Tag Archives: Service Contract Statutes

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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Are warranties withering? Will service contracts surge?

withered rose

Warranties are withering, claims an Arizona State marketing professor.  This, he says, bodes well for service contract industry profits, but not for consumers.

But in many product sectors warranty is expanding and recent studies show that consumers believe that service contracts deliver value. 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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Filed under Best Practices, Court Decisions, Customer Experience, Service Contract, Statutes & Regulations, Warranty

An Orwellian approach to legal writing

Orwell tips for writing

Responding to an earlier post, Plain and simple, Nick Fielden, a freelance copywriter from Perth, Australia, observes: “Perhaps when it comes to comprehension, we should be thinking less of simple versus complex, and more about clear versus obscure.” I don’t know that I’d put it in quite those terms, but before I reply further, let’s take a look at all Nick has to say: 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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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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Home Warranties in the News … and it’s Not Good

Yesterday, NBC 5 in Chicago aired a report critical of the home warranty business. How will the industry respond? Continue reading

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Illinois Proposes Expansion of “Service Contract” Definition

Illinois legislators have proposed an amendment to the Illinois Service Contract Act which would expand the definition of “service contract” to include contracts for a wide array of motor vehicle maintenance-related service.  Illinois House Bill 1460, formally titled the Motor Vehicle Ancillary Products Act, signals the continued evolution the Illinois Service Contract Act, Continue reading

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16 States Now Levy Significant Civil Penalties For Non-Compliance with Service Contract Acts

Thirty-three states have now enacted statutes regulating service contract providers (i.e., those persons or entities obligated pay claims under a service contracts or extended warranties). Sixteen of these 33 states have specifically provided civil penalties for a failure to comply with their respective service contract acts. A service contract provider can be fined even if the violation of the service contract act is not willful; a violation can be as innocent as failing to include proper disclosures and notices in the service contract or extended warranty. Continue reading

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Service Contract Legislation – New Jersey Assembly Bill 1740

The regulation of service contracts in New Jersey has been confusing and ambiguous for many years. Assembly Bill 1740, the state’s latest proposal for service contract regulation, is currently pending in the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.

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