Is This Dealership A House of Horror?

Auto House operates vehicle dealerships in Mooresville and Salisbury [North Carolina].  Recently, several consumers who purchased vehicles from Auto House complained they were sold vehicles that were misbranded or misrepresented.  The result?  If this is true the consumers overpaid for the vehicles they purchased.  Click here for the most recent local news story by WSOC TV in Charlotte which is following an ongoing investigation by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles License and Theft Bureau.  And now the North Brief noteCarolina Attorney General’s office is interested in the goings on.  Not good.

So what can a consumer do to prevent buying a misbranded vehicle?

  • Do research on the vehicle’s make, model, trimline, and features by going to the manufacturer’s website.  For example, if you are contemplating buying a Ford F-150 truck visit the Ford website and check for the exact type of vehicle you may be purchasing.
  • Get the vehicle’s VIN (do not rely on the VIN listed in an online ad; go see the vehicle in person and take copy the VIN listed on the vehicle) and ensure it is consistent with the vehicle you seek to purchase.  Click here for how to interpret the information contained in a VIN

And when buying any used vehicle it is imperative you do your homework before signing any paperwork or agreeing to make the purchase.

In the meantime many people await the results of the investigations into Auto House and many persons who purchased vehicles from Auto House may be a bit concerned–to say the least.  Unfortuately, Auto House is not the first and will not be the last vehicle dealership that may have taken advantage of unsuspecting consumers.  If you believe you have purchased a misbranded vehicle or otherwise been the victim of auto fraud contact an experienced consumer law attorney for a consultation.


Rep Your School (or Organization)!

For those of you who attended a college or university do you have a license plate for your school? I don’t mean a bumper sticker although those are nice (I have a few myself). No, I am talking about a bona fide license plate issued by your state’s DMV.  In North Carolina the Division of Motor Vehicles offers license plates for 38 academic institutions which includes several out-of-state schools. A portion of your application fee and annual license plate renewal fee goes to your alma mater and you get the year-long sense of pride in promoting and supporting your school.

North Carolina has 187 specialty license plates to choose from which include a variety of non-academic organizations and groups; click here to search the list.  If you live in a state other than NC, click here to find your state’s DMV and look for information on collegiate or specialty license plates.

Before you ask, yes, I do have a collegiate license plate.  I am the proud holder of a license plate for UNCG!  Join the thousands of people who drive with pride.  Get your plate today!

Troubling Trump

Most of you have heard the buzz about the lawsuit involving the now-defunct Trump University which was the brainchild and machination of none other than presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.  As a consumer lawyer I am appalled at some of the things that may have occurred. High pressure sales tactics, encouraging people to max out credit cards and loan money to

Thumbs down on Trump University

Thumbs down on Trump University

pay for tuition and materials, grandiose and Continue reading

The Car Sharks

Vehicles come in many styles, colors, and varieties.  They are bought and sold daily across the United States.  Unfortunately within the thousands of vehicle transactions which occur monthly there are a disturbing number which are doomed to fail.  Failure either due to the Sign, Drive, and Sigh....vehicle breaking down, the financing “falling through”, failure to deliver title, or other issues.

And then there is the shady industry of sub-prime auto loans.  Read this and be forewarned.  Do your homework before purchasing a vehicle including contemplating arranging your own financing.  But if you have made a purchase and have some problems contact an experienced attorney—pronto!

Payday Lenders…Google Me Not!

Google has tremendous power in driving internet commerce and it has taken the opportunity to use this power in what should be a positive manner for consumers.  Beginning July 13th 2016 Google will no longer continue, post, or allow advertisements for payday lenders who offer loans “..are due within 60 days, along with ads for loans with annual interest rates of 36 percent or higher.”  While Google’s action will not eliminate payday lenders from being found online it does send a message that a major player in the online business world is taking a stand (relatively speaking) against an industry that is fraught with predators and peril.

One can hope that consumers explore all alternative options before agreeing to do business with payday lenders.  For more information on consumer protection related to payday lending and other forms of debt collection click here.  Best wishes to each of you and continue to be an informed consumer.

Law and Life Blog Turned Four Years Old This Month

Thank you for all of your readership, comments, shares, and other support of the Law and Life Blog.  At times I do not write as often as I would like or should but I hope you find the Blog a source of reference and helpful information.  Injecting humor and humanity-as

Happy (4th) Birthday Law and Life Blog!

Happy (4th) Birthday Law and Life Blog!

appropriate-into the thorny issues of law and legal related problems…..this is the goal of the Blog.

Although the Blog first appeared in May 2012 the predecessor Law and Life Newsletter dates back to February 2005.  Back then I was working at a law firm in Greensboro handling primarily personal injury and civil litigation.  Since then I have been blessed to open my own office and expand my focus to handling a plethora of consumer matters such as homeowners’ issues, auto fraud, unfair and harassing debt collection—to name a few.  Click here for more information on my areas of practice.

Please continue to share Blog posts with your family, friends, and others in your sphere of influence.  And if you are reading this post but are not a subscriber take a few moments to sign up–Click here and on the top right side of your page where you see “Follow Blog via Email” type your email address in the box and click on the “Follow” button underneath the box.  You will get an email in your inbox (be sure to check your Junk mail box) with simple directions how to confirm your subscription.  Simple indeed…..

Best wishes to each of you and may you be a better informed consumer and citizen by virtue of the Law and Life Blog.

Supreme Court Speaks on Spokeo: Where Are We Now?

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling and opinion in a consumer law case.  The case of Spokeo Inc. v. Robins involves a consumer who sued an online entity which qualifies as a consumer reporting agency under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  Robins alleged Spokeo posted inaccurate information about his financial worth, among other things.  However it is unclear just what the decision in  means for the consumer law landscape.

The key issue in Spokeo seemed to be that of concrete harm a/k/a actual injury.  Spokeo sought dismissal of the consumer’s claim asserting that the consumer had failed to allege how he had been harmed by several factual inaccuracies posted online by Spokeo.  The consumer claimed Spokeo’s publication of the false information was a technical violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and thereby entitled him to recover statutory damages.  In its 6-2 decision the Supreme Court sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to analyze whether the particular violations of FCRA that the consumer alleged create a “degree of risk sufficient to meet the concreteness requirement.”  The Supreme Court did not, decide “whether the Ninth Circuit’s ultimate conclusion—that Robins adequately alleged an injury in fact—was correct.”

So, in sum, the Spokeo case is not over and the consumer could still prevail.  Time will tell and the question looms as to whether the case will eventually make its way back to the Supremes for another look.  Until then consumer lawyers across the country handling cases arising under FCRA, FDCPA, ECOA, and other similar federal and state statutes will be keeping Spokeo on their proverbial radar for future blips.

Memorial Day Greetings

Hello and my apologies for the long hiatus.  I have been amazingly busy since we last spoke.  I have completed the written portion of a presentation I am doing next month, had a 3-day jury trial in a used car case (we fought hard but we lost), been to Atlanta to celebrate Memorial Daythe graduation of a really good friend‘s second son, celebrated the graduation of my amazing, talented cousin Mariah C. Street from the NCCU School of Law, and otherwise occupied.  I am ready for a bit of a breather this weekend and I hope each of you are able to partake in some rest and recreation.

But we would be remiss if we did not recognize the true meaning of Memorial Day.  Take a moment and reflect on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so we Americans can have the opportunities that make our nation so attractive to persons around the world.  Sure, our nation has issues and ills and points of concern but the totality of circumstances puts us in a better position than many other nations.  And it is largely due to our servicemen and servicewomen.  Thank you indeed and Happy Memorial Day to all.

Tips in Personal Injury Cases

As the weather warms and people are taking more road trips and otherwise on the highways, I share a quick article with some tips in

Making notes..

Making notes..

the event you are involved in an incident and sustain personal injury.  Click here for the article and contact me if I can be of assistance.  And do feel free to share this blog post with others.  Best wishes.

The State Giveth, The State Taketh Away. Now The State Giveth Some

Recently the North Carolina Supreme Court decided a case challenging the constitutionality and overall legality of the State of North Carolina repealing the teacher tenure system.  In NCAE v. The State of North Carolina the Court held the State could not unilaterally break its promise to the hundreds of North Carolina teachers who were hired and worked toward earning tenure.  (Read more about the decision here and here). Tenure afforded teachers certain rights regarding adverse employment action and provided a certain layer of protection and job security (relatively speaking).  A Republican-led legislature believed tenure made it more difficult to terminate or shed substandard teachers and thus passed the law repealing teacher tenure.  There is much debate as to whether this belief was true.

The NC Supreme Court was not having the State’s attempt to change the rules in the middle of the proverbial game and held teachers who had earned tenure as of July 2013, when the teacher tenure repeal law was signed, would remain tenured.  But teachers hired after the law passed will not have the protection and benefits conferred by tenure status.  All teachers hired after July 2013 are now given contracts of one, two, or four years.  Schools now have greater freedom to decide not to renew teacher contracts and teachers can appeal non-renewal decisions to their local school board.

The principle of law that served as the basis for the Court’s decision was that of vesting which relates to benefits and contract law.  Teachers who had fulfilled the requirements to obtain tenure were vested and had a contractual and legal right to retain tenure even after passage of the tenure repeal law.  While the Court decision relates to the special case of teachers seeking to maintain tenure the principle of “keep your promises” applies to virtually every contract.  If you are a party to a contract and have been harmed by another party’s breach of the contract you should consult a legal professional to discuss your situation and assess your rights and options.


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