Car Dealers

3 Things Oregon Car Buyer's Should Know Before Going to the Dealer

As an Oregon Consumer Lawyer I regularly sue Car Dealerships on behalf of people that get ripped off. Some Car Dealers have perfected the art of bamboozling customers in an effort to squeeze every penny out of the deal. Some dealers do such a masterful job, that most consumers feel powerless even though something “doesn’t feel right.” However, Car Buyers do have rights and can assert those rights. Here are 3 tips to help you Protect Yourself from a Car Dealer:

1) Read the Documents: It is a no brainer that you should read what you are signing. However, dealers use tactics to prevent this. Dealers are trained to keep their hands on the documents and point where to sign while engaging in conversation with you. You can protect yourself by asking the dealer to step out of the office or away from the desk and give you time to read the documents. You can also politely ask the dealer to stop talking as you are going through the documents, and remind them that you are trying to focus. There is never enough time to read all of the small print. However, before you sign the documents you should have an understanding of the major aspects of the deal.

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2) Shop Based on Total Sale Price: Many people purchase cars solely based on the monthly payments. Focusing on monthly payments puts the consumer at a disadvantage because the dealer can tweak the financing and price of add-ons to keep the monthly payments roughly the same, but the actual amount financed of the vehicle is substantially higher. You can protect yourself by shopping based on the “Total Sale Price” of the vehicle. That price is located on the truth in lending act disclosures that the dealer requires you to sign.

3) Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away If Something Doesn’t Feel Right: If you think the dealer is trying to take advantage of you then walk away. Dealers use long delays to exhaust buyers so that the dealer can get them to rush through signing the paperwork. You can combat this by giving them a certain amount of time to prepare the documents or you walk. You can also walk out if you get the sense that the dealer is trying to pull a fast one or take advantage of you.

If you or someone you know has been ripped off by a car dealer please call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658. Oregon Consumer Lawyer Jeremiah Ross has represented numerous consumers who have been victims of auto fraud, unlawful car sales, and vehicle financing schemes. Please remember that rules and laws are constantly changing. PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE NUMEROUS OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM BEING RIPPED OFF (Vehicle inspections, taking financing documents home, pre-loan approval, etc.) These are simply three basic tips. Please contact a lawyer or refer to the law rather than simply relying on this post. This post could be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

Beware Oregon Car Buyers! Hurricane Season Means Flood Car Season

Hurricane Florence is currently pummeling the Carolina Coast.  Buckets of rain have fallen and are expected to continue to fall over the next couple of days.  Major cities are predicted to flood.  People have left their homes in search of safety until the rain and flooding subsides.  Once the rain stops the clean up will begin. Katrina and Sandy have taught us that clean up can take years.  There are entire industries dedicated to natural disaster clean up. Of particular concern is the industry that has evolved to remove and resell the hundreds of thousands of flood vehicles that will eventually be sold to unwary Oregonians.

Flood vehicles” are vehicles that have been in flood areas and the vast majority of them have been partially submerged for a period of time.  Flood vehicles can develop terrible mechanical and electrical issues even though they may look great.  I have litigated cases involving Hurricane Sandy cars being sold in, or through, Oregon.  Throughout that litigation, I learned how thousands of cars get out of the flood zone and are resold throughout the country.  

First, an insurance company representative typically will go through neighborhoods seeking out homes and vehicles that are insured by their insurance company.  The insurance company employee, or subcontractor, then briefly inspects the vehicle.  The insurance company often renders the vehicle a total loss on the spot.  Then the insurance company immediately initiates the process to total the vehicle and title it as a Flood Vehicle. The vehicles are then transported from the neighborhood to a large holding area.  Thousands of vehicles are then auctioned off and sold around the Country and the world.  Some of the vehicles will wind up in Oregon.

Prior to coming to Oregon, some of the titles may be washed.  Title Washing is a process where a vehicle with a branded title, such as a Flood Vehicle, will be titled in a state that may issue a clean title to that vehicle. Then the vehicle is re-sold and may wind up at your local used car dealer.  The new Title will not be a "branded" or a "Flood" title, so consumers will not be alerted the vehicle will likely have serious electrical or mechanical issues.  

Some dealers will rip consumers off in a more brazen fashion.  These dealers simply take the consumer's money and then provide the branded title after the funds have cleared. Then the dealer claims they informed the buyer that the vehicle was a flood vehicle.  Dealers often have unwary consumers sign a piece of paper noting the vehicle maybe a flood or salvaged vehicle, However, the dealer will simply state this is a standard form.  Then once the salvaged title is provided to the consumer, the dealer uses the document as a defense to claim the consumer knew of the branded title.

Buyers need to beware of flood vehicles over the next few years.   If a consumer unknowingly purchases a flood vehicle, then the seller may be liable for the violations of various State or Federal Laws.   

What you Can Do To Try And Ensure You Do Not Purchase a Flood Damaged Car:  It is important for Oregon Consumers to inspect any vehicle they may buy.  That great deal on Craigslist may actually be a terrible deal for a car that is plagued with electrical issues.   Oregonians should inspect the vehicle.  Consumers should examine underneath the vehicle to ensure there are not any mineral deposits, a "silt line," or significant mud.  The headlights may have mud or debris lines inside of them.  The interior and trunk should be inspected for any discoloration that indicates flooding.  If the vehicle smells funny (either of mold or heavy chemicals) that may be an indication of flooding.  The consumer should turn on and off all of the lights and radio, and operate any electrical features (windows, sunroof, rear windshield wiper)to ensure they all function properly.  

The consumer should also pull a title history report from Carfax or AutoCheck to determine: 1) if the vehicle has a branded title, and 2) to determine if the vehicle is from the North Carolina, South Carolina, or Virginia.  However, these reports are not always accurate so they shouldn't solely be relied upon.   If the vehicle was bought or sold at a "Copart" auction yard that is a big red flag that the vehicle may have had a salvaged title, or had previously been total. These tips may assist consumers in protecting themselves from buying a flood car, but it may not completely protect car buyers.

If you, or someone you know, purchased a vehicle that you believe is a flood vehicle, lemon, or has a salvaged title, then call Jeremiah Ross for your free case evaluation.  Call Oregon Lemon Law and dealer fraud lawyer Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658.  

Please remember this is attorney advertising.  Please do not solely rely on this post to obtain information to ensure you are not purchasing a flood vehicle. Have the vehicle checked by a mechanic and take other steps to ensure the vehicle is not a flood damaged vehicle. These are merely some steps that may protect Oregon car buyers.

Ross Law Filed 2 Lawsuits Last Month Against The Same Car Dealer

May was a busy month for Ross Law PDX.  We filed multiple lawsuits on behalf of personal injury clients and auto fraud and consumer clients.  It is rare to file multiple lawsuits against a single car dealer in a month, but it happened. We filed two lawsuits against Cascade Auto Inc alleging violations of Oregon's Unlawful Trade Practices Act and other statutory violations arising out of the purchase and sale of two separate motor vehicles.  Both of the lawsuits allege Cascade Auto Inc. sold a vehicle with a material defect that the dealer knew or should have known about.   One client was forced to file a lawsuit because Cascade Auto Inc. refused to honor the arbitration agreement they directed our client sign at the time of the vehicle purchase.   

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If you or someone you know was ripped off by an Oregon Car dealer call auto fraud and lemon law lawyer Jeremiah Ross.  Ross Law PDX represents consumers who have purchased lemons or vehicles with material defects, have been victims of yo-yo sales or other car financing schemes, and other cases involving the purchase and sale of a motor vehicle from an Oregon Car dealer.

Investigating a Car Dealer's Reputation Before You Buy a Car

Purchasing a vehicle is stressful.  It is usually one of the largest purchases a person can make. That is why many people do their homework prior to purchasing a vehicle.  Many consumers will research a particular car and visit blog posts (like my recent blog post) to obtain information on how to research a particular vehicle.  However, many people fail to investigate the reputation of the dealership that they are dealing with.  This is usually pretty easy, but you would be surprised at how many people that were ripped off by a car dealer call me and say after the purchase they learned the dealership had numerous consumer complaints.  Here are some places to look for information about an Oregon car dealership before you purchase the vehicle.  Please remember the list is not exhaustive.  Also, Ross Law does not have any affiliation with the businesses or entities below.

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Do an Internet Search for the Dealerships name and the Dealer:  Whether you use Google, Yahoo, Bing, or some other search engine, you should always search the dealer's name for information about the dealer.   These internet searches will reveal good reviews, bad reviews, and any other information about the dealer that may reflect on the dealer's reputation.

Search the Oregon Department of Justice's Website for Consumer Claims:  The Oregon Department of Justice keeps an on-line database for consumer complaints against a particular dealership.  It is not complete, and sometimes there are issues with whether the complaint is filed under the proper name, but it is a very useful tool to determine if another person has had a negative experience with the car dealer.  Click here for access the database to review consumer complaints.

Search the Better Business Web-Site for Complaints: The Better Business Bureau (BBB) also has an online database that will provide limited information regarding the dealership.  It is not complete or comprehensive, but it may provide information regarding a particular dealership and the types of complaints the BBB receives about that dealership. Click here to access the Better Business Bureau website

Review old issues of the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles Dealer Details Publication:  The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles publishes a newsletter that has a section that reports sanctions imposed against a dealership.  Click here to access the Dealer Details Publication.

Please remember that Ross Law does not have any affiliation with the above businesses or entities.  Also, please note the data and the information on the websites may not be complete.  Also, be aware that some businesses and dealerships will post fake reviews, or provide an incentive for a person to post a positive review that may not accurately reflect the transaction.  Also, even if you research the dealership you may get ripped off.  In the event, you, or someone you know, are ripped off, sold a lemon, or have been defrauded by an Oregon car dealer call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658. Jeremiah Ross is an Oregon Consumer Lawyer that regularly represents consumers who have been ripped off by car dealers or other businesses.  This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with an attorney.  This post and blog could be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. 

12 Things Car Buyers Should Know

Dealing with car dealers is usually at the bottom of everyone's list of fun things to do.  Depending on where you are purchasing the vehicle from it can be a miserable experience or a tolerable experience.  It is rarely a great experience.   However, you can have a better experience if you follow some of the tips below. This list is not exhaustive.  It may not work in every situation, but these are some tips I have learned over years of representing clients that have been ripped off by car dealers or people that have bought a Lemon. It is my hope, these tips may assist you in getting a good deal and prevent you from buying a jalopy. 

1) Research the Vehicle Price before going to the dealership:  If you are thinking of buying a new or used vehicle you should be able to price the vehicle through various internet sources.  You can use the Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds guide online to compare prices of vehicles.  You can also compare prices of similar vehicles on Craigslist or Auto-Trader.  If you do this before ever setting foot on the car lot, you will know whether or not the vehicle is over-priced. Once you have a price in mind you stick to it no matter what. If the dealer refuses to accept your offer, then WALK AWAY.  If you are shopping using the "monthly payment" as the maximum amount you will pay then use a payment calculator.  That will tell you the maximum amount of the price you can pay based on the monthly payment and the likely interest rate.

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2)  You Don't Have to Tell The Dealer The "Payment Amount" You Are Looking For or Other Information:  Many people end up paying too much for vehicles because they shop for a vehicle based on the payment amount.  The way this typically occurs is the consumer goes to the lot with a price and vehicle in mind.  Most people finance vehicles, so the dealer asks, "What are you looking at keeping your payments at?" The consumer then responds with a number. That number then becomes the starting point.  The dealer knows that if you say you want to keep your payments at $200.00 a month then you will probably agree to a $275.00 a month payment.  Also, the dealer knows that they can tweak the financing and add-ons (see below) in order to keep you at your payment.  For example, they may extend the loan term for a few years at a higher interest rate.  On paper, your payments are what you want, but you end up paying thousands of dollars in interest and you may get locked into a loan on a vehicle for seven or eight years on a used car.   The bottom line is that you can tell the dealer you don't want to discuss financing until after you have agreed on a final price of the vehicle.  If the dealer refuses, then you can walk.  You may also be able to obtain financing from your bank or a local credit union.  If you get pre-approved financing for a certain amount of money, you can focus solely on the price of the vehicle.  This enables you to steer clear of dealer shenanigans. 

3) Research the Vehicle's History Before Going to the Dealer:  In Oregon, the dealer should have the vehicle's identification number (VIN) on the online advertisement.  This allows you to run a carfax or auto check before you ever meet with the dealer.  The vehicle history report may show the vehicle's maintenance history, if it was a fleet vehicle or rental car, and if it has a clean title.  This is invaluable information.   However, be careful and do not rely solely on these vehicle history reports.  Many times it takes the reports a few months to obtain relevant data to include in the reports.  The reports are also not always complete. Dealers know this.  As a result, it is common for a dealer to give a "clean carfax" report and then later a crash shows up that pre-dates the sale to you.  That is why you should have a mechanic inspect the vehicle. 

4) You Can and Should Have the Vehicle Inspected By an Independent Mechanic:  The best way to prevent from buying a used vehicle that is a piece of junk (aka a Lemon), is to have an independent mechanic inspect the vehicle BEFORE you purchase the vehicle. Mechanics can tell you what you are getting into if you are buying a used car.   There are a few different inspection services here in Portland that will actually drive to the vehicle (PDX Inspections, PDX Autoworks, Portland Motor Cars, Etc.)  I don't recommend or endorse any particular mechanic or inspector, but you can contact them.  Also, most dealers will let you drive the vehicle to a mechanic's shop for the inspection.  If you have a mechanic you trust, take the vehicle there.  Be Careful:  Do not use a mechanic recommended by the dealer! 

5) Dealers Are Not Required to do a Thorough Vehicle Inspection:  I often get calls from people that purchased a vehicle that broke down shortly after the purchase.   They often say "the dealer was supposed to do a [insert number here] point inspection."  There is no requirement in Oregon for a dealer to conduct a thorough inspection of the vehicle.  Unless the dealer agrees to do an inspection or advertises one, The Oregon Administrative Rules and other laws dictate the dealer's obligations.  That is why YOU should have the vehicle inspected.

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6)  Dealers Make Most of their Money on Add-Ons, So Be Careful:  If you did your homework on the price of the vehicle, then you know the maximum amount you are willing to pay before you go into the dealer.  Once you have that number in mind you have to stick to it.  Dealers are masterful at convincing people to go over that number by adding on various things that are financed into the price of the vehicle.  Common Add-Ons are warranties, service contracts, paint protection, door edge guards, glass etching.  The dealer maximizes profits on these items by marking them up as high as they can.  If you feel it is necessary to purchase an add-on, remember you can negotiate the price of it.  The dealer should tell you what the actual cost of the add-on is to the dealer.  Also, Oregon law prohibits the dealer from conditioning the sale of the car on buying an add-on.  For example, "the dealer cannot say I won't sell you the car unless you buy the warranty."  You should not negotiate add-ons until AFTER you agreed on the final purchase price of the vehicle.

7)  Dealers May Try and Fudge the Financing, So Review the Documents:   Usually once a dealer has you in a car they turn things over to the F&I manager.  This is the person in the "back room" that is unreasonable on price and financing.   Many times at this point you have been at the dealership for hours and just want to get out of there.  Dealers know this.  That is why they will throw dozens of documents in front of you and tell you where to sign.  I have had dealers admit under oath that they are trained to make it difficult for the customer to take the documents off of the table and read them.  They do this by holding the document as it is laying on the table, pointing out where to sign, and then flipping the document over immediately after it is signed. They do this so you have no idea what you are signing.  To prevent this, you have some options.  You can ask the dealer to leave you alone with the documents so you can read them.  You can also have the dealer hand you the documents prior to signing them.  If they refuse, then you should walk out.  You want to review the documents to ensure the purchase price is correct, the trade-in, if any, the amount is correct, the add-ons are things you actually agreed to purchase,  the financing amount is correct, the interest rate is what you agreed on, the term of the loan (number of payments) is correct, and you agree with all of the terms.  Click here to learn more about The Retail Installment Contract.  

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8)   You Can Cross Things Out and Refuse to Sign Certain Documents:  We live in a world of pre-printed forms.  Many times people sign things without reading them.  If you reviewed the documents then you will see language that you don't understand or you don't want to agree to.  This is where you can use your phone to look up any terms you don't understand, and you can cross out the conditions and terms you don't want to agree to. For example, you should ALWAYS cross out any language saying you are agreeing to binding arbitration and/or forfeiting your right to a Jury trial.  This is often buried in the "fine print," but you should always cross it out or refuse to sign any clause or stand-alone document that is forcing you into arbitration.   Click here to find out why Arbitration is bad for Oregon consumers. 

9) Negative Equity in Your Trade-In WIll Make Your Payments Much Higher:  Assume you did your homework on vehicle price, you refused the add-ons, and are sticking to your bottom line and you have a trade-in that is worth less than the amount you owe on it.  Dealers have a difficult time rolling in negative equity into a new loan because many finance companies are leery of extending credit to folks in this situation.  This is due to the fact that the collateral on the loan for the new vehicle won't cover the full cost of the loan in the event of a default. However, dealers are crafty and can usually get financing if needed. They may get a co-signer, fudge numbers, claiming non-existent down payments, or other schemes to get the negative equity rolled into the new loan.  If the negative equity is rolled into the new loan then most likely your payments are going to be MUCH higher than you anticipated.  I get calls from many people that get home and review their paperwork only to find out that they have agreed to a $400.00 car payment when they thought they were only agreeing to a $250.00 car payment.  Many times the reason for this is the consumer agreed to roll in the negative equity into the new loan.  

10)  There is No Automatic Right to Return a Vehicle In Oregon: There is a myth that many consumers propagate that if you buy a car you automatically have [insert number here] number of days to return a vehicle.  I have heard people say it is 3 days, 7 days, 14 days, 30 days, and 60 days.  Under Oregon law, there is no automatic right to return a vehicle that you purchased at a dealership.  However, your contract or agreement with the dealer may allow you to do so.  

11) The Dealer May Have 14 Days to Complete Financing for the Vehicle:  Many people drive off of the lot in their new or used vehicle and then get a call from the dealer a week later.  The dealer says financing fell through so they need to come back and agree to new financing terms.  Usually, the dealer wants more money for the down payment or may want to increase the interest rate. This is called a Yo-Yo Scam or a bushing scam.  This is legal, but only if, the dealer follows the law to the letter.  This includes, but is not limited to, telling you that you have the right to immediately receive your trade-in back and/or your downpayment back. At the dealership, the dealer should have the trade-in ready for you to pick up and your downpayment ready for you to get if you do not agree to the new financing terms. Click here for more information on Yo-Yo Scams.  If you review the documents (see above) you will know exactly what the dealer is doing and prevent the dealer from sneaking in new additional terms.

12)  If It Isn't In Writing It Doesn't Count:  Dealers make a lot of promises.  Many dealers will tell a consumer that they will fix something on the car, or make an oral agreement about when the downpayment is actually due.  These agreements typically are not binding, because the Purchase Agreement or the Retail Installment Contract has a clause that says that those documents contain the entire agreement.  The bottom line is if the dealer promises something then get it in writing.  If they refuse, then walk out. 

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The list above is not complete and everyone's situation varies.  You MIGHT STILL GET RIPPED OFF even if you follow the recommendations above. Also,  please keep in mind I do not advise clients who are in the middle of purchasing a car.  I am a lawyer that represents Oregon Consumers, I am not a car buying advisor.  This blog could be considered Attorney Advertising.  If you think you have been ripped off by an Oregon Car Dealer or were sold a Lemon then call Ross Law PDX at 503.224.1658.  Jeremiah Ross represents Oregonians in consumer cases, personal injury cases, and other cases where people are harmed by the negligence or intentional acts of others.

 

Bought a Lemon? Five Things To Know About Oregon's Lemon Law

Auto Fraud and Lemon Law cases are often tragic.  For many people, a vehicle is the biggest purchase of their lifetime.  They spend thousands of dollars on a vehicle and then the vehicle breaks down.   Most of these people hit the internet and attempt to learn as much as they can about Oregon's lemon law and become misinformed.  I field too many calls from uninformed or misinformed consumers.  The five issues below should dispell many myths about Oregon's Lemon Law and help consumers get a basic understanding of Oregon's lemon law.  Remember if you have questions about Oregon's Lemon Law call an Oregon Lemon Law attorney.

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1) Oregon's Lemon Law Only Applies in Very Limited Circumstances:  Oregon's lemon law does not cover all of Auto Fraud.  It only covers a limited number of vehicle purchases and has certain hurdles that a consumer must jump through.   Basically, Oregon's lemon law may apply if a person is a "consumer" (see below) under the lemon law; the new motor vehicle does not comply with the manufacturer's express warranties; the consumer reports each non-conformity to the manufacturer (think agent or authorized dealer), with the purpose of allowing the manufacturer to repair or correct the defect or non-conformity. The consumer must report the non-conformity during the two year period after the consumer took original delivery of the motor vehicle, or during a period that ends on the date which the vehicle's mileage reaches 24,000 miles, whichever ends first.  The law also requires the consumer to provide direct written notification to the manufacturer and provide the manufacturer the opportunity to correct the non-conformity.  A written request directed to the manufacturer for "informal dispute resolution" can be considered "Notification" to the manufacturer.   In summary, just because you bought a car that broke down does not mean it is a lemon.

2) Oregon's Lemon Law ONLY applies to NEW Vehicles:  Oregon's lemon law only applies to new vehicles.  The law specifically defines who a "consumer" is under the Lemon Law.  Oregon Law defines a "Consumer"  as,  " the purchaser or lessee, other than for purposes of resale, of a new motor vehicle used for personal, family or household purposes. "  The good news with this definition is that it means that the lemon law protects people that buy and lease vehicles.  The bad news for most people is that the law only applies to brand new vehicles.   That doesnt' mean people that bought used vehicles do not have a remedy.  They just can't use the lemon law.  Instead, they may have to bring an action under the Unlawful Trade Practices Act, Magnuson Moss Act, Contract Law, or common law Fraud.  

3) Oregon's Lemon Law Does NOT Give You An Automatic Opportunity to Unwind The Deal:  People often call and tell me they have a thirty day right to return their vehicle after the purchase.  Some consumers say they have three days to return the vehicle, but the dealer won't take the vehicle back.  In most cases that is incorrect.  Oregon's Lemon Law does NOT have a provision that permits a person to automatically unwind the deal within a specified period of time for any reason.   

4) The Vehicle is Presumed a Lemon In Some Circumstances (Think 3 repairs or 30 days):  Oregon's Lemon Law presumes that a vehicle is a lemon if either of the following occurs: 1) the manufacturer (agent or an authorized dealer) has been attempted to repair or coorrect the non-conformatiy three or more times and had an opportunity to cure the defect, OR; 2) the vehicle is out of service for more than 30 calendar days (60 Days for motor homes) for the purpose of making repairs, OR; 3) the non-conformity involves a defect that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury and the manufacturer (agent or authorized dealer) has had at least one chance to repair or corrcect the issue and made a final attempt to correct it and it still exists.   This presumption has certain time limitations and only applies if the manufacturer has received prior direct written notification from a consumer and had the chance to repair the defect.  If the presumption doesn't apply your vehicle may still be a lemon, it just becomes a more difficult case.  

5) If You Have a Lemon You May Receive A Substantial Amount of Money:  If the manufacturer forces the matter to court, did not act in good faith, and you win, then the manufacturer may have to pay the consumer up to three times the amount of any damages.  This amount is capped at $50,000.00 though.  The manufacturer may also be required to pay the consumer's court costs, expert fees, and attorney fees. This provision in the law permits lemon law lawyers, such as myself, to take these cases on a contingent fee

Auto Dealer Fraud and Oregon's lemon law is a complicated area of law.  The law is always changing and much of the rights and obligations of the parties are found in the contracts between them.   What this means is that most consumers are going to need to discuss their matter with a lawyer rather than jumping to conclusions after some brief internet research.  If you have questions call Oregon Lemon Law Lawyer, Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658.  Ross law handles Oregon Auto Fraud and Lemon Law cases in Portland, Salem, Astoria, Hood River, Pendleton, Umatilla, Medford, Roseburg, Bend, and throughout Oregon.

REMEMBER!!! There are exceptions to the five issues above and many of the areas addressed are considered gray areas.  Therefore PLEASE do not rely solely on this post.  The law is constantly changing.  This post is not intended to be legal advise and is attorney advertising. 

Congress Shot Down a Rule Meant to Preserve Your Right to a Jury Trial & What You Can Do About It

Arbitration can kill a consumer's case by preventing consumers from having their day in court. Many people who are ripped off by car dealers or subjected to automobile dealer fraud have no idea they relinquished their right to a jury trial by signing an arbitration clause.   The CFPB was taking steps to limit businesses ability to bar the doors to the courthouse and force people into expensive, business-friendly arbitration.   

Congress didn't do consumers any favors this week by killing the CFPB rule that was intended to protect consumers access to justice. However, there are still ways to stay out of arbitration. The NCLC article has identified the ways to combat arbitration clauses despite Congress' terrible decision. Click here to read more.

If you have additional questions call Oregon Consumer Lawyer Jeremiah Ross at Ross Law.  Call 503.224.1658 for your very breif free case evaluation.

In a Car Crash During the Recent Snow Storm? Here is What You Need to Do...

Snowpocalypse has arrived in Oregon.  The Willamette Valley , Coast, and Central Oregon have all been buried in Snow.  Last night when snow began to fall, Oregon's roads predictably became snarled with drivers trying to get home.  Many driver's were unprepared t and either crashed into another car, ran off the road, or simply abandon there vehicles in the road.   The Oregonian reported 101 car crashes in Portland alone.  Area hospitals also reported an increase of persons being admitted for car crash injuries. These visits can become costly if injured people do not take steps to protect themselves.     If you were one of those people that were involved in a crash here are things you should do:

A video taken by SW Portland resident Kathryn King shows a school bus crashing into several other vehicles in her neighborhood during a snow storm on Dec. 14, 2016. (Warning video contains explicit language)
  1. At the Scene:   Once the area is safe, USE YOUR CELL PHONE to gather evidence: Take pictures of the car damage, the scene, the bad driver, witnesses, and the bad driver' driver's license, the bad driver's license plate, and the bad driver's insurance card.  Call 911 if there is an injury and relay what the injuries are. Have witnesses text or email you their contact information from their phones. This way you can locate them later if needed.   
  2. Seek Medical Care:  Immediately seek treatment if you are injured. Your Oregon issued auto insurance should pay $15,000.00 for up to two years of crash related medical treatment. This does not mean you need to go to the Emergency Room, but you should schedule an appointment with a Doctor or Chiropractor to ensure you have not suffered serious injuries.
  3. Contact Insurance and the DMV: Call your insurance company to set up a claim. Cooperate with them, but be cautious of their motives. If there was an injury or more than $1500.00 in property damage submit the proper Accident Report to the DMV ASAP.  Here is a link to the form:  DMV Accident Form.
  4. If you were in a hit and run you must make a police report or notify the DMV within 24 hours and notify your insurer within 30 days.  I advise reporting the matter to law enforcement as soon as possible.  This is important as you may not be able to make a claim in the future if you were a victim of a hit and run.
  5. Call A Lawyer at 503.224.1658:   It won't cost you anything to chat, and you can learn about what you need to do next. 

Please be safe out there.  The roads are still treacherous and there is more snow and ice on the way.   Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions.  Please remember this blog and web-site may be considered attorney advertisement.