Articles Posted in Lemon Law

GMC Acadia and Lemon Law

Edmunds.com has provided a list of GMC Acadia customers that have been complaining about water leaks in their GMC Acadia, among other issues.

If you have this car and you are having problems with the vehicle, including water leaks, please contact The Law Office of Jonathan Rudnick, LLC.

THE DEFENDANT SHOULD BE ESTOPPED FORM ASSERTING THE ARBITRATION CLAUSE THIS LATE IN THE LITIGATION, ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY 1) FILED A COUNTERCLAIM IN BREACH OF THEIR OWN AGREEMENT; 2) MOVED TO HAVE JUDGMENT ENTERED ON THAT COUNTERCLAIM AGAIN BREACHING THEIR OWN AGREEMENT TO HAVE ALL DISPUTES BETWEEN THE PARTIES

The defendant should be prohibited for enforcing the arbitration agreement because of (1) the extent of the time which they took to enforce the arbitration agreement, and (2) the making of a counterclaim clearly breached the agreement between the parties. The defendants breached the agreement by making a counterclaim rather than demanding arbitration and as such cannot enforce the agreement. Not only have they made a counterclaim but they have moved to enter a judgment on those pleadings.

It is black letter contract law that a material breach by either party to a bilateral contract excuses the other party from rendering any further contractual performance. Magnet Res., Inc. v. Summit MRI, Inc., 318 N.J. Super. 275, 285, 723 A.2d 976, 981 (App.Div. 1998). The court should hold that the defendants have waived their right to assert the matter should be arbitrated. The Supreme Court addressed the issue of waiver in Wein v. Morris, 194 N.J. 364, 376 (2008) and held the following:

Usually the agreement will permit the finance company or bank to take the vehicle by self-help repossession without any further definition. The Uniform Commercial Code also permits a secured party to take a piece of collateral or the vehicle by self-help repossession. Again, self-help repossession is not specifically defined; however, it must be deemed obvious in light of the relationship between the parties.

Self-help repossession is where the finance company ‘helps themselves’ to take the vehicle back. One common question is whether or not there needs to be a notice to the owner of the vehicle prior to the ‘self-help repossession.’ There is no requirement under the Uniform Commercial Code, and there is usually no requirement under the written agreement between the parties. However, if the written agreement between the parties indicates there must be a type of pre-repossession notice, they must conduct same. If there are various calls between the parties with regard to late payments, this is not deemed and cannot be deemed a requirement, but rather an attempt by the finance company to have the lessee or driver of the vehicle make payments.

The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is to be Watered Down, significantly.

New Jersey has one of the strongest Consumer Fraud Acts in the United States.

There is pending legislation to change the Consumer Fraud Act and make it easier to avoid civil penalties for fraud.

Amy Handlin and John McKeon are sponsoring an anti-consumer bill that would change the business landscape in New Jersey.

A key provision of the new New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act would exempt out of state transactions. This means the following: if someone in New Jersey commits consumer fraud upon a non-resident (living in NY, PA or CT) there are no consequences.

“a. apply only to transactions that take place in the State”

Car Salesmen and Dealerships to be Protected with Proposed Changes in Consumer Fraud Act.

Amy Handlin and Jack McKeon have sponsored and introduced ANTI-CONSUMER legislation to reduce consumer rights and protect car dealerships.

The changes in the Consumer Fraud Act would exempt or limit liability against businesses that are already regulated, such as car dealerships. It would also limit liability for consumers who consummate out-of-state transactions. This arguably contradicts other legislation that has been introduced to increase liability for those committing consumer fraud.

CHANGES IN THE NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD ACT TO PROTECT CAR SALESMAN

Amy Handlin is the co-sponsor on this bill to protect car salesman

John McKeon is the primary Sponsor on this bill to protect car salesmen.

As previously stated in many of these posts, the dealers frequently use arbitration agreements as a method by which they bypass the court system. There are numerous organizations, including JAMS, NAF and American Arbitration Association. All of these organizations ordinarily have consumer due process protocols for these arbitrations. The question is what happens when you win an arbitration and the dealership refuses to pay the arbitration award? Unfortunately, this is not an easy process, but there is a provision in the Uniform Arbitration Act for the Superior Court to confirm an arbitration award entered by an arbitrator. Basically, the petitioner must file an order to show cause (fancy words for a court action) to confirm the arbitration award so as it can be entered into the docket system and be docketed against the dealer’s property. There is an entire provision under the court rules for a filing of an order to show cause and it is relatively complicated. Nonetheless, the Court is permitted to confirm this arbitration award so long as there is not a basis to vacate the arbitration award filed by the loser of the arbitration. Once the arbitration award is confirmed by the Superior Court, it becomes a judgment docketed and the petitioner or plaintiff may use this docketed judgment or award as any other docketed judgment or award. Moreover, the Uniform Arbitration Act provides for the payment of counsel fees and costs associated with domesticating or confirming an arbitration award. The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act also provides for the payment of counsel fees with the collection of a consumer fraud judgment. This was decided in the case of Tankersley, wherein the Appellate Division held that an attorney who was attempting to collect judgment on a consumer fraud award would be entitled to counsel fees and costs. The Tankersley case involved the collection of a judgment against a car dealership.

Car Dealer Tricks – Etch Products
It is a common practice for car dealerships in the State of New Jersey to sell a product known as “etch.” Frequently, this product is preprinted on a buyer’s order or a standard form used by the dealership as part of selling a new or used vehicle. Although the dealership might frequently claim that the purchase of this item is optional, it appears as though it is not optional because it is preprinted on a buyer’s order and it is applied to all the vehicles prior to the time of sale. As a practical matter, I have litigated numerous cases where the allegation was that a representative of the dealership explained to the customer that the purchase of this product was mandatory or part of the transaction. Frequently, this is contradicted by written statements contained in the various documentation prepared by the dealership and signed by the consumer, so they feel they are “protected”.
Quite simply, the purchase of etch is neither required nor usually a good idea. The basic concept behind this etch product is that it somehow deters thieves from stealing a car once this particular identification is etched on the windshield. I have yet to see some type of study that etchings on the vehicle reduce the theft rate on the vehicle. Nonetheless, the benefit paid by the etch is not sufficient to support the amount of money or the price of the product. Usually, this product costs consumers from $200 to $500 and must be compared against the deductible of auto insurance. As an example, if you have a deductible with $500 on an auto and the vehicle is stolen or totaled, it is likely that this could be the maximum amount which would be received by the consumer. So, in essence, the consumer is paying $200 to $500 for a $500 benefit. The risk does not justify the price paid for the product. It is not uncommon that the etch product is sold in conjunction with a gap product which must be compared with the policy of automobile insurance sold with the vehicle. Nonetheless, it is overpriced for the risk assumed. Moreover, the requirements to apply for this benefit are overwhelming. There are numerous requirements, including the supplying of police report, notification within 30 days, and documentation from the insurance company, and all sorts of other extras that are required to process this claim.

WAIVER OF CONSUMER FRAUD CLAIMS AND CONSUMER FRAUD
The litigation in this case arises out of the plaintiff’s allegations that the defendant committed fraud and consumer fraud with regard to the performance of a home improvement contract. See Cox v. Sears, 92 N.J. 1 (1994). The defendant now relies upon arbitration clause and move to have the case dismissed. The arbitration clause provides the following:
Any dispute, controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this contract at the option of Care Temp may be submitted to binding arbitration with the American Arbitration Association and judgment on award may be entered in any amount entered in any court or company jurisdiction The arbitration clause as written is unenforceable under New Jersey law as promulgated by the New Jersey Supreme Court. In Garfinkel v. Morristown Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates, 168 N.J. 124 (2001), the court refused to enforce an arbitration agreement because the arbitration agreement failed to specifically include a waiver of statutory rights. The Supreme Court held that without the specific waiver of statutory rights, the agreement could not be said to encompass those statutory rights in the context of an arbitration clause. In Garfinkel, the court refused to force the plaintiff to arbitrate their statutory law against discrimination claims because the arbitration agreement specifically failed to include a waiver of statutory rights.