Mistakes Pro Se (and sometimes lawyers) Make in Lemon Law Trials

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1. Not recognizing challenges 

New Jersey keeps statistics about lemon law trials and manufacturers win 70% of those trials.  So if you believe you simple need to show 3 repairs or 20 days out of service, you are unfortunately misplaced.

2. Requirement that the Problem Continues   

First, the law typically requires that the problem still exists.  So a lot of consumers lose when they say, I don’t care if they say its fixed and I agree its not malfunctioning now, but who’s to say it won’t malfunction in the future.  The point is I paid 45,000 for this car, I feel unsafe, and I want a reliable vehicle that I can trust.  Sounds good but that is not the legal standard.

Frustrating Phone Conversation
You mean if the problem is fixed, I can’t bring a claim under the lemon law? 

3. Material Impairment

You have to prove that a problem materially impairs use, value, or safety, saying the vehicle is unsafe may not be enough.

4. Doing it Yourself 

One thing we do is review the challenges beforehand, so the consumer is not surprised.  There are provisions for payment if you prevail, and doing it yourself can be a fatal and unnecessary mistake.

5. Lack of Expert Testimony and the Vehicle Characteristic Defense

Some problems are evident but sometimes, a manufacturer will suggest a condition is simply a product of the car’s design.  If a 4 cylinder vehicle is sluggish, that’s because the vehicle is designed for good gas economy.  Expert testimony can frequently dispel the claim of product design and help establish a problem.  We had a case involving an conditioner that periodically malfunctions, with the manufacturer submitting that the problem did not impair use, value, or safety.  However, the expert explained that the underlying problem impacted the engine, and the judge agreed the issue was substantial placing it under the lemon law.

6. Choosing the Wrong Forum

There are relatively strict requirements for lemon law cases in the Office of Administrative Law, but a variety of claims can be brought in court.  An attorney can help review where the case should be filed.

7. Getting a Lawyer Too Late 

A sadly  over-confident client loses a lemon law trial and then consults a lawyer.  Appeals may be time-consuming and clearly it is better to review options before trial.

HAVE A LEMON LAW CLAIM, CALL FOR A FREE CONSULTATION 

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Jewelry Charge Account Overbilling, Unauthorized Opening and Claims

 

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) and the People of the State of New York today settled claims against Sterling Jewelers Inc.  The Bureau’s and the State’s parallel investigations found that Sterling violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 by opening store credit-card accounts without customer consent; enrolling customers in payment-protection insurance without their consent; and misrepresenting to consumers the financing terms associated with the credit-card accounts. The Bureau also found that Sterling violated the Truth in Lending Act by signing customers up for credit-card accounts without having received an oral or written request or application from them. The State of New York found that Sterling violated several provisions of state law.

Under the settlement, Sterling will pay a $10 million civil money penalty to the Bureau and a $1 million civil money penalty to the State of New York. Sterling has also agreed to injunctive relief.   Sterling operates over 1,500 jewelry stores under several names, including Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria of Jewelry, JB Robinson Jewelers, Marks & Morgan Jewelers, Belden Jewelers, Goodman Jewelers, LeRoy’s Jewelers, Osterman Jewelers, Rogers Jewelers, Shaw’s Jewelers, and Weisfield Jewelers. Sterling is a wholly owned subsidiary of Signet Jewelers Limited, the largest specialty-jewelry retailer in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Copies of the complaint and the proposed consent order filed in federal district court in the Southern District of New York are available at: https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/bcfp_sterling-jewelers_complaint.pdf  and https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/bcfp_sterling-jewelers_proposed-consent-order.pdf 

If you experienced problems with a jewelry credit card, you may be entitled to compensation.

CALL (973) 598-1980 for a Free Consultation

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Typical Car Problems

A recent article in Carproblem Zoo discusses the incidence of vehicle problems.  Car Problems article

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Problem Category Number of Problems
  Engine And Engine Cooling
125407
  Electrical System
122541
  Power Train
106723
  Air Bag
106484
  Service Brakes
89519
  Steering
73914
  Equipment
55225
  Structure
50361
  Suspension
47318
  Vehicle Speed Control
47170
  Visibility
36326
  Other Fuel System
33821
  Exterior Lighting
33416
  Gasoline Fuel System
28181
  Tire
23063
  Seat Belt
16226
  Seats
14723
  Electronic Stability Control
13921
  Wheel
12208
  Latches/locks/linkage
11098
  Unknown Or Other
10920
  Parking Brake
2573
  Air Brake
2224
  Diesel Fuel System
1402
  Traction Control System
1361
  Interior Lighting
1180
  Child Seat
812
  Hybrid Propulsion System
138
  Forward Collision Avoidance
81
  Back Over Prevention
38
  Lane Departure
19

If you experienced repeated car problems, you may be entitled to compensation or a new car.  Call for a Free Consultation

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New Jersey Automobile Dealer Fraud

Frustrated Woman Looking At Broken Down Car Engine

A press release by the Division of Consumer Affairs discusses consumer fraud.   If you

have been a victim of consumer fraud by a dealer, you may be entitled to compensation.



NEWARK – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced that a Middlesex County car dealership has agreed to pay $136,000 and change the way it does business in order to resolve the Division’s consumer fraud investigation of the dealership’s advertising, sales, and leasing practices.

Sansone Hyundai, Inc., located on US-1 in Avenel, entered into the settlement to end the Division’s investigation of its alleged activities, including failing to disclose the total price for certain advertised vehicles, and charging consumers for aftermarket merchandise that was listed at “no charge” on certain leases and sales contracts.

“Consumers should be able to purchase a new car without having to worry about misinformation and hidden costs,” said Attorney General Porrino.  “This settlement ensures that consumers will receive transparency and honesty from this dealership, as required by law.”

​“Dealerships must fully disclose all costs and fees associated with the purchase or lease of a vehicle before consumers sign on the dotted line,” said Steve Lee, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.  “We will continue to enforce the laws and regulations in place to ensure consumers have the facts they need to make informed decisions.”

In a Consent Order with the Division, Sansone Hyundai, among other things, agreed to:

  • comply with all applicable state and/or federal laws, rules, and regulations, including the Consumer Fraud Act, the Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations, the Automotive Sales Regulations, and the Consumer Leasing Act;
  • not misrepresent the terms and conditions of any financing or lease plan;
  • not add and charge for aftermarket merchandise, such as window etch or service contracts, without consumers’ knowledge and/or authorization;
  • not represent to consumers that certain dealer-installed options and/or aftermarket merchandise are mandatory when, in fact, they are not;
  • not sell consumers aftermarket merchandise that overlaps or provides similar benefits in part to merchandise the consumer has already purchased through the lease or sale transaction;
  • accurately reflect in leases the “gross capitalized cost” as required by the consumer leasing act;
  • provide consumers with an opportunity to review all leases and/or sales documents and/or aftermarket contracts prior to signing; and
  • not identify the advertised prices of a motor vehicle by reference to the MSRP sticker, when the motor vehicle includes an addendum to the MSRP sticker that reflects a higher total price.

Sansone Hyundai also agreed to make a $136,250 settlement payment to the State.

Investigator Patrick Mullan, of the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection, conducted this investigation.

​ Deputy Attorney General Cathleen O’Donnell from the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section within the Division of Law represented the State in this matter.

2015 Chevy 4.3 engine problems

There have been multiple complaints about engine problems on 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and other models.  They include,
Engine Stalls/Dies While Driving,
Starts Hard,  Check Engine Light On
Excessive Oil Consumption
Hesitation/Jerking When Trying To Accelerate

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Here are some typical complaints excerpted from NHTSA records,

Engine light stays on will not pass state inspection, traction control or maybe stability light on, loss of power not shifting right, no ac, shut down eng display comes on.

While driving my new 2015 Silverado. I experienced the dash lights flashing on and off, radio on and off, Stabilitrak warning, and Engine Failure. I find this issue to be very unsafe. Due to engine failure possibly in the middle of traffic.
Vehicle owners may be entitled to compensation for repair costs or inconvenience, replacement vehicle, or refund.  Claims may be presented for breach of warranty, lemon law, and Magnuson-Moss Act violations.

Sources


businessman signing a contract

Keywords

2015 chevy silverado problems, 2015 chevy 5.3 engine problems, Chevy Silverado recalls
Call (973) 598-1980 for a Free Consultation on Your Chevrolet Engine Claim

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Volkswagen Atlas Transmission Problems

Owners of the Volkswagen Atlas have been reporting multiple problems with the vehicle including  transmission malfunction.   Youtube features several videos showing problems,

VW Atlas trans problem video 1

Other problems include evap code and leaks, VW Atlas Evap Leak and Code
emissions issues, leaking engine oil,                  Edmunds VW Atlas complaint page

For a Free Consultation on your VW Atlas problem, call (973) 598-1980

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Subaru Infotainment System Failure

A Subaru Starlink lawsuit alleges the infotainment systems freeze and malfunction because the head units fail, and updates offered by the automaker have allegedly failed to fix the systems.  Subaru Starlink failures

The system offers touchscreen multimedia and video and controls  radio and audio system and the cell phone and navigation system. The proposed Subaru class-action lawsuit includes all current and former owners and lessees of the following vehicles equipped with Starlink systems.

  • 2018 Subaru Outback
  • 2018 Subaru Legacy
  • 2018 Subaru Crosstrek
  • 2017-2018 Subaru Impreza
  • 2018 Subaru BRZ

Problems include,

  1. Back-up camera freezes and/or shut downs.
  2. Failure of the system’s head unit with resulting loss of audio and radio functions.
  3. Complete system lock-up/error message displayed on infotainment system that only goes away after vehicle is turned off for several hours and then turned back on to properly reset entire system.
  4. Display shuts off even though functions of infotainment system remain working.
  5. Inability to shut radio/audio off or turn high volume level down (set automatically by way of technical glitch) when backing up.
  6. Radio automatically comes on at high volume when the car is turned on, even if the radio was off when the car was last turned off.
  7. Favorites from smartphone or connected device not being saved to the system.
  8. Audio/radio functioning is erratic, in that radio/audio will turn off at random intervals then come back on suddenly without warning.
  9. Touchscreen controls unresponsive.
  10. Bluetooth connectivity issues preventing phones from connecting properly and calls from being made as well as disabling Apple CarPlay or Android Auto functionality with the system.

 

If you experience problems, you may be entitled to compensation.  Call (973) 598-1980 for a Free Consultation on your claim.

 

Ford Service Bulletins: Lemon Law and Class Action

Service bulletins are typically issued to address a common problem faced by a manufacturer.  They may indicate a widespread problem and confirm unsuccessful attempts to address it.  Here are links to some common Ford vehicle problems.

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