Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hyundai and Kia Reach $395 Million Deal to Resolve MPG Lawsuits

On December 23, 2013, Hyundai Motor Corp. and Kia Motors America, Inc. announced that they had reached a $395 million deal to settle a class action lawsuit with current and former owners of vehicles for which gas mileage ratings were overstated.  In 2012, the automakers were caught and subsequently admitted to overstating the gas mileage ratings for many of their 2011, 2012, and 2013 model year vehicles.

The settlement reportedly impacts about 600,000 of Hyundai’s 2011-2013 models and 300,000 of Kia’s 2011-2013 models in the United States.  The exact figures of the settlement reportedly depend on how customers elect to participate in the settlement– whether they chose the lifetime reimbursement program or the lump sum option.  

The lifetime reimbursement program was created by the automakers in 2012 to cover additional fuel costs associated with the mpg rate change plus a 15% premium for the inconvenience of customers.  Compensation is based on the actual mileage and fuel costs for the region in which the driver lives and drivers must go to dealerships to have their odometers read.  The recent settlement has created the second lump sum option for owners.  Reportedly, the average lump sum payment for Hyundai owners and lessees will be about $353, while the average lump sum payment for Kia owners and lessees will be about $667.  

A federal judge is expected to review the proposed settlement for approval in early 2014. Assuming approval is granted, notices will be sent to individual class members.  Initial details of the settlement are available at hyundaimpginfo.com or www.kiampginfo.com.

Do you have a Kia or Hyundai motor vehicle that has experienced repeated problems, has been in the shop for repairs, but is still not fixed?  If the vehicle was purchased or repaired in Ohio or Kentucky, then you can call Burdge Law Office on our Toll Free Hotline, 1.888.331.6422, to see if we can help you out of your "lemon" vehicle.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Friday, December 27, 2013

Chrysler Recalls Vehicles for Risk of Engine Stall or Engine Failure

Chrysler Recalls Vehicles for Risk of Engine Stall or Engine Failure

Chrysler Group LLC has recalled over 500 model year 2013 Dodge Avengers and
Chrysler200s, and model year 2014 Jeep Compasses and Jeep Patriots, all equipped with 2.4L engines.  According to Chrysler Group LLC, abrasive debris in the balance shaft bearings of these vehicles may cause a loss of engine pressure, which can cause the vehicle’s engine to stall or fail.  Chrysler admits that, if the engine stalls while driving, this may increase the risk of an accident.  

To see the four (4) documents associated with this recall, click here and scroll down to the accessible PDF files.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration ("NHTSA"), Chrysler Group LLC will notify vehicle owners directly, and its authorized dealers will replace the engine balance shaft module in the affected vehicles free of charge.  Owners may also contact Chrysler Group LLC direct at 1-800-247-9753.  

The recall is expected to begin in December 2013 and will be recall campaign number N52.  The recall is expected to effect 522 vehicles with the following build dates: 2013 Dodge Avenger (March 15, 2013-April 12, 2013), 2013 Chrysler 200 (March 23, 2013-April 10, 2013), 2014 Jeep Compass (March 20, 2013-April 10, 2013), or 2014 Jeep Patriot (March 23, 2013-April 10, 2013). 
Do you have a 2013 Dodge Avenger, 2013 Chrysler 200, 2014 Jeep Compass, or 2014 Jeep Patriot with a 2.4L engine that experienced an engine shutdown, has been in the shop for repairs, but is still not fixed?  If the vehicle was purchased or repaired in Ohio or Kentucky, then you can call Burdge Law Office on our Toll Free Hotline, 1.888.331.6422, to see if we can help you out of your "lemon" vehicle.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Friday, December 6, 2013

Will Your Online Review Spark A Lawsuit?

In the age of social media, a car dealer's online reviews are more important than ever before.  Many car dealers combat negative online reviews by hiring an online reputation management company.  A few have decided to go a different route-- sue the unsuspecting consumers posting the negative reviews. 

For instance, Chicago Motor Cars sued consumer David Bates in Federal Court after he posted negative comments and videos online about his experience purchasing a Mercedes SL600 from Chicago Motor Cars.  According to Bates' website, www.chicagomotorcarssucks.com, the dealership misrepresented the vehicle him.  What did he do?  He posted comments and videos online allegedly to warn other consumers of his experience at Chicago Motor Cars.  Bates stuck out the fight in Federal Court and won his right to continue posting information online regarding his experience with Chicago Motor Cars and regarding judgments and arbitration awards that other consumers have obtained against Chicago Motor Cars.  Needless to say, the strong arm attack by Chicago Motor Cars on a consumer certainly backfired for them.

However, most consumers do not have the finances to fund a battle against a car dealership just to be able to maintain their First Amendment rights to free speech.  As a result, many consumers would likely be frightened by a lawsuit and quickly remove their negative online posts to avoid further litigation.  And, I would guess that this is likely the goal of a car dealership who resorts to filing lawsuits against its disgruntled consumers. 

So what constitutes free speech under the First Amendment when it comes to online reviews?  And where do we draw the line between "chilling" free speech, and protecting a business from unsubstantiated statements by a disgruntled consumer?  The answers are not clear, but with the rising importance of online reviews to businesses like car dealers, these issues are very likely to be a hot issue in Courts throughout the country in the near future.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shop-Click-Drive: GM to Reportedly Extend Online Car Sales Tool to Entire Dealership Network by End of Year

General Motors has announced that it plans to expand its new online shopping tool that allows customers to bypass the showroom by purchasing their brand new vehicle online.  The program, Shop-Click-Drive, lists a total of 48 participating dealers on its website, but GM reportedly plans to extend the new web-based application to its entire dealership network by the end of 2013.
According to the Shop-Click-Drive website, a vehicle can be purchased online from a participating dealer around the clock, 24/7, and in just five (5) short steps:
1. Get Started - Select a vehicle from a participating dealership's website.  Click here to find a participating dealer and click on "participating";
2. Estimate Payments - See available financing plans, the latest incentives, and estimate your trade-in value if applicable;
3. Apply for Credit - Complete your secure and confidential credit application online and hassle free;
4. Personalize & Protect - Shop for additional vehicle personalization and protection options, including GM accessories, extended warranties, and more;
5. Scheduled Delivery - Schedule a trade-in evaluation, arrange a test drive, sign the sales paperwork, and take delivery of the vehicle, all on your time schedule.

About 900 cars have been sold so far through the Shop-Click-Drive program.  Of the 900, only 5 have elected to have the vehicle delivered directly to them, while the some 895 others have opted for a trip to the showroom to finalize the deal face-to-face.

As expected, many dealers are reportedly not fond of the new program, since it nearly eliminates their chance to sell consumers profitable service work, add-ons or finance and insurance products with their new cars.  The option is still there to purchase these items, but the decision to purchase is more "pressure free" than at the dealership.  Other dealers, however, reportedly see it as just another way to reach millennial purchasers who increasingly seek to make many purchases online.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Got a New Vehicle? Make Sure to Document Any Problems!

Do you have a new vehicle?  If so, hopefully your first few years will be problem free.  But, if you have any problems with your new vehicle in the first year, make sure to document everything.  You never know if you will need it in the future.

Most consumers think that if they have a problem with their vehicle that the dealer cannot find or cannot fix, then the manufacturer will stand behind their warranty.  Unfortunately, for most motor vehicle manufacturers, this is not the case. In fact, many manufacturers will try to attach the consumer, claiming that the consumer is lying about the defect, is causing the defect because they are driving the vehicle wrong, is imagining the defect, or simply wants out of the vehicle because they cannot afford it.  For most manufacturers, customer loyalty goes out the window and the only thing that becomes important is the bottom line.  One way to make sure you have the best case possible, if you end up with a lemon vehicle and no way out but a lawsuit, is to build your evidence early on.
Keep a notepad and pen in your car.  When the vehicle malfunctions, write down what occurred, when and where the malfunction occurred, and under what circumstances it occurred, such as the temperature, speed of the vehicle, and length of time driving before the occurrence.  Of course, wait to make your diary notes in the notepad until you are in a safe location and off the road.  Or, if you prefer to keep the diary on your mobile device, you can do that too.  The key is to write it down as soon as possible after you experience the malfunction.
If the defect is something that can be safely recorded on video or in photographs, then take photographs and make videos.  Find some way of documenting the date and/or time in each photograph or video.

Keep your phone records and a list of the phone numbers you call related to the vehicle defects such as the local dealer's service center or the manufacturer's consumer hotline.  This way you can prove the contacts that you have had with the dealership and/or the manufacturer if they later deny it.

Make sure that you get repair invoices for each visit, and that the repair orders accurately describe the dates the vehicle was in the shop and the problems that your vehicle is experiencing.  It is alarming the number of repair orders that I see that do not properly document the dates that the vehicle was in the shop, do not properly describe the problem, or do not even include problems that the consumer brought the vehicle into the shop for. When the repairs are not properly documented, this can hurt even the best lemon law case.

If the dealer fixes the problem, then you won't need the evidence you have compiled.  But, if they do not, and the problem is a substantial problem, then you will.  And, it is certainly better to be safe than sorry when it comes to an expensive item like a motor vehicle that you need to get to work, to the grocery, or to the doctor's office.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Monday, October 7, 2013

Kawasaki Issues Safety Recall for Police Motorcycles

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. has recalled all model year 2012-2013 Kawasaki Concours 14 police motorcycles. According to Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., the additional police accessories installed on the motorcycle, such as emergency lighting, radios, and other gear powered by a second battery, may cause the 30-amp main fuse to blow, and the additional police wiring harness may chafe leading to a short which may blow the main fuse. In either circumstance, if the fuse blows, the engine may stall, and the vehicle could crash. This is obviously a safety concern for the men and women who protect and serve.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration ("NHTSA"), Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. will notify vehicle owners directly, and its authorized dealers will correct the electrical system problems free of charge. Owners may also contact Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. direct at 1-866-802-9381. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safecar.gov.
To read more about the recall, and to read additional recall documentation, click here.

If your police department has a Kawasaki Concours 14, make sure to get it into a Kawasaki authorized dealer right away.  To find a dealer near you, click here.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

You Finally Have A BBB Auto Line Decision...So What's Next?

Do you have a case currently pending with the Better Business Bureau ("BBB") Auto Line against your motor vehicle manufacturer?  If so, then at the end of the case your arbitrator will issue a decision and you will be given 14 days to accept or reject the decision.  The form that you will be asked to sign will likely look similar to the BBB form found here
In my own experience, I have seen BBB Auto Line arbitration decisions which award the consumer something different than what they might be entitled to under the letter of the law, and in some instances, something less than they would be entitled to under the letter of the law.  For that reason, and others, the decision whether to accept or reject a BBB Auto Line decision should not be taken lightly. 
Before accepting or rejecting the arbitrator's decision, you should read it carefully and consider speaking with a local lemon law attorney in your state if the decision awards you something less than what you want or what you think that you are entitled to. 

Seeking legal advice before accepting the BBB Auto Line decision will allow you to make an informed decision and proceed with a lawsuit in Court against the motor vehicle manufacturer if warranted or necessary.  On the other hand, if you seek legal help after accepting the arbitrator's decision, in most cases it will be too late to change your mind.  Typically, by accepting the decision, you will be bound to the decision unless the manufacturer fails to comply with the decision itself, which is not likely.  In such a circumstance, you cannot file a lawsuit in Court of you change your mind.

Not sure whether to accept give up your legal rights and accept your BBB Auto Line decision?  Consult an experienced Lemon Law attorney in your state.  To find one in your state, you can go to www.USLemonLawyers.com.  But act quickly, especially if your 14 days are already ticking.  Also, for every legal right you have, there is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in court before your rights expire.

Good luck!

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running



Monday, September 2, 2013

Automakers Slash Battery Car Prices

2014 Chevrolet Volt
General Motors has just announced a price cut for its 2014 Chevrolet Volt plug-in.  The "extended range electric vehicle" will carry a $34,995 sticker price-- $5,000 less than the 2013 model. 

But GM is not the only automaker slashing prices.  In fact, Nissan led the charge, reducing the base price of the 2013 Nissan Leaf SV from $35,200 to $31,820, and introducing a base model 2013 Nissan Leaf S at $28,800.  Honda has followed suit, cutting the monthly lease price of its new Fit EV from $389 to $259.  Smart has reduced the lease price of its third-generation Electric Drive to just $139.  And, Ford has made cuts to the price of its Focus EV. 
2013 Nissan Leaf
Why the sharp cuts in electric vehicle prices?  First, as production volumes increase, the cost to build a battery-car has begun to drop.  Second, California regulators are requiring automakers to produce a minimum percentage of zero-emission vehicles.  If they fall short, they could be barred from selling vehicles in California.  Moreover, seven states have copied the California guidelines and more are expected to follow suit.  So, losses on electrical vehicles are marginal compared to the possibility of being barred from selling vehicles in as many as eight states. 
Tesla Model S
The price reduction is certainly an incentive to consumers, who will also enjoy a $7,500 federal tax credit for purchasing most electric vehicles, in addition to incentives in the states of California and Colorado. 

Currently, the 2013 Nissan Leaf is the top selling battery vehicle.  And, Tesla holds the market for high-end, sporty electric vehicles, surprising the auto industry with a second quarter profit for 2013.  The base price of the Tesla Model S battery sedan is currently $62,400, but this steep price has obviously not dissuaded many customers.

Will the price cuts get more consumers into battery powered vehicles?  Only time will tell.

    Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Friday, August 30, 2013

New Rule Makes Motor Vehicle Recalls Easily Accessible

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") announced on August 14, 2013 that it will now require automakers and motorcycle manufacturers to provide consumers with a free online tool enabling them to search recall information for individual vehicles by Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).  To read NHTSA's Press Release, click here.   
This online feature will allow consumers to instantly determine whether action is required to address an uncompleted safety recall that affects their personal vehicle, or a used vehicle which they are considering purchasing. The information must be updated weekly, at minimum, and automakers and motorcycle manufacturers have one year to comply with the new rule.

The goal of the new rule is to increase recall completion rates (reportedly at about 70%) through greater consumer awareness.  The new rule also requires automakers and motorcycle manufacturers to use the Department of Transportation’s logo on recall letters sent to owners.  It is hoped that this will further emphasize the importance of the communication.  The new rule also requires automakers and motorcycle manufacturers to inform NHTSA what type of propulsion system and crash avoidance technologies their vehicles have.  It is expected that this information will assist NHTSA in its efforts to spot "defect trends related to these systems and technologies". 
Many automakers already have this feature for consumers on their own sites. In fact, the Center for Auto Safety has a recall section that links to the sites of all automakers that already provide consumers with recall searches. For a link to the site, click here.

One thing is for sure-- this new rule will allow consumer to be better informed before purchasing a used car, truck, or motorcycle.

Beth Wells

Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Monday, August 26, 2013

Keeping Kids Safe Around Motor Vehicles

Believe it or not, 3 out of every 4 car seats is used incorrectly. As a result, one of the leading causes of death for children 1-13 is vehicle crashes.  

In order to help keep kids safe, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") has released a booklet, "A Parent's Guide to Playing it Safe with Kids and Cars".  This booklet is designed to equip parents with easy-to-understand information about today’s vehicle safety features, car seats and how to keep kids safe in and around vehicles.

According to NHTSA, the top 4 things that you should always remember about kids and cars is:
(1) Use a car seat for every trip, even when you're just going down the street;
(2) Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, and always follow the manufacturer's directions;
(3) Make sure your car seat is compatible with your vehicle by checking the car seat manufacturer’s instructions;
(4) Keep kids in the back seat at least through age 12.
So, keep your kids safe!  To read the complete booklet, click here, then click on the PDF link for the booklet.
Beth Wells

Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Friday, August 23, 2013

VW Microbus To End Production After 56 Years

Volkswagen announced that it is ending production of its Kombi Microbus after a 56 year run in Brazil.  The final edition, called the Volkswagen Kombi Last Edition, will be made in just 600 copies, complete with a numbered plaque on the interior of the vehicle and a certificate of authenticity.
The original 1957 Kombi came equipped with an air cooled 1.2 liter flat-four engine, mounted in the rear, with 28 horsepower. By 2005, the Kombi was running on a 1.4 liter water cooled engine.  And, the current Kombi comes equipped with a 1.4 liter inline-4 that touts 78 horsepower on gasoline and 80 horsepower on ethanol.  Certainly a dramatic boost in horsepower since the 1950s!
The Kombi Microbus has not been available in the United States for some time, but it has been a cheap and cheerful staple of transportation in Brazil.  Unfortunately, emissions and safety standards in Brazil have caught up with the Kombi and forced Volkswagen to end production of its legendary model once and for all.

The Volkswagen Kombi Last Edition will be sold only in Brazil for 85,000 reais ($35,637) and will come with a light blue and white paint job, whitewall tires, white wheel caps, tinted windows, blue side rear curtains with the Kombi logo, blue and white vinyl seats for up to nine people, and a modern stereo system that uses LED accents and has the capability to use USB or MP3 inputs.

While the Kombi has certainly stood the test of time, it has sadly been unable stand the test of modern safety and emissions standards in Brazil and elsewhere.  Goodbye Kombi, we'll miss you!

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chevrolet Impala Rated Top Sedan by Consumer Reports

For the first time in more than 20 years, the auto editors at Consumer Reports have rated a U.S. model as the best sedan in the market.  So what model you ask?  The 2014 Chevrolet Impala!

Consumer Reports rated the newly redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Impala at 95 out of 100, one of the highest ratings for a sedan by Consumer Reports ever.

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala was completely redesigned from its 2013 counterpart, which scored a mediocre 63 out of 100 in Consumer Report ratings last year.  In fact, Consumer Reports described the 2013 Chevrolet Impala as "outdated", did not recommend the vehicle, and even went so far as to advise consumers to avoid the vehicle "even as a free upgrade at the rental-car company."  While the reasoning for the complete redesign is certainly speculative, the beating that the 2013 Chevrolet Impala took by Consumer Reports certainly may have provided some serious encouragement.

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is based on the same platform as the Cadillac XTS, and has been praised by Consumer Reports not only for the way it rides and handles, but also for its interior.  According to Consumer Reports, this vehicle literally sets the new standard for fit and finish in Chevrolet motor vehicles with high-quality materials and trim.  And, according the Consumer Reports, "The Impala is competitive with cars that cost $20,000 more." The 2014 Impala starts at just under $27,000.

The 2014 Impala is just one of 20 new or re-designed models that GM is releasing this year.  And, since only about 30% of those models have hit showrooms in 2013, the second half of this year will be a critical period for the automaker.  

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Monday, August 19, 2013

Spartan Industries, Inc. recalls commercial truck due to "inadvertent engine shutdown"

Spartan Industries, Inc. has recalled about 330 model year 2012-2013 Utilimaster Reach commercial trucks.  According to Spartan Industries, Inc., the vehicles have a software problem that may cause them to have inadvertent engine shutdown without warning, and possibly resulting in a crash.
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration ("NHTSA") Spartan Industries, Inc. will notify vehicle owners directly, and its authorized dealers will replace the control modules in the affected vehicles free of charge.  Owners may also contact Spartan Industries, Inc. direct at 1-800-582-3454.

According to the Utilimaster website, the "aerodynamic" body of the Utilimaster Reach is built on an Isuzu diesel chassis with a 4JJI-TC 3.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder diesel engine, and offers 35% better fuel economy than traditional walk-in vans.  The Reach is available in lengths of 12' or 14' and provides 540 or 630 feet of storage, plus up to 27 inches more headroom than a conventional cargo van.   
Do you have a 2012-2013 Utilimaster Reach that experienced the engine shutdown, has been in the shop for repairs, but is still not fixed?  If the vehicle was purchased or repaired in Ohio or Kentucky, then you can call Burdge Law Office on our Toll Free Hotline, 1.888.331.6422, to see if we can help you out of your "lemon" Utilimaster Reach.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

June Car Sales Stay Strong

After the release of June car sales figures,  the seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate came in at 15.98 million.  It has been 66 months since the industry saw a sales rate that high--  15.82 million in December 2007.  

With the high rate for June sales, it appears that there will be another sales increase for 2013, making it four years straight.  In fact, industry experts predict the sales increases to last through at least 2015.  The last time the auto industry saw sales increases for more than 6 years straight was 1909-1917.     

Among the highlights of the month include:
-The Detroit "Big 3" gained share in the first half of the year for the first time in 2 decades;
-Double digit increases for: Porsche, Subaru, Cadillac, and Dodge;
-Decreases for five brands: Smart, Mitsubishi, Lincoln, Kia, and Volvo;
-Mercedes-Benz has had its 44th straight month of sales increases;
-Honda posted a 10% sales increase for June 2013;
-Ford sales were up 13% in June, the best performance since 2006.

With sales rates for new vehicles on the rise, lemon law claims are also expected to rise.  So, if you think you have a lemon new vehicle, then contact a lemon law attorney in your state.  You can find one at www.USLemonLawyers.com. 

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Edmunds.com Sues Online Reputation Management Company for Posting False Dealer Reviews

Edmunds.com has field a lawsuit against online reputation management company Humankind Design Ltd. for allegedly posting and attempting to post fraudulent consumer reviews on its site. 

Humankind Design Ltd., out of Friendswood, Texas, helps companies with reputation management.  According to its web site, the business can help improve Google and Bing results by pushing down the bad reviews with good ones.  

According to Edmunds.com, Humankind Design Ltd. attempted to register almost 2,200 fake members on the Edmunds.com site and on behalf of 25 car dealers.  Edmunds claims that Humankind Design Ltd. attempted to post its first fake review on January 22, 2013 and, in early March, Edmunds.com employees monitoring the reviews identified a large number of registrations that were generating reviews that were not real and traced those reviews back to Humankind. 

Apparently, anyone posting a review on Edmunds.com is required to first agree to its membership agreement.  This membership agreement forbids the use of profanity and posting anything that isn't based on the poster's personal knowledge.  Members also agree to only register once under a single name, and not to register under another person's name or to chose a user name designed to deceive or mislead.

Justin Anderson, owner of Humankind, reportedly denied that the company is posting fraudulent reviews online.  However, he admitted that the company does post comment cards that its dealership clients send them.

The alleged actions of Humankind Design Ltd. certainly makes one weary of relying on online reviews.  However, you should still consult online reviews of a local car dealership before purchasing a car. This is especially true when purchasing a used car.   However, where you see negative reviews, be weary of similarly worded positive reviews that crop up around the same time-- there is nothing stopping a car dealership from posting "bogus" positive reviews in response to negative ones.  And, apparently, there is nothing stopping a car dealer from hiring someone else to do their dirty work. 
Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running


Friday, August 9, 2013

Ford's F150 Ecoboost Engine Under Federal Investigation

The pride and joy of Ford Motor Company-- the F150 pickup with Ecoboost engine-- is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA").  According to the complaints filed by consumers with NHTSA, and the various lawsuits filed against Ford Motor Company, the trucks stumble and stall on hard acceleration.

According to NHTSA, the investigation involves about 400,000 2011-2013 Ford F150 trucks with Ecoboost engines.  The 3.5 liter Ecoboost V-6 engine is in about 40% of Ford F150 trucks.  The Engine uses a combination of turbocharging and direct injection to boost power from a relatively small engine.

The NHTSA defect investigation was preceded by 2 separate technical service bulletins issued by Ford Motor Company itself.  In Ford Technical Service Bulletin ASI-32166, Ford advises that some 2011-2013 Ford F150 trucks with the 3.2 liter Ecoboost engine will exhibit a flashing malfunction indicator light and intermittent stumble or misfire during hard acceleration under extreme humid or damp conditions.  Similarly, according to Ford Technical Service Bulletin 13-1-10, some 2012-2013 Ford F150 trucks with the 3.2 liter Ecoboost engine will buck and jerk after startup with a cold engine and Ford instructs its dealers that the Powertrain Control Modules for these vehicles should be reprogrammed to a higher calibration.
To read more about the defect investigation, the consumer complaints submitted to NHTSA, and Ford's technical service bulletins on the vehicle, click here.

Do you own a 2011-2013 Ford F150 with a 3.2 liter Ecoboost engine? Has the truck hesitated, stumbled, jerked, or stalled on hard acceleration? Has the vehicle been in the shop repeatedly for repairs but it is still not fixed?  If you have taken your truck back to the shop repeatedly but the dealer hasn't fixed your truck within 3 attempts, you may have a lemon.
Take the Ohio Lemon Law Test at www.OhioLemonLaw.com, or in Kentucky at www.KentuckyLemonLaw.com to see if you are entitled to get a new truck or your money back.  If so, call us on our Toll Free Hotline at 1-888-331-6471.  And, if you are thinking about getting a new 2013 Ford F150 with a 3.2 liter Ecoboost engine, then you may want to hold off until Ford figures out how to fix the current models under investigation.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Yamaha Issues Wiring Harness Safety Recall

Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA is recalling 3,900 2014 Yamaha Bolt motorcycles manufactured between March 2013 and June 2013.  According to Yamaha, the motorcycles were manufacture with slack in the wiring harness, which may allow the wiring harness to contact the exhaust manifold, thereby causing the wires to melt and short circuit.  And, if the wires short circuit, the fuses will blow and this may cause the engine to stall.   
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that if a motorcycle's engine stalls while the vehicle is being ridden, this is extremely unsafe.  In fact, Yamaha itself even admits in the recall that when a motorcycle's engine stalls while the vehicle is being ridden, then there is an increased risk of a crash. 
Click here to see the recall notice.

Do you own a 2014 Yamaha Bolt? Has the motorcycle stalled on you while driving?  Has the vehicle been in the shop repeatedly for repairs but it is still not fixed and is still stalling?  If you have a 2014 Yamaha Bolt that stalls while driving and it hasn't yet been in the shop, take it back to the shop repeatedly, document your complaints carefully, and if they don't fix your 2014 Yamaha Bolt within 3 attempts, you've probably got a lemon.
Take the Ohio Lemon Law Test at www.OhioLemonLaw.com, or in Kentucky you can take
the test at www.KentuckyLemonLaw.com to see if you are entitled to a new car or your money back.  If so, call us on our Toll Free Hotline at 1-888-331-6471.  In Hawaii, go to
www.AlohaLemonLaw.com for free Lemon Law help to get rid of your lemon motorcycle. And, if you are thinking about getting a new 2014 Yamaha Bolt, then you may want to think about it again.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running

Monday, August 5, 2013

Military Service Members Targeted in Auto Purchases

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently ordered U.S. Bank and its partner company Dealer Financial Services (DFS) to repay a total of $6.5 million to more than 50,000 servicemembers and end deceptive marketing and lending practices aimed at active-duty military who financed auto purchases through the Military Installment Loans and Educational Services (MILES) Program.

The MILES Program was created by U.S. Bank and DFS to finance sub-prime loans to active-duty military, deducting the monthly auto loan payment directly from their military checks.  The program is essentially run by DFS, while U.S. Bank provides most of the financing for the loans.
The CFPB investigation revealed that U.S. Bank violated the Truth in Lending Act and the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act's prohibitions on deceptive acts or practices by: 
(1) Failing to properly inform service members about fees associated with their auto loan.  Servicemembers were charged a monthly fee for automatic deduction of their payments from their paycheck, but this fee was not properly disclosed to them as part of the finance charge, the annual percentage rate, and the total payments for the loans.  This cost the average service member about $180 in fees over the life of the auto loan.
(2) Failing to properly disclose to service members the schedule of payments under their auto loan.  Servicemembers were advised that the payments would be deducted once monthly from their paycheck, but a partial payment was deducted from their paycheck twice a month.  To see the Order, click here.

The CFPB investigation also revealed that DFS misrepresented the cost and coverage of add-on products financed with the MILES loans.  In particular, the investigation revealed that DFS:
(1) Materially understated the cost of service contracts as being "just a few dollars" a month, when in reality the service contracts averaged about $42 a month extra.
(2) Materially understated the cost of GAP Insurance as being "just a couple cents" a day, when in reality the GAP Insurance averaged about 42 cents per day and over $100 a year.
(3) Misrepresented the coverage of service contracts as covering all expensive repairs, when the service contracts actually had many exclusions from coverage.  To see the Order, click here.

While it is sad and discouraging to see active-duty military being targeted in this manner, misrepresenting the cost and coverage of add-ons in auto sales is a nationwide problem impacting consumers, whether military or not.  So, if you are in the market for a car or truck, whether new or used, pay close attention to your sales contract and know exactly what you are paying for.  The dealer may have added some products to your purchase that you do not know about or understand.  Have a question?  Ask the dealer!  Many of these products are unnecessary and can cost you thousands of dollars over the life of your auto loan.
Or, already unknowingly purchase thousands of dollars in add-ons with your vehicle?  Contact a consumer law attorney and they may be able to help you out of your loan or help you get some of that money back that the car dealer stealthily added into the purchase.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 9 Years Running