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Toyota sues military family and refuses to honor car warranty

October 24, 2016

Toyota sues military family and refuses to honor the warranty on a defective 2013 Toyota Rav 4. Sign the petition to support the family and protect our #ConsumerRights #LemonLaw

Toyota Petition: Protect Those Protecting Us, Stop Toyota From Cheating US Military

Court awards student $3,100 and orders Chrysler pay off car loan

October 21, 2016

Court awards student $3,100 and orders Chrysler to pay off her $29,000 car loan on a lemon car that stopped working two weeks after purchase.

Read more here: http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Woman-Wins-Lemon-Law-Case-and-Gets-Refund-393589241.html

FTC's First Foray Combatting Yo-Yo Sales Abuses

October 5, 2016
Read more about it here: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2016/09/ftc-charges-los-angeles-based-sage-auto-group-using-deceptive

Wells Fargo Forces Honest Customers Into Unfair Private Arbitration

September 22, 2016
Wells Fargo created over 2 million fake bank accounts, forged signatures and may have improperly used customer data. Yet honest banking customers cannot sue Wells Fargo in court AND are required to go to private arbitration. Outrageous! #ConsumerFinanciaProtection

Read more about it here: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-wells-fargo-arbitration-20151205-story.html

Talent-Nelson Military Lending Act Expansion of Consumer Credit Protection Starting Oct 1. 2016

September 16, 2016
Attention: Military servicemembers and dependents; new law provides strict 36% military APR cap, renders arbitration clauses unenforecable, expands protection to more types of consumer credit, and more. #ConsumerLawWin.
Read more about it here: https://library.nclc.org/starting-october-3-new-consumer-rights-3-million-servicemembers-dependents

DANGER! YOUR NEXT LOANER OR RENTAL CAR MAY BE UNDER RECALL! CONGRESSMAN FACES ETHICS VIOLATIONS FOR DANGEROUS NEW LOOPHOLE

September 14, 2016
Read more about it here: https://www.publicintegrity.org/2016/09/13/20182/congressman-offers-unusual-defense-ethics-probe

ODOMETER ROLLBACK FRAUD ON THE RISE

September 7, 2016

Odometer rollbacks defraud American car buyers out of more than $10 billion every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA). By rolling back a used car's odometer from, for example, 120,000 miles to 30,000 miles, the value of a used car is fraudulently inflated to thousands of dollars more. Victims of odometer fraud are robbed of at least $4,000 per vehicle from breaking down and subsequent repair work.

What is an odometer rollback? When a vehicle transfers owners, the previous owner must give the new owner a written odometer statement disclosing the vehicle's true mileage at the time of transfer. An odometer rollback occurs where a dealer or private seller alters the mileage on the car's odometer.

Here are three ways to check your car for odometer fraud.

  1. Check out the wear and tear on the vehicle. Does the wear and tear match the mileage?
  2. Have the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic.
  3. Using the VIN number, obtain the vehicle history report from trusted database services such as:
    1. CARFAX Odometer Check
    2. AutoCheck
    3. National Motor Vehicle Title Information System

Fighting Odometer Fraud

Victims of consumer fraud have several legal claims due to federal and state odometer statutes.

Under the Federal Odometer Act, odometer fraud is a felony. Further, a victim of odometer fraud may collect up to $10,000 or treble damages of 3 times the actual damages, whichever is greater, plus attorney fees and court costs.

Under New York Gen. Bus. Law § 392-e, a seller of a vehicle is prohibited from (1) providing a false odometer disclosure statement upon transfer of a vehicle; (2) misrepresenting true mileage driven to a transferee by disconnecting or changing an odometer or causing an odometer to be disconnected or changed, so as to reduce the mileage indicated; (3) removing an odometer repair notice.

Act Now

If you are a victim of odometer fraud, the Kasell Law Firm may be able to help you obtain damages. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please email me at David@KasellLawFirm.com or call (718) 404-6668. I look forward to working with you!

This material may be viewed as attorney advertising and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. This article strictly represents the personal views of the author on the date it was written and such views are subject to change without notice.


$400,000 IN LEMON LAW AWARDS UPHELD

August 31, 2016
Court upholds $400,000 award for a broken-down commercial tow truck. See how #LemonLaw wins for the consumer. Read more here: http://archive.jsonline.com/blogs/news/378269021.html


JEEP CHEROKEE (2014 & 2015 Models) TRANSMISSION ISSUES

Is your Jeep Cherokee having problems? Thousands of complaints with late model Jeep Cherokee transmissions. #LemonLaw

Read more here: http://www.wtae.com/news/thousands-file-complaints-over-jeep-cherokee-transmissions/40249270

GEORGIA DEALERSHIP PAYS $80,000 FOR FAILURE TO DISCLOSE BUYBACK STATUS

August 17, 2016
Car dealership pays $80,000 for failing to provide consumers with mandatory form that discloses vehicle buyback status.

Did your car dealership provide you with a history of your car?

Read more about it here: http://legalnewsline.com/stories/510990622-southtowne-enters-assurance-of-voluntary-compliance-after-lemon-law-buyback-allegations

TEXAS CONGRESSMAN VIOLATED CONFLICT OF INTEREST LAWS BY BENEFITTING OWN CAR DEALERSHIP, HOUSE ETHICS PANEL FINDS

August 15, 2016
Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), a second-generation auto dealer, pushed legal changes allowing car dealerships to rent or loan cars with safety recalls. The House Ethics Committee found that Rep. Williams' "personal financial interest in his auto dealership may be perceived as having influenced his performance of official duties." The House rules state that members cannot use their influence for personal gain, financial or otherwise.

Read more about it here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/08/11/house-ethics-panel-finds-substantial-reason-to-suspect-auto-dealer-congressman-of-conflict-of-interest/

STATEN ISLAND DANA FORD LINCOLN DEALERSHIP REFUSES TO REPAIR OR HONOR WARRANTY FOR DEFECTIVE FORD FOCUS

August 1, 2016
"Transmission Error-turn off car for 7 minutes." $28,000 lease for defective Ford Focus that shuts down unexpectedly. Staten Island Dealership refuses to repair or honor warranty agreement. The Kasell Law Firm has taken on the case against Ford Motors for full lease refund and damages. Read more about it here: http://www.silive.com/…/04/lawsuit_si_psychic_claims_ford.h…

DEALER FAILS TO REGISTER CAR, BUYER GETS REFUND

July 20, 2016
She paid $18,000 in full for a 2011 Acura TSX but can't drive it because the Dealer failed to register the car. The Kasell Law Firm has seen and resolved many cases just like this. See it here: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Dealer-Cant-Register-Car-Woman-Wants-Refund-387557011.html


Negotating Car Prices

July 19, 2016
Bargaining, Haggling, Negotiating - we have to do it when buying cars, no matter what we call it. Here's why - http://priceonomics.com/why-do-we-haggle-for-cars/

ON THE EVILS OF FORCED ARBITRATION

July 15, 2016

Regardless of whether you love or hate Fox Fox News, this news could impact you.

Fox News CEO, Roger Ailes, facing a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit is now trying to remove the case from court into private arbitration - away from the media and public eye. Gretchen Carlson, former Fox anchor, filed the sexual harassment suit against Ailes for his alleged requests for Carlson to turn around so he could observe her "posterior" and for her to "get along with the boys."

The FOX CEO argues that Carlson does not have a right to a public trial, claiming a mandatory arbitration clause in Carlson's contract stating that any employment dispute must be done confidentially, in arbitration. According to a 2011 study by Cornell University's Alexander Colvin, employees in private arbitration proceedings have lower success rates and are awarded less money damages.

Whether in employment contracts or auto sale contracts, the danger of mandatory arbitration clauses is that our Constitutional right to trial is forcibly stripped away, our voice silenced and justice evaded.

Read more about the case here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2016/07/09/roger-ailes-opts-for-secrecy-cowardice-in-face-of-gretchen-carlson-suit/

The Kassel Law Firm is a Proud Member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates

June 30, 2016

The Kasell Law Firm is a proud member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates

NACA Letter to Congress Urging Opposition to Financial Services Govt Funding Bill
June 24, 2016

Today, American financial consumers are at high risk of losing their legal right to bring class-action lawsuits against financial institutions. Last week, Congress passed a bill that excuses abusive business practices of banks, credit card companies, and lenders, avoiding accountability and allowing the same financial institutions to continue the predatory practice of blocking groups of customers from suing them in court. To restore the right of consumers to challenge the deceitful behavior of powerful corporations, members of Congress must oppose the Appropriations Financial Services Bill of 2017 fiscal year.

The Kasell Law Firm joins with the National Association of Consumer Advocates in urging members of Congress to vote in favor of the amendment, sponsored by House Representative Keith Ellison and Hank Johnson, to allow funding to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s authority  to issue rules that regulate and prevent financial institutions from using mandatory forced arbitration clauses in their consumer contracts.

The Kasell Law Firm is a proud member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.


The 2 Disclosures Used Car Dealerships Must Provide to Consumers

June 14, 2016

Used car sales are projected to rise in 2016, so is the possibility of deceptive auto sales and car dealership fraud. The danger of buying a used car is that it could have unfixed safety recalls that the dealership fails to disclose or a dealer failing to inform a consumer that the used car they just bought was once a taxicab. Luckily, New York  protects used car buyers from dealership fraud through laws designed to punish dealerships for preying on consumers. Here are: The 2 Disclosures Dealerships Must Provide to Used Car Consumers.

1. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 417-a, dealers must provide buyers with a written certificate of prior use if the used car was once a:

a. Taxicab;

b. Rental car;

c. Police car; OR

d. Driver education vehicle.

2. Dealerships must provide buyers with a written certificate of nonconformity from the manufacturer or dealer if the used car was previously returned to a manufacturer or dealer for nonconformity to its warranty and the defect or condition was not fixed within a reasonable time as provided by New York Law.

Dealership Violation
The dealership violates New York Law if (1) the car dealer fails to provide the written certificates to a used car buyer or (2) provides used cars buyers with a document that has false or misleading information on it.

Remedy
If the dealership is found to violate NY V&T 417-a, consumers may bring an action to recover a judgment three times the actual damages suffered by the consumer or one hundred dollars, whichever is greater. Courts may also award reasonable attorneys’ fees to the consumer if the consumer’s action is successful.

Protect Yourself from Lemon Cars

The bottom line is, cars are a big life investment and fighting for your rights can be complicated.  Make sure you get everything in writing and keep all of the documents from the deal.  If something doesn’t make sense, have the dealership explain it.  If you think you are being taken advantage of or if the car is having problems that just don’t seem right for a car you just bought, contact a lawyer because you may be able to do something about it.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please email me at David@KasellLawFirm.com or call (718) 404-6668. I look forward to working with you!


This material may be viewed as attorney advertising and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. This article strictly represents the personal views of the author on the date it was written and such views are subject to change without notice.

6 Easy Tips to Avoid A Lemon Car

June 6, 2016

This summer, you will undoubtedly see advertisements for new and used cars on billboards, flyers, newspapers and at your local NYC car dealerships. Perhaps the sight of the inflatable wavy wacky tube man will entice you to look at the shiny red convertible parked in front of the dealership. So, how do you avoid buying a lemon car? Here are 6 easy tips to avoid a lemon car:

  1. Ask Questions. More Questions,The Better.

    1. "How many miles does it have?" If the mileage is higher than 20,000 per year or lower than 5,000, ask why. A high-mileage car used on a long highway commute is better than if it did a lot of short trips or stop-and-go driving.

    2. "How is it equipped?" Transmission type; A/C; antilock brakes; airbags; audio system; power windows, locks, seats, and mirrors; cruise control.

    3. "What's the car’s condition?" Start broad to see if the seller brings up something you did not think to ask.

    4. "How about the body and interior?"

    5. "Has it been in an accident?"

      1. If yes, ask about the extent of the damage, the cost of repairs, and the shop that did the work. Serious accidents should be a red flag.

    6. "Do you have service records?"

      1. You want a car that has been well cared for. It should have had maintenance performed at regular manufacturer-specified intervals. Ask for maintenance receipts for any new muffler, brakes, tires, or other "wear" parts that have been replaced. Receipts should note the odometer reading.

    7. "Has the car been recalled?

      1. Was any safety-recall work performed? When?

    8. Are you the first owner?

      1. If buying from a private seller, you want to know how owners the car has had.

    9. Who is the primary driver?

      1. Is it the private seller who seems responsible or their teenager with a need for speed?

  2. Inspect the Exterior

    1. Inspect the ENTIRE car for dents, rust, scratches and anything that could indicate a repair.

    2. Cracked windows are expensive to replace.

    3. Suspension should be sitting level and the car should not be bounce. Tip: Pull on the top of each tire. If the tire feels loose or there is a clunking metallic sound, the wheel bearings and/or suspension joints may need service.

    4. Headlights and reflectors should not have cracks and not have any foggy moisture.

    5. Tires should have even wear across the treads on all tires.

      1. Tires must have at least 1/16 inch of tread to be legal. Insert a quarter into the tread groove, with Washington’s head down. If you can see the top of Washington’s head, the tire needs to be replaced.

      2. Wear on the outside shoulder of the front tire, edge of the sidewall indicates heavier aggressive driving.

      3. More wear on the middle of the tire than the side of the tire indicates overinflated tires.

    6. Spare tire should be in good shape with jack and lug wrench.

  3. Inspect the Interior

    1. Does interior smell like a new car or an ashtray? Odors caused by smoke and mold from water damage may be expensive to get rid of.

    2. Do ALL the seats work properly?

    3. Gas and brake pedal worn or lightly used? Check the rubber on the pedals for wear.

    4. Dashboard instruments and controls.

      1. Make sure all the dashboard lights - especially check engine light - work by starting the car.

      2. Do the AC and heat controls work properly? Does the AC quickly cool the car or does the AC need to be recharged? How does the air smell when the heat is on high?

    5. Speakers and sound system.

      1. Check if your phone or other devices connect and work properly with the car. Does the bluetooth work? How about the AUX cable port?

    6. Roof Upholstery

      1. Does the roof sag or are there any water spots? Sunroof or windows that improperly close may leaks and cause water damage.

  4. Pop the Hood

    1. Check the battery condition

      1. If the battery has filler caps, clean the caps, unscrew the caps and look at the liquid level. If the level is low, the battery may be working too hard and a mechanic may need to conduct a load test on the battery.

      2. Some batteries have a charge indicator. Green indicates a full charge while Yellow or Black indicates that the battery needs to be replaced.

    2. Belts and hoses are in proper working condition if the rubber is firm and flexible, not dry, cracked or too soft. Perform the check by squeezing up and down the rubber belt and hoses.

    3. Engine oil should be dark brown or black with no grit. If the dipstick has water droplets on it, grey or foamy oil, then there may be serious issue with a cracked engine block or blown gasket.

    4. Transmission fluid should be pinkish, not brown with no metallic particles on the dipstick. It should smell like oil, not burnt. Automatic Transmission fluid must be tested with the engine warmed up.

    5. Brake and power-steering fluids should be within the marked safe levels.

    6. Radiator coolant should been greenish or orange, not a milky or rusty color. Also check the rubber hose connecting the radiator to the plastic reservoir.

  5. Under the Car

    1. If you can get under the car, check for oil leaks, red or green engine fluid leaks.

    2. Touch the tailpipe, the smudge on your hand should be dry and dark grey. If it is black and greasy, that indicates oil burning and the car producing higher emissions.

    3. Check the exhaust system line for rust. It is not uncommon for cars from colder climates to have mufflers fall off due to rust.

    4. Welding and fresh undercoating may indicate past structural repairs.

    5. On a front wheel drive car, examine the constant velocity joint boots inboard of the front wheels. They are round black-rubber bellows at the end of the axle shafts. If they are split and greasy, this indicates a bad CV joint that is a very expensive repair.

  6. Get a Diagnostic from an Independent Mechanic

    1. Before you sign off on the buying the car, ask the dealership to lend you the car to have an independent mechanic to check it out. A common practice is to leave your identification with the dealership. If buying from a private seller, offer to follow the seller to the mechanic for inspection.

    2. Diagnostic jobs are approximately $100 depending on the mechanic. Using the diagnostic repair, you are in a better position to negotiate the price of the car.

Protect Yourself from Lemon Cars

The bottom line is, cars are a big life investment and fighting for your rights can be complicated.  Make sure you get everything in writing and keep all of the documents from the deal.  If something doesn’t make sense, have the dealership explain it.  If you think you are being taken advantage of or if the car is having problems that just don’t seem right for a car you just bought, contact a lawyer because you may be able to do something about it.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please email me at David@KasellLawFirm.com or call (718) 404-6668. I look forward to working with you!

This material may be viewed as attorney advertising and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. This article strictly represents the personal views of the author on the date it was written and such views are subject to change without notice.

SCAM: "YO-YO" CAR SALES TRAP

May 19, 2016

You just signed the sales contract to buy your dream car. You were promised low rate financing by the car dealership’s manager of Finance and Insurance. You drive your new car home and show it off to your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors. Everything is going great until you receive the "yo-yo" car scam phone call from the car dealership.

On the "scam" phone call, the dealership tells you that you did not qualify for the financing rate agreed upon on the sales contract that you signed. Further, they tell you to come back to the dealership with your new car. At the dealership, they tell you that you need to sign a new contract with a higher interest rate and/or pay an even bigger down payment.

Today, car buyers - especially those with bad credit - are falling prey to a scam known as "yo-yo," "bait-and-switch" and "spot financing."

The "yo-yo" or "spot financing" scam means that the buyer is sold the car on the spot and drives off the lot before loan financing approval is complete. Dealerships know that when a buyer drives home with the new car, posting pictures of it on Facebook, showing it off to coworkers, the buyer grows attached - it would be humiliating to be forced to return this new car simply because the financing fell through. Further, most consumers aren’t savvy about negotiating with banks and lenders for the best financing rates. Knowing this, dealers prey on consumers eager to drive off with a new car without first securing a loan from a third-party lender.

Dealers will try to make you pay a bigger down payment and sign a new contract with higher interest rates by:

  • Threatening to...

    • Destroy your credit by reporting you to credit agencies.

    • Repossess the vehicle.

    • Report the vehicle as stolen, leaving you stranded at the dealership.

    • Report you to your employer.

    • If you are in the military, threaten to report you to your base command.

  • Claim that...

    • Your credit is lower than it it really is, making the dealer’s new contract with a bigger down payment and higher interest rate seem like the best deal you can get.

    • They did everything to obtain a loan with a loan rate even though the dealership did not submit the paperwork to third-party lenders.

  • Making it seem like signing the dealer’s new contract is your only option.

4 Ways to Avoid "Yo-Yo" Financing Scams

  1. Save up for your next car and pay in cash, instead of taking out a loan.

  2. Buy a used car for a better deal and value--New cars rapidly depreciate when driven off the lot.

  3. Shop around at reputable banks and credit unions for a loan. Get pre-approved for a loan before car shopping. Third-party lenders pay dealerships more for high interest rate loans. Never let a dealer arrange a loan financing.

  4. Avoid "Bad Credit? No Problem! 0% Financing!" advertisements. Dealerships use these advertisements to lure in unsuspecting buyers, especially those with bad credit or low-income.

4 Things To Do If A Dealership Tries to Yo-Yo Scam You, Demanding Return of the Car

  1. Have a friend follow you to the dealership in another car. If the dealership demands that you sign a "new contract" with a higher interest rate, do not sign the contract, leave the car and have your friend drive you home.

  2. Get everything in writing. Have the dealership put in writing that you failed to qualify for financing under the original contract. By putting it in writing, the dealership is admitting that the original contract is no longer valid due to lack of financing. If the dealership refuses to put it in writing, leave the car at the dealership and write a letter to the dealership explaining that they refused to put in writing that the original financing was not approved and the original contract is no longer valid.

  3. Never sign a new contract with higher interest rates or a larger down payment. The "yo-yo" scam takes advantage of the buyer’s attachment to the new car and uses intimidation tactics to force the buyer to agree to worse terms than the original contract.

  4. Stay calm and contact an attorney specializing in auto law. Dealerships may pressure you into signing a new contract by threatening your credit, reputation and reporting the car as stolen. Stay calm, leave the car and keys at the dealership. The dealers may even refuse to return your down payment. Stay calm and contact an attorney.

Protect Yourself from Yo-Yo Financing and other Auto Scams

The bottom line is, cars are a big life investment and fighting for your rights can be complicated.  Make sure you get everything in writing and keep all of the documents from the deal.  If something doesn’t make sense, have the dealership explain it.  If you think you are being taken advantage of or if the car is having problems that just don’t seem right for a car you just bought, contact a lawyer because you may be able to do something about it.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please email me at David@KasellLawFirm.com or call (718) 404-6668. I look forward to working with you!

This material may be viewed as attorney advertising and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. This article strictly represents the personal views of the author on the date it was written and such views are subject to change without notice.

CFPB PROPOSED RULE AIMS TO END FORCED ARBITRATION IN CLASS ACTIONS FOR FINANCIAL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

May 12, 2016
On May 5, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed a new rule that consumer contracts with arbitration requirements must include a notice to consumers that class actions can be brought to court because they are not affected by arbitration requirements. As the CFPB only has jurisdiction over consumer financial products, the proposed rule grants consumers the right to file or participate in class action lawsuits concerning financial products and services.
Today, companies generally include arbitration requirements in consumer contracts, "forcing" consumers to waive their rights to bring or participate in a class action lawsuit. By signing the contract, often without reading the fine print, consumers "consent" to resolve any future dispute with the company in arbitration proceedings. Additionally, companies choose the arbitration company named in the contract. As arbitration proceedings are outside of the legal system, it is private, without a right to appeal, public review, judge, or a jury to ensure a fair and just outcome. Further, arbitrators do not need to take the law or legal precedent into account in making decisions.
In 2015, the CFPB study concluded that "arbitration agreements are being widely used to prevent consumers from seeking relief from legal violations on a class basis, and that consumers rarely file individual lawsuits or arbitration cases to obtain such relief." See CFPB Proposed Rule 1040 here. Congress directed the CFPB to study pre-dispute arbitration agreements under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to protect consumers and the public interest, CFPB crafted proposed rule 1040 so that consumers can file or participate in class actions concerning financial products and services. Therefore, as some companies primarily use arbitration clauses to prevent class action lawsuits, the proposed rule may motivate companies to stop using arbitration clauses in consumer contracts altogether.
To submit your comment on CFPB Proposed Rule 12 CFR 1040, identified by Docket No. CFPB-2016-0020 or RIN 3170-AA51, use any of the following methods:

  • Email: FederalRegisterComments@cfpb.gov. Include Docket No. CFPB-2016-0020 or RIN 3170-AA51 in the subject line of the email.
  • Electronic: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

  • Mail: Monica Jackson, Office of the Executive Secretary, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street, NW., Washington, DC 20552.

  • Hand Delivery/Courier: Monica Jackson, Office of the Executive Secretary, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1275 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20002

FEDERAL PROTECTION FOR DEFECTIVE CARS NOT COVERED BY NEW YORK LEMON LAW: THE MAGNUSON-MOSS WARRANTY ACT

April 1, 2016

After many expensive auto repair bills and wasted company time at the mechanic’s, your car is certainly a "lemon". Does your defective commercial or personal car fall outside the protections of New York’s Lemon law? The federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act may offer protection for consumers with defective cars that do not qualify as a "lemon" under New York state law. Further, the federal lemon law act can better assist commercial consumers with defective cars used for commercial rather than personal use because New York’s Lemon law does not apply to commercial vehicles. Now is the time to act!
What is the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act?
Magnuson-Moss is a federal law that protects consumers that purchase any product that costs more than $25 and has a written warranty. A warranty is a promise from a manufacturer or seller that a product is sound, that the manufacturer or seller guarantees to correct product failures. Under the federal act, Manufacturers and Sellers that provide written warranties on consumer products must provide consumers with detailed information about warranty coverage and allow consumers the opportunity to compare warranty coverage before buying the product.
How does the federal Magnuson-Moss Act apply to car consumers?
To qualify under the Magnuson-Moss Act, a vehicle purchaser must have a written warranty on their car that is still defective despite numerous repairs, in order to sue the manufacturers for breach of warranty. Unlike New York lemon law, the federal lemon law does not place mileage restrictions on cars for consumers to obtain protection. In other words, the Magnuson-Moss Act offers protection to consumers with car defects outside of the New York Lemon law provisions.
Does New York Lemon law apply to my car?
New York Lemon Law has a four year statute of limitations from the delivery date of the car to the start of a filing a claim under the law. Consumers should check if their new or used car is protected subject to limitations of New York Lemon law listed below:

New Cars Covered by NY Lemon LawUsed Cars Covered by NY Lemon Law
  • Covered by a warranty at original delivery;
  • Was purchased, leased or transferred within the earlier of 18,000 miles or two years from the date of original delivery; AND
  • Was either purchased, leased or transferred in New York State or is presently registered in the state; AND
  • Is used primarily for personal purposes.
  • At least 4 repairs or 30 days out of service within 18,000 miles or 2 years, whichever comes first.
  • Purchased, leased or transferred after the earlier of 18,000 miles or two years from original delivery; AND
  • was purchased or leased from a New York dealer; AND
  • had a purchase price or lease value of at least $1,500; AND
  • has been driven less than 100,000 miles at the time of purchase/lease; AND
  • is used primarily for personal purposes.
  • 3 repairs; or 15 days out of service within:
    • 90 days or 4,000 miles for vehicles with 18,001 – 36,000 mile at time of delivery.
    • 60 days or 3,000 miles for vehicles with 36,001 – 79,999 miles at time of delivery.
    • 30 days or 1,000 miles for vehicles with 80,000 – 100,000 miles at time of delivery.
Protect Yourself and Your Lemon Law Rights
The bottom line is, defective cars are expensive and fighting for your consumer rights under New York or federal law can be complicated.  Make sure you get everything in writing and keep all of the documents from the deal.  If your car keeps on breaking down despite repeated repairs, check your warranty coverage. If it doesn’t make sense, have them explain it.  If you think you are being taken advantage of or if the car is having problems that just don’t seem right for a car you just bought, contact a lawyer because you may be able to do something about it.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, please email me atDavid@KasellLawFirm.com or call (718) 404-6668. I look forward to working with you!
This material may be viewed as attorney advertising and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. This article strictly represents the personal views of the author on the date it was written and such views are subject to change without notice.



CAR LOANS AND THE TRUTH IN LENDING ACT

March 21, 2016

What is TILA?
Truth In Lending Act cases are complicated and require competent legal representation. If you believe you have a Truth In Lending Act case, consult an attorney for more information.

The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) is a federal law that protects you against inaccurate and unfair credit billing and credit card practices. It requires lenders to provide you with loan cost information so that you can comparison shop for certain types of loans. Also, TILA allows parties bringing a TILA claim to have their cases heard by federal district judges.

Car Loans and the Truth In Lending Act

In Pierre v. Planet Auto. Inc., Plaintiff Pierre ("Buyer") agreed to purchase the car, a 2012 Suzuki Kizashi, for around $25,000.  However, in order to secure an automobile loan from Planet Automobile ("Dealer"), the Dealer required the Buyer to "buy down" the interest rate of her loan by purchasing additional products for the car.  As a result, the final purchase price was almost $34,000, an eye-popping $9,000 above the agreed price of $25,000.  During the sale, the Dealer gave the Buyer four documents, each with a different listed price. The Buyer was concerned that the different prices on the four documents illegally increased the price of the car and inaccurately disclosed the cost of the loan.

So, the Buyer sued both the Dealer and American Suzuki Financial Services ("Suzuki") for federal law violations in the Truth in Lending Act and Magnuson Moss Consumer Warranty Act, along with New York state-law claims of fraud and false advertising.
Suzuki filed a summary judgment motion asking the magistrate judge for a decision before the trial began. The magistrate judge granted summary judgment, deciding in favor of Suzuki on both federal and state law claims. Since only Suzuki filed a summary judgment motion, the magistrate judge’s decision meant that the lawsuit was now between the Buyer and Dealer. Seeking justice against Suzuki, the Buyer appealed the magistrate’s decision and the case went up to the United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York for review.
District court judge Margo K. Brodie had to decide whether or not to uphold the magistrate judge’s decision. Judge Brodie concluded that the factors of "economy, convenience, fairness, and comity" weighed in favor of reversing the magistrate’s decision to allow the Court to review the Buyer’s state law claims against Suzuki. Further, Judge Brodie reserved decision on the dismissal of the federal Truth In Lending Act claim, which means she may well reverse given what appears to be a fairly clear-cut TILA violation.  If so, what once looked like a defeat for the Buyer could turn out to be a victory.
Act Now!

If you don’t bring your Truth in Lending Act case within one year from when you enter into the contract, any lawsuit would be time-barred, meaning you can’t sue.

Protect Yourself and Your Rights from Deceptive Dealers

The bottom line is, cars are expensive and financing a car can seem complicated.  Make sure you get everything in writing and keep all of the documents from the deal.  If the dealer or its salesperson is telling you something but refusing to document it walk away.  If it doesn’t make sense, have them explain it.  If you think you are being taken advantage of or if the car is having problems that just don’t seem right for a car you just bought, contact a lawyer because you may be able to do something about it.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please email me atDavid@KasellLawFirm.com or call (718) 404-6668. I look forward to working with you!

This material may be viewed as attorney advertising and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. This article strictly represents the personal views of the author on the date it was written and such views are subject to change without notice.

3 COMMON CONSUMER SECURITIES ARBITRATION CLAIMS 

March 14, 2016

What is Securities Arbitration?

Different from lawsuits with a judge and jury, arbitration allows parties to resolve disputes through a neutral third-party called an arbitrator who has knowledge in the areas of disagreement. Arbitrations are now frequently used by commercial businesses as a fast and inexpensive process to resolve complicated disputes.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA) is a regulatory agency that oversees the securities industry. Every brokerage firm, their representatives and stock brokers are all registered with FINRA. Under the registration agreement, brokers are bound by the FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure to arbitrate disputes with customers and further, a customer can force brokers to arbitrate disputes.

The Top 3 Common Consumer FINRA Claims:

  1. Unsuitable Investments
    FINRA rules require that your broker must have a reasonable basis to believe that a transaction or investment strategy that your broker recommends is suitable for you. Sometimes called "Know Your Customer" rules, your broker must know the particulars of your finances. Using industry knowledge and litigation experience we can help determine if you were victimized by unsuitable investments.
  2. Churning
    Churning occurs when a broker buys and sells securities in an account mainly for the purpose of generating commissions that benefit the broker. It may not matter if the trades are profitable for you if they were undertaken for the purpose of generating commissions. We can help evaluate whether you were a victim of account churning and what amount of damages you suffered as a result.
  3. Mutual Fund Abuses
    It is widely understood that mutual funds are not suitable for use as short term trading vehicles but that may not stop an unscrupulous broker. Sometimes a mutual fund held for several years can be the subject of abuse because of back-end loads — fees charged where mutual fund shares are sold before they have been held for a certain length of time. Other abuses can come from failing to advise a customer about breakpoints for certain dollar amounts of investment transactions. If any of these things happened to you, you may be able to recover from the broker or his firm.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please email me atDavid@KasellLawFirm.com or call (718) 404-6668. I look forward to working with you!

This material may be viewed as attorney advertising and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. This article strictly represents the personal views of the author on the date it was written and such views are subject to change without notice.

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