Philadelphia Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Blog

FTC's lemon law gets an update

The Federal Trade Commission established its Used Car Rule in 1985. It places certain requirements on used car dealers operating in Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S. Dealers are required to put a Buyers Guide on all of the vehicles they offer for sale. The Buyers Guide includes warranty information and other details that customers can use to make buying decisions. Following a solicitation of public comments, the FTC has amended the Used Car Rule to include new required disclosures.

The Buyers Guide now must include a statement telling customers where they can check for open recalls and where they can get a vehicle history report. Catalytic converters and airbags have been included to the list of possible major vehicle defects that must be included in the Buyers Guide.

Takata air bag cases added to multidistrict suit

People in Pennsylvania may be aware of lawsuits, injuries and deaths involving defective Takata air bags. There are a number of product liability lawsuits involving the bags pending in the Southern District of Florida.

There were also four cases in the Central District of California. The four people who brought the cases had hoped they would be tried individually, but a panel found that they were similar enough to be transferred to Florida. The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has a rule that allows cases to be transferred if they are similar to other nationwide cases. It is usually an effort to move these cases more quickly through the court system and is often used in cases of air disaster or product liability. The cases were filed against Toyota, but the transfer essentially removes Toyota from the settlement and places the focus on Takata.

CarFax reports may not have correct information

Car buyers in Pennsylvania and throughout the country may rely on CarFax vehicle history reports when purchasing a used car. However, the information on a given report may not always be accurate. In some cases, the reports may neglect to make note of serious accidents or significant repairs made to a vehicle. In others, a report overstates the damage caused in an accident, which can reduce a car's value.

One man was offered $14,000 to trade in his Audi by a dealership after a CarFax report determined that the vehicle had been in an accident. However, the vehicle had only a small ding on the bumper, and the man had hoped that he would receive $17,000 for his trade. In another incident, a man sued CarFax after buying a 2000 Ford Mustang that had a clean history report. In reality, the car had been in a major accident resulting in structural damage.

Suing used vehicle dealers

Pennsylvania residents may have legal recourse if they have purchased a used vehicle with defects that were not previously disclosed. What steps they should take, whom they should pursue for compensation and whether to seek legal action will depend on certain factors.

The state in which the defective vehicle is purchased is important as the laws regarding dealer obligations and warranties tend to differ from state to state. Whether the purchase is being made from an individual or from a dealership is also an important element to consider. As with all legal matters, the specifics of a case are very important, and no claim can be properly evaluated without having all of the details available.

Car sales: What is puppy-dogging?

Walking into a car dealership, thinking about buying a car can be intimidating. Car salespeople have many different techniques for selling and you might feel as though you are being used when talking with a salesperson. Being aware of these techniques can help you from feeling scammed by a car salesperson.

One of these techniques is known as “puppy-dogging.” This may conjure up images of soft animals with big, sad eyes. But how does this apply to car sales?

Debt Collection/Bank Fraud and Abuse: Wells Fargo Not Alone Opening Fake Accounts

As predicted right here, it has been reported that Wells Fargo was not alone in creating fake accounts. USA Today reported on June 14, 2018 that other banks were found to have created fake accounts as well. This can be a source of unlawful debt collection, bank fraud and abuse and fair (unfair) credit reporting.

Mercedes must pay over $400,000 in Lemon Law case

When people in Pennsylvania and around the country buy new cars, they have legal protections if the vehicle is defective. The federal government and the states have lemon laws, which provide protection for customers who have purchased defective vehicles that continue to fail despite multiple repairs within the warranty period. In one recent Wisconsin case, auto manufacturer Mercedes-Benz was ordered to pay over $400,000 to a woman after it refused to refund her when she made a claim under the Lemon Law.

In 2013, the woman leased a new Mercedes C300 sedan and experienced ongoing transmission problems that were never fixed despite multiple repairs. After the car's transmission continued to fail, the woman sought a refund under Wisconsin's lemon law, which requires a manufacturer's refund within 30 days. The woman had paid $7,058 and sought a full refund, but Mercedes offered only $572, and no deal was reached. Instead, Mercedes deposited the $572 with the court and filed suit to make the woman accept only this minimum payment.

Know your rights in case of auto repossession

People in Philadelphia may see auto repossession as one of their worst nightmares, leaving them without the car that is so critical to work, education or family life. Some people dealing with the threat of repossession may feel as if they have no rights at all to hold on to their vehicles. However, you do have rights, and legal support can help you to protect your rights in these cases, before your car is taken away.

If a repossessor comes to take your car away, you can tell him or her to leave. When the repossessor refuses to leave, he or she is violating the law. In addition, auto repossessors are prohibited by consumer protection laws from entering enclosed buildings or properties without consent, damaging your property or vehicle, using force or threats to obtain the car, refusing to leave when requested, physically touching you, talking with neighbors about the repossession or lying about having a court order. They are also barred from calling the police or threatening to call about a repossession issue.

How reliable are car history reports?

Buying a car is a big commitment. Even a used car can be a large investment so you want to make sure the car is in good condition. Used car reports like Carfax and AutoCheck are handy in determining previous accidents and the condition of used cars.

But how reliable are these reports? Are they completely accurate?

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