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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Some Auto Warranty Offers May Be Fraudulent

The bold text proclaims "final notice," "motor vehicle notification" or "priority level: high."

What's not explained is that those who respond to the extended auto warranty offers - either by mail or on the phone - may risk losing thousands of dollars.

Tennessee's Division of Consumer Affairs is warning that what seems like a legitimate pitch for a warranty from car dealers or automakers may in fact be an attempt to rip off the customer or obtain personal information such as credit card and bank account numbers.

The scam first gained publicity in Tennessee when several Nashville-area residents alerted the NewsChannel 5 television station.

In a segment that recently aired on the TV station, two people explained how they had lost money in the scam.

Mary Blackburn paid $2,000 for an extended warranty that was supposed to cover all repairs on her car. When her car broke down, the company didn't pay for anything.

"There's too many people like me without money who are putting money into this and getting nothing out of it," Blackburn said.

Tennessee's Division of Consumer affairs released its own warning within days of the broadcast.

"Some of our staff have gotten the mailings," said Shannon Ashford, a public information officer for the division.

According to Ashford, postcards seem to be the most common form the scam is taking in Tennessee. Many of these postcards feature a 1-800 number. When recipients call the number on the postcard, they are pressured to make a down payment for the warranty before they can find out more information.

In other areas of the country, consumers have reported getting repeated phone calls from auto warranty sales representatives who hang up if they are asked to put a supervisor on the phone. In the most extreme cases, consumers received calls several times a day, late at night or on their cell phones. Missouri's attorney general is reported to be suing more than half a dozen auto warranty companies, accusing them of deceiving customers.

For those who want to avoid the scam, Tennessee's Division of Consumer Affairs offers a few tips. Consumers should beware of any correspondence from out of state and check with their car dealers before purchasing an extended warranty. Senior citizens, who often are targeted for these scams, should be especially careful.

Article by Jessie Pounds, KnoxvilleBiz.com

Find out more about your vehicles warranty.


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Monday, May 19, 2008

Ford recalls 650,000 F-150s, Lincoln Mark LTs

The Lincoln Mark LT is being recalled for a brake hose issue. Ford Motor Co. is recalling more than 650,000 Ford F-150 and Lincoln Mark LT pickup trucks to fix a brake hose that could weaken brake power.

Ford is recalling the 2005-06 versions of the trucks with 5.4-liter three-valve V8s, according to a posting on Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The brake hose may swell over time and detach from the intake manifold, according to the posting. Although the brake function wouldn’t be completely lost, braking would require increased brake pedal effort, the posting said.

Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood said 11 minor accidents caused by the issue were reported, a sufficient number for the automaker to act. No injuries were reported, he said.

More than 600,000 of the trucks are in the United States and about 50,000 are in Canada, Sherwood said. Ford said its dealers will replace the hose at no charge to customers, who will receive a letter notifying them about the recall in June.

Ford, Lincoln and other Auto Recall Notices

Article by Craig Trudell, Autoweek.com

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Top Auto Recalls in 2007

Here are the 10 largest vehicle recalls of 2007 in the United States

1. Ford Motor Company, 3.6 million vehicles (recall 07V336).

MODELS: 1993 Ford Bronco; 1992-98 Ford Crown Victoria; 1997-2003 Ford E-150, E-250, E-350, Econoline; 2003 Ford E-450; 1992-93 E-150, E250, E350, E450, Econoline; 1999-2001 Ford Explorer; 2001-2 Ford Explorer Sport and Sport Trac; 2003-4 Ford F-150 Lightning; 1993 Ford F150, F250, F350, F450; 1995-2002 F53; 1998-2002 Ford Ranger; 1993-95 Ford Taurus SHO; 1993-98 Lincoln Mark VIII; 1992-98 Lincoln Town Car; 1994 Mercury Capri; 1992-98 Mercury Grand Marquis; 1999-2001 Mercury Mountaineer.

REASON: The speed control deactivation switch can develop a short circuit, possibly resulting in an engine compartment fire, even if the vehicle is parked and the ignition is off. Owner notification began August 13, 2007.

HISTORY: 1,472 complaints; 65 crashes/fires.

2. Ford, 1.2 million, vehicles (recall 07V553).

MODELS: 1997-2003 Ford F-series Super Duty, E-series and Excursion with 7.3-liter diesel engines.

REASON: The camshaft position sensor may function intermittently, possibly resulting in the engine stalling, which could lead to a crash. Owner notification began January 2008.

HISTORY: 1,595 complaints; 14 crashes/fires; 1 injury.

3. Volkswagen, 790,000 (recall 07V063).

MODELS: 2001-5 Volkswagen Jetta sedans and wagons; 2001-7 Volkswagen New Beetle sedans and convertibles; 1999-2006 Volkswagen Golf and GTI sedans; 2004 Volkswagen R32. REASON: If installed incorrectly, a brake light switch may malfunction, resulting in the bra

ke lights becoming inoperative or remaining on. Failure to provide the proper signal when braking could lead to a crash. Owner notification began in April of 2007.

HISTORY: Volkswagen said it does not quantify the number of complaints received and the company is not aware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities.

4. Nissan, 653,910 (recall 07V527).

MODELS: 2002 and 2005-6 Nissan Altima and Sentra vehicles equipped with 2.5-liter engines.

REASON: An issue with the program in the engine computer may cause the engine to stop running without warning while the vehicle is being driven at low speeds, increasing the risk of a crash. Owner notification began December 11, 2007.

HISTORY: Nissan said it is unaware of complaints, crashes/fires, injuries, deaths.

5. Chrysler Corporation, 576,418 (recall 07V555).

MODELS: 2001-2 Dodge Dakota, Durango, Ram van; 2002 Dodge Ram pickup trucks with automatic transmissions.

REASON: The ignition-park shift interlock system may become inoperative, letting the shifter move out of the park position or the key to be removed without the shifter being in park” which could allow the vehicle to roll away, possibly causing a crash. Owner notification began in December 2007.

HISTORY: Chrysler said no data is available to the public.

6. Toyota, 533,124 (recall 07V013).

MODELS: 2004-6 Toyota Tundra; 2004-7 Toyota Sequoia.

REASON: The front suspension lower ball joints may experience excessive wear and loosen prematurely, which could, in the worst case, cause a loss of steering control. Owner notification began February 2, 200

HISTORY: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reports of 120 complaints; 10 crashes/fires; 3 injuries. Toyota said there have been 14 confirmed cases of failure of the ball joint, 11 crashes reported and 6 injuries.

7. Ford, 446,460 (recall 07V156).

MODELS: 2001-4 Ford Escape sport utility vehicles equipped with antilock brakes.

REASON: The antilock braking module connector may develop an electrical short that could cause the warning light to illuminate, and in some cases, the module may overheat resulting in a burning odor, smoke, and/or fire. Owner notification began April 23, 2007.

HISTORY: 120 complaints; 120 crashes/fires.

8. Nissan North America, 372,250 (recall 07V435).

MODELS: 1997-2001 Nissan Pathfinder; 1997-2001 Infiniti QX4 vehicles

REASON: In 22 states and the District of Columbia where road salt is heavily used, the fuel filler tube assembly may rust in a certain spot and a hole may develop, causing fuel to leak during refueling and possibly resulting in a fire. Owner notification began on November 26, 2007.

HISTORY: Nissan said there were no complaints of crashes/fires, injuries or deaths.

9. Volkswagen, 340,000 (recall 07V442).

MODELS: 2005-8 Volkswagen Jetta; 2006-8 Volkswagen Rabbit, GTI, and R32

REASON: Noncompliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment, can inhibit proper headlamp aim adjustment, reducing road visibility and increasing the risk of a crash. Owner notification began September 2007.

HISTORY: Volkswagen said there were no complaints, crashes, fires, injuries or deaths.

10. Chrysler Corporation, 328,424 (recall 07V092).

MODELS: 2004-6 Dodge Durango.

REASON: An integrated circuit in the instrument cluster that controls the interior lighting may overheat and result in an instrument panel fire. Owner notification began in April 2007.

HISTORY: 213 complaints; 78 crashes/fires.

Article by Cheryl Jensen - NewYorkTimes.com

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