Articles Posted in General Automobile

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A consumer from California named Eric successfully got BMW to buyback his defective Mini Cooper. The vehicle drop-off occurred on November 19, 2009, seven days before Thanksgiving. Eric wrote a blog about his experiences and the steps he took to get BMW to repurchase his vehicle.

As rare as it is from my experience, it looks like BMW did the right thing in this case. I will say that the probability for car manufacturers to do the right thing in California is much higher than in Texas. The lemon laws, although named similarly, are both very different from state to state. California Lemon Law, specifically the Song-Beverly Act, is much more consumer friendly than the Texas Lemon Law.

Among other things, for one, California lemon law has an automatic attorney fee shifting provision that forces the car manufacturer to pay the plaintiff/consumer’s attorney fees. In Texas, the attorney fee shifting is not automatic,…at the lemon law administrative hearing, the only way that the car manufacturer is required to pay the consumer’s lemon law is if the car manufacturer obtained its own attorney and provide the consumer with proper notice. Quite often, the car manufacturer will not hire an attorney and instead, would hire car experts who are trained by attorneys and have attended these hearings on a regular basis.

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I must admit, I love to purchase small items on Ebay. However, when it comes to buying large tickets items, such as a house or automobile, I will most likely stick to the traditional realtor or car dealer. My reasoning stems from the concern that if something goes wrong (such as obtaining a lemon house or car), then it will be easier to hold a person or brick/mortar company responsible.

For years now, Ebay has been utilizing the pervasiveness of the Internet to auction vehicles through its website. Used or pre-owned car dealers will list their inventory on Ebay for a fee. The problem stems from the bad press that Ebay has been receiving regarding the vast amount of lemons that are being sold on Ebay’s car auction site.

Just 2 years ago, I sat in on a lawsuit case about a buyer suing one of the car dealers who listed a lemon and wrecked car on Ebay. The car dealer’s defense was that he knew nothing about the car’s history, even though the facts were very clear that there was a history of tamper and accidents linked to the car. The dealer ended up losing and the car buyer was awarded several thousands in damages.

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Last month, right before the inauguration, I helped a friend move from Texas to Maryland (yes, I did temporarily closed my lemon law office for a couple of days,…but, I stayed in touched with all of my clients via my laptop and cell phone,…hence, clients are happy). Once we arrived in Maryland, my friend needed to purchase a vehicle and we began shopping for a pre-owned car over that weekend.

From that experience, I proffer some tips that I’ve learned on ways to avoid a potentially problematic vehicle, aka, the lemon car. Please keep in mind that these tips are merely my personal bias opinion and not legal advice, by any means. Also, please DO NOT call my office if you are a victim of a pre-owned or used lemon car, as my office only handles new lemon cars.

Tip #1: If you have an Iphone, G1, or any smartphone with data or internet capabilities, then bring it along (make sure you enroll in before you go car shopping).

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Often times, I am asked for referrals of attorneys who handles non-Texas lemon law related cases and do not know who to send the potential clients to. Recently, I discovered that provides a network that is designed exclusively for attorneys. It looks like I will be using the information found on their website to contact other attorneys practicing in other areas of law that is not lemon law related.

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I just got back from attending the NACA 2008 Auto Fraud Conference, May 16-18, 2008, San Antonio, Texas. NACA is the National Association of Consumer Associates. It is one of the largest organization for Plaintiff’s attorneys who represent consumers.

The seminars were great and I have picked up a few updated information regarding the status of federal and state case laws for auto fraud and Texas lemon law related claims. At the seminar, I also met lemon law attorneys from outside Texas. In the next couple of weeks, I will post the information that I have obtained and learned on here. Stay tuned!

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One unfortunately common complain we hear from our clients is that their new car has a leak. Door seals leak, retractable roofs leak, sun roofs leak and so on. When you buy a new car, you should expect to be able to stay dry inside it, even if you are in a car wash. However, it is unreasonable to expect to be able to drive your car into the ocean and still have it function.

This is not true for the new Rinspeed sQuba which is scheduled to be displayed at the Geneva auto show in March 2008. At a push of a button, the sQuba changes from a land vehicle to an amphibious one. The sQuba is driven electrically, propelling the rear wheels while on land with a 37 kW engine and with two stern propellers and two bow jet drives while underwater. It is also ‘futuristic’ in that some components are made of carbon nano tubes and it is a zero emission vehicle. It has a maximum depth of about 33 feet. Unfortunately, no speed/performance data is currently being advertised.

Frank Rinderknecht, the CEO of Rinspeed admits that some of the inspiration for the sQuaba came from the classic James Bond movie “The Spy who loved me” which featured an aquatic-adaptable Lotus. Unfortunately, currently there are no plans to mass produce the squab.

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Yesterday morning, Nissan and Chrysler concurrently announced that Chrysler will begin selling Nissan cars in South America.

This is not considered the first time that both companies have worked together. In early 2004, an auto part maker affiliated with Nissan began selling transmission parts to Chrysler. (Perhaps that is why I have been receiving so many calls from potential clients complaining about Chrysler transmission defects under the Texas Lemon Law at my Dallas based law office recently?…)

This partnership between Nissan and Chrysler is occuring after General Motors (GM) rejected an alliance offerd by Nissan 15 months ago and after 80% of Chrysler’s share was bought by a private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management LP.

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Almost less than four weeks before Thanksgiving, the Department of Defense (DOD) sponsored a robot car race. The winning robot car was an overly-accessorized Chevrolet Tahoe sports utility vehicle (SUV) with a brain of its own and the ability to drive itself on various roads and terrains.

Suffice to say, this robot SUV, unlike most of the other SUV cases I have handled, is clearly not a lemon. …At least not yet.

The vehicle was able to drive on its own without human intervention for approximately six hours for sixty miles. I must say, I am thoroughly impressed, because my recent road trip from Dallas to Houston, Texas was only 4 hours and it was quite a long and stressful drive. Having an affordable consumer friendly robot car that takes you to your desired destinations might be such a far-fetched notion any longer.

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After over a decade (since 1992) of Congress’ passage of a nationwide database that tracks lemon and stolen cars, the tracking system still remains to be completely implemented.

The Justice Department, the governmental body responsible for overseeing the program, cites that the primary reason for non-implementation is money. The Justice Department further states that it may cost about $11 million dollars to create and manage such a robust interstate database.

The database is part of the Anti Car Theft Act and is intended to track cars and trucks based on its’ vehicle identification number (VIN). The database will include comprehensive information about a vehicle’s lemon status, whether it is a stolen vehicle or not, and etc. The goal of having such a database is to control lemon-car laundering and to provide businesses and consumers with accurate information about a vehicle’s history.

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Although not directly related to Texas Lemon Law, it indirectly will affect the way that GM negotiates future lemon law claims for settlement. This morning, GM posted its largest quarterly net loss primarily due to a $39 billion charge related to unclaimed tax credits.

In a nutshell, General Motors reported a net loss of $1.6 billion ($2.80 per share). Other reasons that attributed to the loss includes losses in GM’s other financially related companies such as GMAC and ResCap.

GM is currently considered the largest automaker in the United States. In this quarter, GM’s auto revenue reached $43.1 billion and it sold $2.39 million dollars worth of cars and trucks. For more information, go here.

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