, what do you do? We'll get to that in a minute. First, here's the recall notice, hot off the federal government's press release -

HYUNDAI / SONATA     2011-2012
Manufacturer: HYUNDAI-KIA AMERICA TECHNICAL CENTER INC Mfr's Report Date: MAR 08, 2012
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 12V098000 NHTSA Action Number: N/A
Component: SEAT BELTS:REAR
Potential Number of Units Affected: 14,728
Summary:
 CERTAIN MODEL YEAR HYUNDAI SONATA HYBRID VEHICLES PRODUCED BEGINNING ON DECEMBER 2, 2010, AND SHIPPED TO DEALERS THROUGH MARCH 7, 2012, THAT ARE EQUIPPED WITH A CENTER REAR SEAT BELT INCORPORATING A RELEASE MECHANISM THAT DETACHES BOTH THE LAP AND SHOULDER PORTION AT THE LOWER ANCHORAGE POINT, FAIL TO CONFORM TO FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208, "OCCUPANT CRASH PROTECTION."
Consequence:
 SEE NOTES.
Remedy:
 Hyundai dealers are replacing the center rear seat belts in Sonata hybrid vehicles currently in dealer inventory with center rear seat belts that are not detachable from the lower anchorage point prior to delivery to customers.
Notes:
 HYUNDAI DEALERS ARE REPLACING THE CENTER REAR SEAT BELTS IN APPROXIMATELY 1,633 SONATA HYBRID VEHICLES CURRENTLY IN DEALER INVENTORY WITH CENTER REAR SEAT BELTS THAT ARE NOT DETACHABLE FROM THE LOWER ANCHORAGE POINT PRIOR TO DELIVERY TO CUSTOMERS. FOR THE APPROXIMATELY 13,095 VEHICLES THAT HAVE BEEN DELIVERED TO CUSTOMERS, HYUNDAI MOTOR COMPANY INTENDS TO FILE A PETITION FOR AN EXEMPTION FROM THE RECALL REQUIREMENTS OF THE NATIONAL TRAFFIC AND MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT ON THE BASIS THAT THE NONCOMPLIANCE DESCRIBED IS INCONSEQUENTIAL AS IT RELATES TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY. THEREFORE, THE MANUFACTURER IS NOT OBLIGATED TO CONDUCT AN OWNER NOTIFICATION AND REMEDY CAMPAIGN
Now, what do you do if you are one of the 13,095 owns of the Sonata vehicles that Hyundai does not want to fix and has said it won't fix? Two things.

First, go to your local Hyundai dealer and ask them to fix it. If they say no? Complain. Loudly. Ask to talk to the supervisor. Then ask to speak to the owner. Still won't work?

And second? Call Hyundai at 1.800.633.5151. Busy signal? Call them on their regular phone line at 714.965.3000. No help? Fax them an angry letter at 1.714.965.3861.

Still getting nowhere? Write them a nasty letter about how they don't seem to care about violating federal law and send it to Hyundai Motor America, P.O. Box 20850, Fountain Valley, CA 92728.

Are they responding yet? Then send them a strongly worded email to consumeraffairs@hmausa.com.

Hyundai likes to say that they "stood face-to-face with each and every automotive assumption out there and challenged them all" - well apparently that includes the one about following federal safety laws and building cars safely and fixing ALL of them when something is wrong. Instead, Hyundai appears to say "we'll fix what we want to fix - and you can't make us do anything else."

Are you mad enough yet? Send your letter to Hyundai Motor Company, 231 Yangjae-Dong, Seocho-Gu, Seoul 137-938, South Korea. Or, if you are really mad, call them at +82-2-3464-1114. Don't speak Korean?

Then fax your letter to Hyundai in Korea at 714.965.3148.

Would you rather complain direct to the guy in charge? Address your letter to Chung Mong-Koo, Chairman.

The second in command? Chung Eui-Sun, Vice Chairman.

Motor vehicle manufacturers should not get to choose what cars they will fix and what ones they won't fix - especially when they all have the same problem. Oh, you can also complain direct to the federal safety investigators at NHTSA. They make it easy - just click here and follow the instructions online.

And if they won't? Well, when you've got a bad car, you need a good Lemon Law lawyer. Click on the link below and find one near you.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers get rid of bad cars for more than 30 years.

Wednesday

Should you buy your next car? Or should you lease?

Experts generally agree that leasing a vehicle is almost never the right decision for a consumer, but very often it can be the right decision for a business. Still, car dealers are leasing so many used cars nowadays that it even includes used cars being leased too.

So what makes it attractive? What should you look out for? Here's some advice.

First read our 11 Easy Steps to Your Best Leasing Deal a free online guide that can save you thousands of dollars. That alone can give you tips on what to look for - and what to watch out for too.

Before you sign a new car lease, or a used car lease, here are some things to think through.

How long will you keep the vehicle? The longer you plan on keeping your car, the more likely it is that buying will be a better deal for you.

Lease companies and lease banks don't treat everyone the same. They each have their own lease contract forms and that means different terms, so read it all very carefully. Your dealer most likely can pick from half a dozen lease companies if they want to - and each company gives the dealer a "bonus" for signing you up with them instead of someone else. So make sure you pick the best deal for you and not the most profitable deal for the car dealer. As an example of things to look out for, check to see if they are charging you a "disposition fee" at the end of the lease. That's a charge of anywhere from a hundred dollars to a thousand dollars just to take back the car. And that charge is on top of any excess mileage or damage charges that may also exist.

How much is your monthly payment? The advantage of a lease is most often the size of the monthly payment. It will be less for a lease than for a regular finance contract when you buy the same vehicle. That's because at the end of the lease, you own nothing. At the end of a finance contract, you own the car and you have something that is worth something.

Most important of all, don't get cheated. Be careful about the numbers. Car dealers have a  thousand ways to cheat you and getting you to sign a lease that drains your wallet or purse is just one of them. So-called "negative equity" (a term car dealers invented), is another example. Using the more expensive "money factor" is another. And there's lots more.

There's a ton of other things to think about when you are trying to decide between leasing or buying your next car. More about that is explained on our free online guide Buying vs Leasing - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (click here).

The more you learn, the better you will be at making the best financial decision for yourself and your family, so you don't waste your money. Leasing can be tricky and car dealers can trick you right out of your money.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers protect themselves for over 30 years.
It's what we do.

Tuesday

Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable Accelerator Investigation Launched by NHTSA

Be careful out there. It turns out that Toyota isn't the only one with cars that sometimes won't stop running away on their own.

Federal safety investigators have opened an investigation of "sticky accelerators" involved in the 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2005 and 2006 model years Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable model lines.

Originally the investigation was limited to the 2005 and 2006 model year Taurus vehicle lines.

Apparently there are about 30 runaway complaints by owners and drivers, including one driver who complained, "Wow. The scariest thing I have ever experienced" when their vehicle blasted through an intersection at 70 mph before it could be brought under control.

Other owners have complained of self-acceleration by the Ford-built vehicles. Toyota made its own self-acceleration headlines in 2009-2010, but the number of complaints to federal safety investigators has risen steadily since the late 1980's, reports The Detroit Bureau.

Got a lemon Ford Taurus?
Want a new Ford Taurus?
Want your money back?
Get Justice.

Monday

How Car Loans Rip Off Consumers

Think getting your car loan set up by the selling dealer is a good deal? You better think again.

The Center for Responsible Lending has a terrific (and short) Car Loan Quiz that will shock you about just how much money consumer car buyers lose to car dealers who set up the financing for their customers.

No matter what your score is on the Car Loan Ripoff Quiz, your eyes will be opened.

Take the quiz by clicking here.

You can get more advice about cars, secret warranties, buying and leasing tips, and much, much more, by clicking here.

The Center also has a free online Car Loan Calculator that can help you avoid being overcharged. Click here.

The moral of the story is simple. When you visit a car dealer, hold on tight to your wallet so you don't waste your money.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers protect themselves since 1978