On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, I will be meeting with Pennsylvania and West Virginia U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives and their staff for Consumer Justice Lobby Day 2017. The event is hosted by the National Consumer Law Center and National Association of Consumer Advocates. For Consumer Justice Lobby Day, we will be speaking with Members of Congress and their staff to advocate for the rights of consumers. The National Association of Consumer Advocates is a nationwide organization of more than 1,500 attorneys who represent and have represented hundreds of thousands of consumers victimized by fraudulent, abusive and predatory business practices. I am the West Virginia State Co-Chair for the National Association of Consumer Advocates and have been a presenter for several National Consumer Law Center conferences.
FCA has a severe problem with the 2015 and 2016 Ram EcoDiesel 1500 trucks, and it goes way beyond the current class action for emissions cheating. My clients have been into dealerships with their Ram EcoDiesel 1500 trucks in limp mode or severe loss of power, check engine light on and the service electronic throttle control error message. This would be bad enough as a one-time issue, but these trucks have been in the shop in 3, 4 or more times for the exact same problem.
The devastating floods from Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida are expected to result in approximately 500,000 cars declared a total loss due to flood damage. A vehicle declared a total loss by insurance should be disclosed to any potential buyer as a salvage title due to flood damage. The problem is that many cars with a salvage title will be taken to other states and, through creative paperwork or contacts in the DMV, the salvage brand won't appear on the title after the car is transferred out of state. Another way that a flood vehicle can end up for sale without a salvage title is if the insurance company sells the vehicle directly without taking title, or if a car dealership sells a flooded car directly because it didn't have insurance for flooded cars.
What you can do
A Court in Summit County, Ohio recently ordered an Ohio car dealership to refund the entire purchase price for a car sold with frame damage to my client from West Virginia. The dealership sold a 2009 Nissan Murano for over $15,000. When my client tried to trade the car to another dealership months later, he was given a car history report that listed frame damage.
Many Ford owners recently received notices for class action settlement for 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta and 2012-2016 Ford Focus vehicles with a dual clutch automatic transmission. The clutches in these vehicles have been known to be faulty for years. Ford previously extended the warranty coverage on certain transmission parts but still does not have a permanent or effective repair.
The Consumer Protection Financial Bureau just adopted a new rule affecting class action clauses and mandatory arbitration. The new rule prohibits class action bans in arbitration clauses by financial service firms in consumer contracts and requires reporting of results of individual arbitrations. Arbitration and class action bans appear in most consumer contracts for services such as credit cards, banking, car loans, internet providers and cell phones but most consumers do not realize the impact or even the existence of these clauses in contracts.
You've heard of lemon cars. But what about lemon motorcycles? Traditionally, only cars and trucks have been covered under Pennsylvania Lemon Law. But that may be changing, if Pennsylvania House Bill 74 continues to gain support. The Pennsylvania House Consumer Affairs Committee approved the bill on June 12. The bill will now go for consideration in front of the full House.
About the bill
For a vehicle repurchase under the West Virginia Lemon Law, you should get back everything you are entitled to under the law. The problem is that it is not easy to tell what you should get back without an attorney, and manufacturers take advantage of that. While the Lemon Law says generally what is to be refunded, it does not provide an exact calculation.
The ignition on a number of 2017 Ford Focus vehicles are not starting. This is an intermittent problem that seems to begin around 4000 or 5000 miles on the odometer. These vehicles have failed to start even with all lights and electronic components shut off, while stored in a garage and when not in subjected to extremely cold temperatures. No fix for this issue has been found by Ford yet.
When a car becomes damaged to a point that the repair costs exceed a certain portion of the car's value, the car is considered a "total loss." The exact ratio of repair cost to vehicle value that is considered to be a total loss varies from state to state, but is generally at least 70%. When a vehicle is a total loss, the insurance company normally takes title to the vehicle and can sell it with a salvage title for a licensed body shop to rebuild.