Category Archives: Resolving Disputes

Customer Experience Hypo: What should the rental-car company do for Stan?

carrental

At this very moment a good friend of mine is in a dust-up with a rental car company. After hearing (my friend’s version of) “the facts,” and harkening back fondly to my law school days, I thought his tale just might make an interesting hypothetical to launch a discussion on “customer experience,” and I’m hoping the reader(s) of this blog will chime in. Continue reading

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Consumer Reports to consumers: Choose risk or over peace of mind

boxing clip artIn a September 6 piece, Why you should avoid home warranties, Consumer Reports again takes a shot at service contracts. Noting a recent complaint filed by New Jersey regulators against Choice Home Warranty for allegedly making it difficult to obtain benefits, CR “recommend[s] avoiding service contracts” because those “that cover homes and cars, for example, can cost hundreds of dollars.” But what if the car or home costs many thousands of dollars? Isn’t spending a few hundred bucks on a service contract worth it to minimize risk and secure peace of mind? “No,” says CR, “it makes much more sense to buy reliable products and maintain them as the manufacturer recommends.” Now it’s clear, just buy things that won’t malfunction or fail. Continue reading

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Case Note: Court puts the brakes on implied warranty claims

brake rotor

“Merchantability” is one of those legal terms-of-art that defies precise definition. Courts ruling on implied warranty of merchantability claims generally frame the question as whether the product was “reasonably fit for its intended purpose.” But what any given jury will find to be “reasonable” is anyone’s guess. So better for the defendant that the case never get to the jury. I think Chrysler might agree. Continue reading

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A “high-five” for arbitration (sans the lawyers)

group discussion
Recently, we’ve been discussing the merits of binding arbitration as a means of resolving consumer disputes. (See here and here.) Lori Crandell, COO of New Home Warranty Program of Manitoba, Inc., finds that the process works well when properly tailored to the nature of the dispute.  Lori writes: Continue reading

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Plain and simple

easy maze
Want a better relationship with your customers? Want to spend less time and money dealing with frustrated or irate customers? Want more customers to walk out of the store with your extended warranty or service plan? There’s a sure fire way to make these things happen, plain and simple. Continue reading

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Debating Warranty Arbitration

debate

Robert J. Cloburn, CAIB, of Vancouver and Gregory Smith of Dark Room Perfection shared their views on a recent post, Arbitration wins another court battle. Here, I offer a few follow up thoughts. Continue reading

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Arbitration wins another court battle

court houseIt is quickly moving beyond dispute that federal consumer protection law favors binding arbitration over litigation. A North Carolina federal trial court recently joined two federal appellate courts in ruling that the federal warranty law, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, does not ban binding arbitration provisions in consumer product warranties. This is good news for consumer product manufacturers, and better news for consumers if more companies turn to binding arbitration.

But still, auto, boat and RV companies, primary targets under the MMWA, shy away from going the arbitration route. Let’s hope this changes. Continue reading

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Really dude, pennies?

pennies

A dealer screws up, and the service contract company pays … at least on the PR front. A manager of a car dealership who “forgot” to write in that the service contract sold to a foreign student did not cover labor charges was ordered to pay a refund … he gave it to the customer in pennies.  Continue reading

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Reptile Theory: Lipstick on a lizard

Lipstick
Is the “Reptile Theory” now slithering through civil trial courts across the U.S. truly a product of science or something else? Its critics view it as lipstick on a lizard. Its creators promote it as a can’t miss scientifically based trial strategy for obtaining huge jury awards and settlements in civil litigation. Think of it what you will, but if you are likely to ever be a defendant in a civil trial, don’t ignore it. Continue reading

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“The Reptile” – Revolutionary breakthrough or good old-fashioned clever lawyering?

feeding-time-at-the-reptile
Proponents of the “Reptile Theory” claim it has produced $6 billion in jury verdicts and settlements for plaintiff’s in personal injury litigation since 2009. They say it derives from research by neuroscientists into brain organization and function, taps into jurors’ basic survival instinct, and “is revolutionizing the way the trial attorneys approach and win their cases.” While many doubt its scientific basis (here) (here) (here), defendants who have encountered the theory in litigation do not dispute its effectiveness.
So how to combat the Reptile? Continue reading

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