Monday, October 13, 2014

General Motors LLC Recalls Police Patrol Vehicles with Safety Defect

General Motors LLC (“GM”) has recalled 7,598 model year 2011-2013 Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicles which were manufactured between March 24, 2011 and December 6, 2013.  

According to GM, the vehicles are equipped with a specific transmission selector lever that contains two pins.  These pins can become displaced and, if they do, the driver may be able to shift the vehicle from “Park” without depressing the brake pedal or remove the ignition key without the transmission being in “Park”.  GM admits that either of these malfunctions could cause an accident and/or increase the risk of injury to occupants and bystanders.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration ("NHTSA"), GM will notify vehicle owners directly, and its authorized dealers will replace the shift lever roll pin, replace the base pivot pin, and attach a break transmission shift interlock retention enhancement clip, all free of charge.  Owners may also contact Chevrolet direct at 1-800-222-1020. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to

The company has now reportedly recalled approximately 30,011,650 vehicles in North America this year, after promising to take react more quickly to problems in light of its failure to recall 2.6 million cars with an ignition switch problem for about 11 years.

To read more about the recall, and to read additional recall documentation, click here.

If your police department has a 2011-2013 Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle, check to see if it is included in the recall and make sure to get it into a GM authorized dealer right away.  To find a dealer near you, click here.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 10 Years Running

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Car Dealer Sold You A Wrecked Car...What Now?

It's illegal for a car dealer to sell you a wrecked car without disclosing the vehicle's true condition to you, but some do.  The car dealer may lie to a consumer about the vehicle's condition, purposefully ignore obvious signs of the vehicle's true condition, keep the vehicle's true condition a secret from the consumer, or just simply not know of the vehicle's checkered past either.

If you discover that your vehicle was in a wreck and suspect the car dealer that sold you the vehicle knew about its wrecked condition, then 

Get a Vehicle History Report
A vehicle history report can tell you if the vehicle has been in any reported accidents.  However, it is important to note that if the accident was not reported, then it will not appear on a vehicle history report.  There are three main sources of vehicle history reports online: Carfax, AutoCheck, and NMVTIS.

Carfax is probably the best known and most trusted of the three. You can get a Carfax vehicle history report online for $39.99. According to Carfax, their vehicle history reports check for a long list of problems, including: prior accidents, mileage rollbacks or rollovers, multiple owners, structural damage, lease, taxi, or police use, salvage, rebuilt salvage, other vehicle brands, flood damage, total loss history, airbag deployment, hail damage, recall information, service and maintenance history, warranty information, and more. Carfax claims to have the most extensive vehicle history database in North America, with over 6 billion records. And, according to Carfax, they receive data from over 34,000 different sources. Vehicle history reports can be viewed on your computer, tablet, or smart phone, and CarFax also offers a 100% money back guarantee. To request a Carfax vehicle history report, click here.

AutoCheck is a slightly less well known, but widely used, competitor. You can get an
AutoCheck vehicle history report online for $29.99. According to AutoCheck, their database is built and maintained by Experian, who has exclusive data sharing relationships with many industry sources who provide Experian with access to exclusive data to available to AutoCheck's competitors. AutoCheck also reports that industry leaders such as NADA guides, CarMax, eBay Motors, Kelly Blue Book, and have chosen to provide AutoCheck vehicle history reports to their customers. AutoCheck recommends that you obtain and AutoCheck vehicle history report in conjunction with other reports to "fill in the gaps" in other vehicle history reports for issues that other providers do not cover. To request an AutoCheck vehicle history report, click here

NMVTIS, or the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, was developed by the federal government. A vehicle history report from NMVTIS will cost you anywhere from $0.25 to $4.95. NMVTIS is operated and managed by the US Department of Justice. According to NMVTIS, their database provides records relating to current and previous state of title data, title issue dates, latest odometer data, theft history (if any), any title brands, salvage history, and total loss history. To request a NMVTIS vehicle history report for just 25 cents, click here.

Go to a Body Shop you Trust
Take the vehicle to a body shop you trust to determine if your vehicle was in an accident and to get an estimate for accident repairs.  You should also ask the body shop if the accident damage is something that the car dealer you purchased the vehicle from should have seen or known about if they conducted a pre-delivery inspection of the vehicle.  Make sure to get the estimate in writing in case you need it later on.

Contact your State Attorney General
Most states have a consumer protection agency, which is usually headed by the state’s attorney general.  Contact your Attorney General to see if you can work it out with the car dealer with the Attorney General’s help.  The Attorney General may file a lawsuit against a dealer if the Attorney General finds that the dealer has repeatedly violated consumer protection laws in your state.  However, the Attorney General will not file a lawsuit on your behalf.  That means that if you cannot get the issues resolved with the dealer through the Attorney General, then you will need to contact a private attorney file a lawsuit in order to recover your money.

Contact an Auto Fraud Attorney in your State
If you cannot work things out with the dealer, then you should contact an attorney in your state who practices auto fraud or consumer law.  Attorneys who specialize in that area of law will know car dealers common tricks and scams, and will know what your rights are under your state law.  Many state laws require the dealership to pay your attorney fees, so often attorneys who practice auto fraud or consumer law will review your case for free.  To find an attorney in your state, click here.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 10 Years Running

Monday, August 18, 2014

Educating Yourself Before Your Trip to the Dealer with Your Problem Car

Educate Yourself Before Taking Your Car or Truck to the Dealer for Repair
If you have a problem vehicle and need to take it to the dealer for repair, educate yourself beforehand by going online to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) website.  Knowing that there is a trend of consumer complaints for the same problem that you are having with your vehicle, or that there is a known problem with your particular year, make, and model of vehicle, can help make your repair visit to the dealer more effective. 

Find You Car or Truck on the NHTSA Website
To find complaints, recalls, service bulletins, or defect investigations for your year, make, and model of vehicle, go online to the NHTSA website, www.NHTSA.govand click on the “Search for Recalls” tab.  Then enter the year, make, and model of your vehicle.  It’s that easy!  

Search for Complaints, Recalls, Service Bulletins, and Defect Investigations
Once you have enter the year, make, and model of your vehicle, and clicked submit, a tab across the top of the screen will list four items for your vehicle, in the following order: Recalls, Investigations, Complaints, and Service Bulletins.  Each of the four tabs will list a number next to them, identifying the total number of recalls, defect investigations, complaints, and service bulletins for your year, make, and model of vehicle.  Simply click on a tab to read each specific entry.  Often times, there will also be documents associated with the events, such as recalls, which you can view.  Search through the recalls, defect investigations, complaints, and service bulletins, and print out anything that you think may be related to the problem that you are having with your problem vehicle.

Sign Up For Email Notifications of New Recalls
You may also want to sign up for email notifications or alerts, so that you know when new recalls are issued.  You can do this from the main page listing your vehicle’s recalls, defect investigations, complaints, and service bulletins by clicking on the link “Sign-Up for Email Alerts” to the left.  You can get alerts for all makes and models of vehicles, or just your particular year, make and model of vehicle.  This email notification will warn you when new recalls are issued. 

Make Your Own Complaint on the NHTSA Website
To make your own complaint on the NHTSA website, go to and click on the "File a Complaint" tab.  You will be asked to enter the year, make, and model of your vehicle, and the vehicle's Vin number, to describe the problems you are having with the vehicle, and to enter your name and address.  The information that you provide will be entered into the NHTSA consumer complaint database. Your complaint, with the personal identifiers removed, will be listed on the NHTSA database online with other consumer complaints for the same year, make and model of vehicle.  It is important to report the problems that you are having with your vehicle to NHTSA, because these consumer complaints help NHTSA and motor vehicle manufacturers to determine if a safety recall is warranted, and also provide other motorists with valuable information about potential safety problems currently under review.

Take You Vehicle to the Dealer for Repair
Now that you are armed with recall, defect investigation, complaint, and service bulletin information for your year, make, and model of vehicle, and have all relevant recalls, defect investigations, complaints, and service bulletins printed out, take them to the dealer with you when you drop your vehicle off for repair.  Make sure that they note the information on the repair order and that they list all of the complaints that you present the vehicle for, and list them accurately.  If they don’t, then refuse to sign the repair invoice.  Chances are that when you do that, they will revise the repair invoice to accurately describe the problems that you are having with the vehicle.

If the Manufacturer Fails to Live Up to Its Warranty, Contact a Lemon Law Attorney
If the manufacturer fails to live up to its warranty to you by failing to repair the vehicle within a reasonable number of tries or a reasonable amount of time, contact a Lemon Law attorney in your state.  To find a consumer law attorney in your state, you can go to  But act quickly because for every legal right you have, there is a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in court before your rights expire. 

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 10 Years Running

Friday, August 15, 2014

American Idol for Car Dealers

Have you ever purchased a new or used vehicle and ended up with "extras" that you do not need or want such as "personal assistant", "environmental package", "etch", "key care", "pro-pack", or "credit life"?  If you don't pay close attention, you could be paying thousands of dollars for these "soft add ons" that you simply don't need.  

Unfortunately, this is the direction that a lot of car dealers are going in to make money.  In fact, a car dealer magazine now sponsors F&Idol, a competition between car dealer finance managers nationwide to see who is the best and brightest at selling products for leasing, vehicle service contracts, tire and wheel, key replacement and more.  The competition is scored based on the following categories: (1) transition statements and overall flow, (2) customer rapport and engagement, (3) product disclosures, (4) product knowledge, (5) personal stories and testimonials, and (6) objection handling.  

Car dealer finance managers must submit a video of themselves selling a “soft add on” product before the August 20, 2014 deadline to be considered.  Then, winners will be chosen for each category, awarded $1,000, airfare, and a 2 night stay at Paris Las Vegas.

Category winners will professionally re-shoot their winning entries and the videos will be posted online, where magazine readers can cast their vote on the overall winner. The winner will be announced in the November 2014 magazine issue, and will receive a $2,500 cash prize, along with the coveted industry title "F&Idol".

If you paid good money for “soft add ons” that you had no idea that you were even purchasing until you walked out of the dealership, and need help, contact an attorney who practices in Consumer Law or Auto Fraud in your state.  If you need help in Ohio or Kentucky, click here and let me know about it.  We fight car dealers in Ohio and Kentucky every day and will get right to work fighting that car dealer for you.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 10 Years Running

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Volkswagen of America, Inc. Recalls 150,000 Vehicles Due to Stalling Defect

Volkswagen of America, Inc. has recalled over 150,000 model year 2009-2014 Tiguan vehicles manufactured July 2007 to June 2014.

According to Volkswagen of America, Inc., when using winterized fuel in certain conditions, bubbles may form in the fuel system which could result in the vehicle stalling and increase the risk of a crash.

To see the two (2) 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"), Volkswagen of America, Inc. will notify vehicle owners directly, and its authorized dealers will update the vehicle’s software to increase the fuel pump pressure free of charge.  Owners may also contact Volkswagen of America, Inc. direct at 1-888-327-4236.  

Do you have a 2009-2014 Tiguan that stalled while driving,
has been to an authorized Volkswagen of America, Inc. dealer for repairs under the Volkswagen of America, Inc. warranty, 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, 10 Years Running

Friday, August 8, 2014

ARBITRATION ALERT!: The New Car Dealer Trick that Could Leave Consumers Without Any Remedies

In my practice, I see a good number of arbitration clauses between car dealers and consumers cross my desk.  Until recently, most dealers went out of their way in their arbitration clauses to limit the arbitration costs for the consumer in order to sure that their arbitration clause could stand up in court.  On March 1, 2013, the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) took a step to make sure that arbitrator was affordable to consumers, and changed the Consumer Rules fee schedule to limit a consumer's AAA out of pocket arbitration costs and fees to $200, with the remainder to be paid by the car dealer.  

Well, car dealers must have realized that arbitration can be expensive, too.  Because, in response, I am seeing more an more arbitration clauses where the car dealer attempts to: 
(1) apply the AAA commercial rules to avoid application of the AAA Consumer Rules and the $200 limit;
(2) require multiple arbitrators to avoid application of the AAA Consumer Rules, make arbitration even more expensive, and avoid the $200 limit; and/or 
(3) require the consumer to pay the AAA fees and costs and the dealer’s own fees and costs if they do not win the arbitration.

If an arbitration clause is clearly worded, and the consumer is limited to $200 out of pocket with the AAA, I have no problem advising my clients to proceed with arbitration.  While there are disadvantages to arbitration, there are many advantages, too.  And, I have had a lot of success arbitrating car dealer cases.  The serious problem I have with arbitration clauses, however, is when they make arbitration cost prohibitive to a consumer.  This is because when arbitration is cost prohibitive to a consumer, they effectively have no remedy at all.

Car dealers may think that they are saving money by changing the arbitration costs provisions in their arbitration clauses.  But, I suspect the net result will be just the opposite.  Because, I suspect that more and more consumers will be fighting these arbitration clauses in court, instead of agreeing to arbitrate at the onset.

With even the best case, nothing is ever a 100% guarantee, and when there is a risk that a consumer will be liable for tens of thousands of dollars in arbitration fees and costs and attorneys fees, the doors to both arbitration and court are effectively closed.

So, if you are in the market for a motor vehicle, watch out for an arbitration clause hidden within the sales paperwork.  And, if you see one, tell them you want them to cross it out.  A car dealer isn't going to risk losing a car sale, and 9 times out of 10 the dealer will agree to cross it out.  And, if they won't, consider if the car dealer is one that you really want to be doing business with.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 10 Years Running

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Arbitration: No Longer A Death Sentence for Consumers

Litigating a case in Court is always the best option, but if you have already signed away your rights to do so in an arbitration clause as part of your purchase of a vehicle, the clause is enforceable, and the courtroom doors are closed, then all hope is NOT lost.  In fact, you may still be able to vindicate your rights in arbitration after all.

Here is a list of the TOP TEN reasons arbitration is no longer a death sentence for many consumers:

1. The arbitration process is often shorter than the court process.

When you file a lawsuit, especially if it is in a large county, the Court’s docket is often so busy that your trial date will be set more than a year into the future.  With arbitration, the scheduling is based upon just three calendars– the arbitrator’s, your attorney’s, and the car dealer’s attorney’s.  And, since depositions are not normally taken by either side in arbitration cases, and discovery is much more limited, the length of time necessary for both sides to get ready for an arbitration is much less than the time necessary if the same case were in Court.  As a result, the arbitration hearing is usually set within months of filing.

2. The cost to arbitrate a case is often less for the consumer than the cost to litigate the case in court.
Depending on the fee agreement that you have with your attorney, and the arbitration agreement that you have with the dealer, in most cases the cost to arbitrate is often less than the cost to litigate the case in court.  There are many reasons for this.  For instance, if your case is arbitrated with the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), and there is no fee shifting clause in the arbitration agreement, then the Consumer Rules of the AAA limit your out of pocket payment to the AAA to $200.  This is less than it costs to file a lawsuit in Court.  Additionally, since discovery is more limited and depositions are not normally taken, the court reporter and deposition transcript costs are eliminated.  Finally, since witnesses are often permitted to testify by phone, the time and travel costs normally paid to witnesses subpoenaed to testify at trial are eliminated.  Finally, since expert witnesses can sometimes testify by phone and arbitrators will work around their schedules, the ultimate bill from an expert is likely to be much less if he or she is testifying at an arbitration hearing as opposed to testifying in trial, where an expert may sit waiting to testify at trial for hours.  However, arbitration clauses that attempt to shift the expenses to the consumer are becoming more and more popular, so look carefully at your arbitration agreement!  

3. The arbitration costs due from the dealer to the arbitration panel early on often sparks settlement negotiations.
If your case is arbitrated through the AAA, there is a couple thousand dollar arbitration fee due from the car dealer to the AAA early on in the case.  This often sparks settlement talks with the smarter car dealers, and can help to get a case settled early on.  There is no similar process in the Court system to spark settlement talks.

4. Hearsay is often admissible at the arbitration hearing, but would not be admissible in court.
The rules of evidence that keep hearsay from being admissible in Court are not normally applied at an arbitration hearing, or are at least less strictly applied.  The decision is left up to the arbitrator whether or not to follow the rules of evidence.  However, most consider it.  This typically favors the consumer because the consumer is the one that is usually trying to get hearsay evidence in at the arbitration hearing, and not the car dealer.

5. Witnesses are often permitted to testify by telephone.
Witnesses are often permitted to testify by phone.  This is helpful when you have a vehicle that has a title chain that spans all over the United States.  And, with wrecked car cases, this happens all to often.  What this means is witnesses that you normally could not subpoena or afford to pay to testify at trial in Court may be willing to pick up a phone and testify at an arbitration hearing from the convenience of their own home or office in their own state.

6. The process is much less intimidating for the consumer.
Many consumers are intimidated by the thought of walking into a courtroom, being before a judge, and having a jury of their peers sit and listen and decide their case.  An arbitration is much less formal, is typically held at a conference table in a medium sized conference room, and is closed to the public.  This venue is much less intimidating to the typical consumer.

7. There are procedures to remove the arbitrator if you have proof that the arbitrator may be biased.
Proof of bias, or possible bias, can often be hard to come by.  But if you have it, there are procedures with the AAA to remove an arbitrator from your case.  But you need to act quickly, because there are deadlines to do so.

8. All tendered evidence is typically considered by the arbitrator, even if the evidence might not be admissible in Court.
This is often helpful where records custodians would normally be necessary in Court.  Often, the necessity of a records witness is unnecessary because an arbitrator will often be willing to consider evidence without the need to call a records witness.  

9. An arbitration award can be confirmed in Court and is just as enforceable as a judgment.
The Ohio Arbitration Act allows for the confirmation of an arbitration decision in the Common Pleas Court.  Once the arbitration decision is confirmed, it is just as collectible as if it had been a court judgment.  Many states have similar laws, so make sure you know what your state's law is in the event that you win the arbitration, but the car dealer doesn't pay the judgment.

10. Quick access to the arbitrator on important issues.
While motions filed in Court are often pending for months, due to busy Court dockets an arbitrator usually only has one case at a time, so issues are decided quickly and telephone hearings can be set up in just days to resolve issues that require a hearing.

Have a case against a car dealer that needs to be arbitrated in Ohio or Kentucky?  You can call Burdge Law Office on our Toll Free Hotline, 1.888.331.6422, to see if we can help you arbitrate your case.  

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 10 Years Running

Friday, May 30, 2014

Google Announces Plans for Driverless Car

On May 29, 2014, Google announced its plans to build, test, and eventually release 100 prototype driverless cars onto city streets-- all by this time next year.

The prototype vehicles are reportedly expected to be two seater, subcompact cars.  The vehicles will reportedly have no steering wheel, gas pedal, or brake pedal.  Instead, the vehicles will use sensors and computing power to move about, with the route set by typing a destination into a map or using voice commands.  The vehicles will also reportedly have special limitations, such as a 25 mph top speed, and will be electricity powered with a maximum 100 mile driving distance before recharge.  The vehicles will not be for sale, but instead provided to select operators for testing.  They will reportedly be built in the Detroit area, but Google has not released the identification of the builders or the cost of the prototypes.

While Google has tested thousands of Lexus SUVs and Toyota Priuses outfitted with sensors and cameras to make them "driverless", these new prototypes will go a step further, taking the "safety driver" out of the equation.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is reportedly required to publish regulations allowing the public use of truly driverless cars like the Google car by summer 2015.  These new regulations are apparently what will allow for Google's prototypes to be released onto city streets.

While summer 2015 is the goal to release the 100 prototype vehicles onto city streets, according to Chris Urmson, the leader of Google's self-driving car team, public release of the 100 fleet prototypes "won't happen until we're confident in the safety." 
Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 10 Years Running

Monday, April 7, 2014

Evenflo Recalls Certain Convertible Car Seats & Harness Booster Seats

Evenflo Company, Inc. is recalling the following convertible and harnessed child restraints:
Momentum 65 (LX and DLX), Chase (LX, DLX, and Select), Maestro (Performance), Symphony (65, LX, 65 E3, and DLX), Snugli All-In-One, Snugli Booster, Titan 65, SureRide DLX, and Secure Kid (LX, DLX, 100, 300, and 400).  The affected car seats have model number prefixes of 306, 308, 310, 329, 345, 346, 371, and 385.

According to Evenflo, the affected car seats have buckles that may become stuck in a latched condition so that they cannot be opened by depressing the buckle’s release button.  As such, it may be difficult to remove the child from the restraint, which could increase the risk of injury in instances where a quick exit from the vehicle is required.

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"), Evenflo will notify registered car seat owners in April 2014, and will provide replacement buckles along with installation instructions.  Owners may contact Evenflo at 1-800-490-7591 or online at

Do you have a car seat that you think may be included in this recall?  If so, contact Evenflo with your car seat model number and date of manufacture to confirm that your child’s car seat is included in this recall. 

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 10 Years Running

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Car Dealer Sues Customer for Posting Video of Repair on YouTube

Jim Butler Chevrolet, a Fenton, Missouri car dealer, has sued one of its customers, Dwayne Cooney, over a video of Mr. Cooney's car repair which Mr. Cooney posted on YouTube.

Mr. Cooney reportedly took his vehicle to Jim Butler Chevrolet on January 31, 2014 for repair of a key fob, an inoperative air pressure monitor, and an illuminated airbag light. Unbeknownst to anyone at Jim Butler Chevrolet, Mr. Cooney had a dash camera which captured the repair of his vehicle on video.  However, since the video is reportedly on a time loop, the video only captured repairs which occurred on Tuesday, February 4, 2014.

Mr. Cooney was billed 4.5 hours of labor for the repair.  However, Mr. Cooney claims that the repair only took 1 1/2 hours by his camera's clock.  Jim Butler Chevrolet, on the other hand, reportedly claims that the repair took more than 5 hours and that 3.2 hours of work was done on the previous day, Monday, February 3, 2014.  Since there is apparently no video for Monday, February 3, 2014, this is obviously an issue in hot dispute.

Mr. Cooney posted an edited, narrated version of the February 4, 2014 video on YouTube as "Gateway Dash Cam".  You can access Mr. Cooney's video here.  In response, Jim Butler Chevrolet posted its own video on YouTube as "Official Gateway Dash Cam".  You can access Jim Butler Chevrolet's video here.

Brad Sowers, principal at Jim Butler Chevrolet, reportedly claims that he attempted to contact Mr. Cooney when he learned of the video.  However, according to Mr. Sowers, Mr. Cooney wanted to take his complaint to General Motors first.  So, Jim Butler Chevrolet filed suit and sought a restraining order requiring Mr. Cooney to take the video down.  Mr. Cooney was served on February 21, 2014 with the Complaint, and summoned to a hearing on the following Monday.  

Mr. Cooney showed up at the hearing without an attorney and the dealership's request for a temporary restraining order was granted.  Mr. Cooney's homeowners insurance company hired an attorney to represent him and eight days later, the same Judge reversed her decision and removed the temporary restraining order, allowing Mr. Cooney to re-post the video on YouTube.    

So what constitutes free speech under the First Amendment when it comes to videos posted on YouTube?  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, and the nationwide accessibility of videos on YouTube, these issues are very likely to be a hot issue in Courts throughout the country in the near future.  So, if you are thinking of posting a video like this on YouTube that could potentially harm a business, and you plan to narrate and edit it, be careful!

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


Monday, March 31, 2014

Jayco, Inc. Recalls Certain 2014 Jay Flight Swift Travel Trailers

Jayco, Inc. has recalled all model year 2014 Jay Flight Swift travel trailers manufactured between January 10, 2014 and January 13, 2014 which were equipped with the Baja option.

According to Jayco, Inc., the Federal Certification and Tire Labels list the incorrect tire size as ST205/75R14C instead of LT235/75R15C.  As such, the vehicles do not conform to the Federal Motor vehicle Safety Standard number 120, “Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles Other Than Passenger Cars”.  And, if the consumer replaces the tire with the incorrect tire listed on the label, it may cause uneven wear on the tire and towing instability could increase the risk of a crash.

To see the two (5) 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"), Jayco, Inc. will notify vehicle owners directly, and its authorized dealers will replace the incorrect Federal Certification and Tire Label with new labels with the correct tire information as LT235/75R15C.  The recall will begin March 24, 2014 and owners may also contact Jayco, Inc. direct at 1-800-283-8267.  Owners may also contact NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 or go to   

Do you have a 2014 Jay Flight Swift that’s been in the shop with tire or alignment issues but never fixed?  If the travel trailer 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, 10 Years Running

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Presidential State Cars From Past to Present

William Howard Taft's
Presidential  Limousine
Presidential state cars have evolved extensively since 1899.

In November of 1899, William McKinley was the first president to ride in an automobile.  His successor, Teddy Roosevelt, was the first to commission a government owned presidential automobile-- a white, convertible Stanley Steamer.  Roosevelt's successor, William Howard Taft, also opted for a white, convertible Stanley Steamer, and converted the White House stables into a garage.  Woodrow Wilson opted for a Pierce-Arrow Limousine.  And his successor, Warren Harding, was the first president to ride to and from his inauguration in an automobile--a
Woodrow Wilson's
Presidential Limousine
Packard Twin Six.  Franklin D. Roosevelt's choice for a presidential automobile was 
1939 Lincoln V12 nick named the "Sunshine Special", and was the first car specifically built for presidential use.

The day after Pear Harbor, on December 8, 1941, the "Sunshine Special" temporarily replaced by Al Capone's 1928 Cadillac 341A Town Sedan while the "Sunshine Special" was modified to provide more protection for the President.  Al Capone's Cadillac was heavily armored and had been confiscated by the Treasury Department following Capone's arrest.  The modified Sunshine Special had armor plating for doors, bullet-proof tires, inch thick windows, and storage compartments for machine guns.
FDR's "Sunshine Special"

Since the late 1930s, the Federal government has specifically commissioned vehicles for presidential use, specifying special features for convenience, communications, and defense.

Today, President Obama's 7.5 ton limousine, which is in reality more of a tank, has been named "The Beast" by secret service agents.  From the outside, the vehicle is built to look like a 2008 Cadillac DTS.  But on the inside, the vehicle is a hybrid of Cadillac components combined with the guts of a Chevrolet Kodiak commercial truck.  The vehicle's armor includes 8 inch plates and 5 inch thick multi-layered
Obama's "Beast"
glass windows, which combine to make the vehicle's doors as heavy as those of a 757 jet.  The vehicle is sealed against biochemical attacks and can stop an IED explosion.  Although details of the presidential limousine are classified for security reasons, reports claim that the vehicle has a night vision system, communication gear, and a blood bank.  The vehicle is only driven by specially trained secret service agents.

And, a new presidential limousine has reportedly been commissioned, which promises to be even sturdier that "The Beast".    

Want to learn more about presidential state cars?  Click here for a link to a blog of the "Top Ten" all time presidential state cars.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 10 Years Running

Monday, March 24, 2014

Car Dealer Sentenced and Ordered to Pay Restitution for Bank Fraud

In the market for a used car?  Do your research first so you know who you are dealing with!
In July 2013, Daniel Young, the owner and operator of Auto Plaza in Billings, Montana, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Sam Haddon to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $490,153 in restitution to First Interstate Bank for bank fraud.

Mr. Young plead guilty to bank fraud in February of last year, reportedly admitting that he defrauded First Interstate Bank in a scheme in which he failed to repay liens on the vehicles that he sold.

According to news reports, Mr. Young owned and operated Auto Plaza Inc. at 1617 First Avenue N., Billings, Montana.  Auto Plaza, Inc. reportedly sold used motor vehicles, along with new and used recreational vehicles, boats, ATVs, and motorcycles with the help of loans from First Interstate Bank and Dealer Services Corp.  When the dealership sold a vehicle or boat, proceeds were supposed to be used to pay off the loan from the bank that had provided the financing for the dealership's inventory.  The bank would then pay off any liens and allow clear title to be passed to the consumer buyer.  However, according to news reports, Mr. Young instead used the sales proceeds to pay other bills and vendors, make payroll, and pay off liens on unrelated sales. 

The Defense Attorney, Brian Kohn, asked for sentencing of 1 year and 1 day, while Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Fehr recommended a 13 month sentence.  Judge Haddon decided to hand down the maximum sentence to the car dealer of 18 months.

So, where do you start your research?  Your first step should be to consult online reviews of local car dealerships before purchasing a car.  One way to do this is to Google the dealership and see if there are any Google+ reviews.  But, 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.

Another easy way to research a local car dealer is to go online to the Common Pleas Court for the County in which the dealer is located.  Not all, but many, have online dockets and allow you to search for cases by party name.  While there are always two sides to every story, lawsuits against a car dealership can be a serious red flag. 

You may also want to turn to your friends on Facebook.  Find out if any of them have purchased a vehicle at a particular dealership and what their experience was like.  These Facebook "reviews" can be even more reliable, when you know the person that they are coming from.

Finally, simply type the name of the dealership into Google or Bing and see what else comes up.  However, keep in mind that a large car dealer is more likely to have an online reputation management company "cleaning up" their online reputation than a small car lot.  So, certainly keep that into perspective.

Good luck, and happy car shopping!

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 10 Years Running