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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Former Car Dealer Pleads Guilty to 5 Fraud Charges, Agrees to Pay $142,626

A former Waynesboro car dealer facing a slew of charges alleging fraudulent business practices pleaded guilty Monday to five misdemeanor counts and agreed to pay $142,626 in restitution to past customers in a deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time.

Rodney Price, 42, owner of RSD Motors – located on Apple Tree Lane until it was shut down in March – was originally charged with 33 misdemeanor counts of selling a vehicle without a title, two misdemeanor counts of improper registration material, four felony charges of disposing of mortgaged property, three felony counts of obtaining money under false pretenses and one felony count of embezzlement, according to court documents.

Prosecutors later streamlined the case to focus on five RSD customers who never received titles to vehicles they purchased – the same complaint voiced by dozens of the dealership’s other customers, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Camblos said. In most of those cases, Price neglected to pay off old loans on used vehicles before selling them to new owners – this meant the previous owners still had the outstanding loan under their names, and the new owners were unable to obtain car insurance or legal titles.

In some cases, Price also neglected to pay state taxes, Camblos said.
“He wasn’t minding the store ... ,” Camblos said. “He wasn’t taking care of business with Richmond, he was not paying off loans and he was causing a lot of havoc for a lot of customers.”
Under the terms of the deal with prosecutors, Price pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of fraudulently selling a motor vehicle, with six-month jail sentences for each charge suspended on the condition that he pay the $142,626 in restitution within a two-year period.

Several former customers were on hand Monday to witness Price’s day in court. While most felt the agreement was in their best interest and would expedite financial compensation, some said it was also difficult to accept.

“I felt sorry for him until he got to walk through that door,” said Waynesboro resident Pat Templeton as she gestured toward the courthouse parking lot. Templeton said she payed Price cash several months ago for a 1996 Jeep, but still lacks the vehicle’s title.

Sonya Mays, of Waynesboro, said she had to let the 2001 Ford Windstar she purchased at RSD Motors sit unused for months because she didn’t have its title. “We’ve been making payments for five months on a vehicle we just started driving 30 days ago,” Mays said.

Camblos said the plea deal was reached in part because Price had no prior criminal record.

Story by Cleve Wiese,

Victim of Auto Fraud? Find a consumer lawyer to help you!

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Chrsyler Suing Magna Over Seats

Chrysler is suing Magna International for allegedly supplying the automaker with seat warmers that overheated and could cause serious burns.

Chrysler filed a claim in Michigan earlier this year that charged Magna is responsible for a technical flaw in some minivan seats that can result in burns to riders, especially paraplegics who cannot feel their seats overheating, industry journal Automotive News reported yesterday.

The seat warmers were the subject of two recalls in 2005 involving 1999 and 2000 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans.

According to the lawsuit, Aurora-based Magna has denied responsibility for the recalls and objected to reimbursing Chrysler for the cost of the recall, which involved replacing defective heated seat assemblies.

Chrysler told the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2004 that it had received 221 customer complaints about hot seats. Twenty-six complaints involved minor injuries and 33 alleged fires, the company said.

The automaker noted that the majority of injury reports referred to "only a burning feeling or sensation."

Norwegian-based Kongsberg Automotive supplied the heated seat assemblies to Magna.

Magna would not comment on the claim.

Tony Van Alphen,

Chrysler Recalls, Is Your Car a Lemon?

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Monday, June 16, 2008

GM's Next Battle: Win Customers Back

General Motors resembles an aging starlet fighting the ravages of time: Despite a crash diet and costly makeover, her pool of loyal admirers keeps shrinking.

At GM's annual meeting Tuesday morning, CEO Rick Wagoner will outline new revamp plans, likely including cost cutting and an effort to ramp up output of more fuel-efficient cars.

But a dramatic turnaround won't happen unless GM can persuade owners of import vehicles to buy its cars again. Drivers these days don't show much allegiance to Detroit. Even with dealers doling out cash rebates, warranties and other incentives, some 54% of car buyers won't even consider driving a domestic marque, according to J.D. Power & Associates.

GM has made headway in winning back car drivers. Sales of the Chevy Cobalt and Malibu have jumped this year. But it seems to be playing catch-up to Honda and Toyota in the loyalty race. Only 3% of GM vehicles sold through its dealerships go to customers trading in a Honda or Toyota, according to J.D. Power.

GM's sales data for May, also due Tuesday, are expected to show another decline that could push its domestic market share to less than 20%. The skid, in short, might not be over yet.

Article by Mark Gongloff and Karen Richardson (Wall Street Journal News)

GM Warranty Information

Texas Lemon Law Information

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Volkswagen Recalls 2009 Tiguan and 2008 Passat for "Engine Surge"

WASHINGTON — Volkswagen is recalling approximately 4,000 of its 2008 passats and 2009 Tiguans.

The automaker will fix engine control module software that can trigger an unexpected increase in engine rpm, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The recall has started, and dealers are being told by the federal government not to sell or lease affected vehicles until the safety recall has been completed, according to recall documents posted on the NHTSA Web site.

"These vehicles have an engine control module containing software that may not properly control engine idle with the air-conditioning turned on," NHTSA said in its summary of the problem. "In rare cases, the ECM may unexpectedly increase engine rpm. An engine surge caused by an unexpected increase in engine rpm may surprise the vehicle operator and can result in a crash without warning."

NHTSA says that owners of the aforementioned vehicles can drive their vehicles. "However, to minimize the possibility of an engine surge, do not operate the air-conditioning in your vehicle until the recall work has been performed," it said.

Volkswagen dealers will inspect and update the software for free. Owners may contact Volkswagen at (800) 893-5298 or the NHTSA vehicle safety hotline at (888) 327-4236.

What this means to you: If you own any of the aforementioned Volkswagens, get the vehicle into your dealer ASAP. NHTSA says the fix should only take an hour.

—Article by Anita Lienert, Correspondent,

Volkswagen Recalls
Volkwagen TSB's

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Your Bentley and Ferrari Have Been Recalled

From US News & World Reports
We do our best to report on automotive recalls that affect average Americans as soon as they are announced. But frankly, we're not quite sure what to do with today's batch of defect notices. Cars that cost six figures just don't get recalled often, and we're not quite sure our readers are impacted when they do. But just in case you're driving around in $200,000 or more worth of steel and leather, pay attention…

Autoblog reports, "Owners of 2004-2008 Continental GT, GT Speed, Flying Spur, and GTCs should pay the dealer a visit for a recall campaign. Road salt can potentially eat through the fuel filter housing, allowing fuel spray, and potentially leading to fire." Bentley says 13,000 cars are affected. We're not sure which is more surprising -- that Bentley has issued a recall, or that there are 13,000 Bentley Continentals on the road.

USRecallNews says "dealers will replace the fuel filter and reposition the retaining clip on all affected vehicles. The recall is expected to begin on or about May 30, 2008. Owners may contact Bentley at 1-800-777-6923."

The day's other unusual recall comes from Ferrari. Autoblog reports, that Ferrari has recalled all 612 Scaglettis that feature an automated manual F1 gearbox. The owner notification letter Ferrari has filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains, "The defect involves the presence of a non-conforming clutch sensor in the F1 transmission," which "may malfunction under normal operating conditions due to the heat produced by the vehicle. Such sensor malfunction, in turn, may inhibit the proper function of the clutch assembly making the shifting of the gears very difficult," which" may render the vehicle inoperable."

Approximately 366 vehicles are affected, meaning that owning a malfunctioning Ferrari is much more exclusive than owning a defective Bentley, if you're the sort of sucker that buys one of these poorly made cars.
From US News & World Reports Website

All recalls for Bentleys

All Ferrari Recalls

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