Tag Archives: consumer protection

Even a critic sees value in vehicle service contracts

stranded motorists

A recent kiplinger.com post generally critical of vehicle service contracts (VSC) makes a pretty good case for buying one. Continue reading

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Whirlpool comes out smelling like a rose

whirlpool logo

Yesterday, a federal jury in Cleveland ruled for Whirlpool Corp. in a warranty-based class action involving allegedly defective front-loading washing machines. As discussed in an earlier post, the case had been up and down to the Supreme Court, and given the Court’s recent class action rulings, that was it was allowed to proceed to trial was rather unexpected. Continue reading

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Putting the customer first drives sales … at least KIA Australia thinks so

Kia AU 777

Competition benefits consumers far more than so-called consumer protection laws and the red-tape they’re wrapped in. The former delivers better quality and service and a lower price, while the latter needlessly drives up costs on both sides of the transaction and keeps seedy lawyers in business. Want proof? Look at what Kia is doing in Australia, and why. Continue reading

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Groundhog Day: Another piece questioning the value of extended warranties

Celtic-knot-basic-linear

The same article keeps popping up every other week or so in one publication or another. Its headline either asks if extended warranties are worth the cost or screams they are not. It gives the same advice – “buy smart” – and generally reaches the same conclusion on whether you should buy a service contract – “It depends”. See here, then here, here, herehere, and here.  Why is somebody always picking on extended warranties?

Here are 5 reasons why I think extended warranties make an easy target. 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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Tesla: Investing in warranty is “doing the right thing.”

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“Doing the right thing” might reduce electric car maker Tesla Motors’ earnings short-term, “but will work out well in the long term,” writes CEO Elon Musk on the company’s blog. In today’s marketplace, I think he’s on the money. What do you think? Continue reading

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Three cheers for plain language

fireworks

Commenting on An Orwellian approach to legal writing, 3 readers share insights and experiences recommending plain language. Here’s a sampling of what they have to say:

“My crime briefs ‘read like a thriller,’” says Bapoo M. Malcolm, Advocate, Bombay High Court, India.

“Practice has shown that people appreciate simplicity & clarity in comprehension compared to more technical writing (jargons & all),” observes Janice Isu, Acting Principal Legal Officer, Office of the State Solicitor, Dept. of Justice & Attorney General, Papua New Guinea.

“A company can’t hide behind fine print written in legalese. Judges rule for the average person,” declares Paul Eveleigh, a copywriter from Melbourne, Australia.

There’s more. 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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Public policy favors arbitration of consumer and other civil disputes

In a recent post, we commented on Hyundai’s decision to abandon the arbitration clause in its new vehicle limited warranty. A reader pointed out that, generally, in consumer-dispute arbitration only the warrantor is bound by the award. The reader is correct that where a consumer protection statute or lemon law includes a state-run mandatory arbitration procedure, it generally permits a consumer dissatisfied with an award to reject it and proceed to litigation.

Contractual arbitration clauses, however, are reviewed under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) and generally enforced by the courts. Continue reading

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