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CT Lawyer Ryan McKeen Entertains and Informs

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on July 21st, 2008

I live in and practice Lemon Law in Connecticut, so I’m always interested in hearing the musings of other attorneys in Connecticut. Attorney Ryan McKeen, who is at the firm Leone, Throwe, Teller & Nagle in East Hartford, has a great blog, “A Connecticut Law Blog,” that he describes as, “Thoughts on Connecticut Law with a Side of Baseball.”

Ryan discusses his thoughts and reactions to news about virtually every type of Connecticut civil law – from family law and child support to evictions and small business. His recent posts cover topics ranging from the inclusion of pets in your will to Connecticut’s foreclosure mediation program.

The best thing about Ryan’s blog is that it provides truly useful and accessible information to Connecticut consumers. It’s kind of a one-stop shop for people who want to keep tabs on the ways laws impact our lives. Plus, his humor and his love of the Red Sox add an entertaining dimension to the topics he covers.

Keep up the great work, Ryan!

The Tale of Three Chevys, Three States, and Three Success Stories

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on July 20th, 2008

Once upon a time, there were three Chevrolets – a 2006 Chevy HHR, a 2006 Chevy Cobalt, and a 2007 Chevy Aveo. The HHR was besieged with problems, including a water leak, a check engine light, and other electrical problems. The Cobalt had a leaky sunroof, a check engine light, a noisy supercharger, and an unsettling, constant vibration. The Aveo had a variety of electrical issues, each one more annoying than the last.

Each Chevy had a family at its wit’s end, tired of the hassles of taking its vehicle in for repair. One family lived in New York, another in Pennsylvania, and the third in Connecticut. Nevertheless, each family found its way to Lemberg & Associates in the hope that the firm would use NY Lemon Law, PA Lemon Law, and CT Lemon Law to help them get relief from Chevrolet.

Like knights in shining armor, the staff at the Lemon Law firm came to the rescue. GM offered to resolve the claim for the Chevy HHR for $1,900, but that simply wasn’t enough, and Lemberg & Associates ultimately convinced GM to pay a $4,000 settlement.

Even though the Chevy Cobalt didn’t have any problems until it had already been driven almost 17,000 miles, the legal staff charged ahead. It was a protracted battle, but a year and a half and 17,000 miles later, Chevrolet agreed to settle the family’s claim for $4,000.

In all honesty, the Chevy Aveo wasn’t really a lemon; most of this family’s problems were resolved after one repair attempt. Still, they had to take the Aveo in seven times during the first eight months after they bought it, and Lemberg & Associates felt that the family should receive some compensation. Ultimately, Chevrolet provided the family with an extended service contract and $1,500.

In the end, the three families lived happily ever after, and the Lemon Law attorneys polished their armor in preparation for the next battle.

The moral of the story? No matter what state you live in, having a Lemon Law attorney at your side will give your family a fighting chance in getting the compensation it deserves.

Lifehacker Highlights Oil Change Myth

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on July 18th, 2008

Lifehacker’s tagline is “Tech Tricks, Tips and Downloads for Getting Things Done,” but the Lifehacker team picks up and shares useful tips for all aspects of life. They recently highlighted the issue of oil changes. Common wisdom dictates that you should change the oil in your car every 3,000 miles, but Lifehacker’s post, “The 3,000 Mile Oil Change Myth Debunked,” pointed out that Yahoo! Autos says that today’s vehicles can get by on less frequent oil changes – saving both money and the environment.

They make a great point, and you should check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your vehicle. The bottom line? You need to conform to the manufacturer’s guidelines in order to maintain your warranty and to fend off accusations in a Lemon Law claim that you didn’t properly maintain your vehicle. Still, you might be surprised to learn that your manufacturer requires oil changes every 5,000 – or even 10,000 miles.

Don’t Be Taken For A Ride By A Lemon Dealer

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on July 16th, 2008

Car salesmen are sleasy, we all know that. They are paid to sell you what his dealership has at as large a profit as possible. You, on the other hand, want to pay as little as you can. So, according to CNN, this is what you don’t tell him:

1. I love, love, love this car. Even if a car has your heartstrings in a white-knuckled stranglehold, never let on. Stay calm and pretend you’re looking over a microwave oven.

2. I need to get a car by tomorrow. If there’s anything worse than being in love, it’s being in desperate need.
Even if you really do need a car quickly, act like you have a month to decide. But you would consider buying today if you found a car that really pleases you at a price you like.

3. I need a monthly payment of…It’s understandable that many car shoppers are “payment shoppers.” But saying “I want a payment of less than $350 a month” is like going into a box store and asking for a two-inch box. You’ll notice that some dimensions are missing. You could end up with a box that’s 12 feet long.

4. My trade-in’s outside
A salesperson will usually want to know, early on, if you have a vehicle to trade in. If you tell him that you do and that it’s parked, conveniently, right outside, he’ll ask you for the keys. That way the used car manager can assess its value while you’re negotiating. It’ll save time. Well, he has a point there. But consider the downsides. You’ve just handed the salesperson your car keys and he’s given them off to someone else.

5. I don’t know anything about leasing. Even if you’re never going to lease a car, you need to know about leasing, if only to know exactly why you’re never going to lease a car.
6. My credit’s a little spotty. Many people underestimate their own credit rating – and they’re the people who are big moneymakers for car dealers. Part of the interest you pay is shared with the dealership, so they might be pleased to confirm your belief that you don’t qualify for a low interest rate.

And always remember: there are NO return policies for cars. None. So be careful.

Jeep Wrangler & Mitsubishi Outlander – Top Lemons

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on July 14th, 2008

In a previous post, we discussed the Center for Auto Safety’s Car Complaint Index. Anytime you’re in the market for a new car, it pays to check out the complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While the number of complaints doesn’t necessarily mean that the vehicle’s a lemon, it can be helpful to understand the types of problems that are cropping up with the model you’re considering.

But, back to the Complaint Index. As we discussed in an earlier post, numbers 10 and 9 on the list were the Volkswagen Passat and the Volkswagen Rabbit, respectively. Today we’ll talk about number eight, the Jeep Wrangler, and number seven, the Mitsubishi Outlander. 

Looking at the NHTSA complaints for the Wrangler, it’s easy to see why it made the list. There are several electrical system complaints and leaky roof complaints, and one where the owner described a “death wobble.” Most disturbingly, though, one owner wrote, “I was driving to a local state park when my vehicle burst into flames in the engine compartment area…. There was a pop and the vehicle lost drive power at the same time the flames shot out from under the drivers’ side engine compartment.” Sounds terrifying….Then there are dozens and dozens leaky Wrangler cases as well.

To date, the 2008 Mitsubishi Outlander has three Technical Service Bulletins, two of which involve the electrical system software and engine control module software. It’s even chalked up a recall for vehicles that don’t have an electric power seat. According to the recall, the floor harness connector for the power seat is placed directly on the floorboard, so that snow and road salt could come into contact with the connector, corroding it and allowing current to flow. The result? A fire.

We’ll post the next two vehicles on the list in a few days.

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