Handling Customer Complaints – Abilene Reporter

Whether it’s “The Old Luskey Philosophy,” “The “Fish Philosophy,” or the “Treat Customers as Guests Philosophy,” every business needs a method for dealing with customer complaints.

And, according to the head of the local Better Business Bureau, the philosophy needs to be coupled with a follow-up plan: act quickly to fix the problem.

“That’s really key to getting to a satisfactory resolution,” said Steve Abel, president of the BBB of Abilene. “The quicker you can get toward a fair resolution, the less problem you’re going to have on down the road.”

Managers or owners of some local businesses with a good track record on customer service agree. Most strive to fix the problem “on the spot” if at all possible.

That’s certainly a part of “The Old Luskey Philosophy,” as practiced at the Luskey’s/Ryon’s Western Store at 3402 Catclaw Drive.

“If they’ve got a problem, I fix it,” said Sonny Dillard, who started with the local store when it was located on North 1st Street.

If the problem can be fixed before the customer leaves the store, it will be. If not, the issue will be resolved as quickly as possible, Dillard said, in order to maintain a good relationship with customers, many of whom are repeats.

“Basically all we have to sell is service,” Dillard said, because customers can get most of the store’s offerings elsewhere.

That’s been the philosophy behind the business since Jake Luskey opened his first store in 1919, Dillard said. “The Old Luskey Philosophy” has been handed down since then.

Dillard said sometimes the store is criticized for having higher prices than some other western wear stores. But, he said, “we’re not carrying any seconds,” only top quality merchandise.

And, since customers may pay $500 or more for a pair of boots, they expect excellent customer service. If a problem arises after the customer wears the boots for a while, it will be fixed or otherwise resolved.

“Whatever it takes, we’re going to satisfy the customer if at all possible,” Dillard said.

When it comes to customer service at United Supermarkets, the philosophy is “treat them like they’re a guest in your home,” said Cale Theilen, director of the store at South 14th and Willis streets.

United, too, adheres to the “fix it on the spot” philosophy, Theilen said. That even applies to situations where the customer is clearly at fault—like dropping a large jar of mayonnaise on the floor and breaking it.

“If anyone drops anything, we just give them another one and go on our way,” Theilen said.

As owner of two XStream Auto Clean locations in Abilene, Tom Brown knows a thing or two about customer service. His efforts were rewarded last fall when his business was the recipient of one of the two Torch Awards given by the BBB.

According to the BBB, “the award is a way of honoring outstanding companies that go above and beyond the normal in ethical conduct toward their customers, suppliers, employees and the communities they serve.”

XStream Auto Clean follows the “Fish Philosophy,” named for the work ethic and practices at the famed Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. Pike Place employees seem to have so much fun at their work that a training video, “The FISH! Philosophy,” was developed by Enterprise Media.

Basically, the “fish philosophy” includes four precepts: play, make their (customers) day, be there (for the customer), and choose your attitude. Brown said the “fish philosophy” is posted in the workplace and is stressed at training sessions.

Brown adds to that a unique philosophy when it comes to customer complaints about service or quality of the car wash—he doesn’t call them complaints.

“Our view is they are not complaints, they are opportunities,” Brown said.

Brown believes most customers don’t want to call about something they’re unhappy about, whether the employees missed a spot or the process took longer than expected. But he welcomes comments—good and bad—from his customers.

He has found that a way to keep a good relationship with customers is to encourage comments and then to actually listen to what the person is saying.

“Don’t be defensive,” he advises. “See this as a growth opportunity.”

Brown’s philosophy also includes apologizing to the customer and offering something to soothe any bad feelings, such as a free do-over.

Troy Bennett obviously knows something about customer service. He has owned Freeway Motors at 2489 S. Danville since 1982. Many people would expect used car dealers to hear constant complaints. But not Bennett.

His philosophy is to eliminate any reason for complaints before putting the car on the lot. Bennett services his own vehicles and makes sure they are in tip-top shape before putting a “for sale” sign on them.

“That’s the best way to do it,” Bennett said. “Good preparation—you can’t beat that.”

As a result, Bennett has been at the same location for 29 years and has developed such a good reputation that his business comes mainly through word of mouth and from generations of the same families.

Another ingredient in a successful recipe for customer service is having a local presence, says Jason Gebhart, director of operations for Suddenlink Communications. Suddenlink, which provides cable, internet, phone, and security services, has an office in Abilene at 902 S. Clack St.

Customers can drop in or they can call. Customer services calls are routed to specialists at a 24/7 call center in Lubbock. Even so, “Lubbock is pretty local,” Gebhart said.

Gebhart said customer service is taken seriously at Suddenlink, “from the CEO on down.” Nowadays, customers have plenty of other options for all the services offered by Suddenlink, so keeping good relations with customers is imperative.

Customers phoning the call center will hear a brief automated message that will direct them to the proper technician, Gebhart said. Most often, that person will be able to handle the situation.

“They try to resolve it right there,” Gebhart said.

The same thing goes for customers walking into the local office. They’ll notice that the first person they talk to most likely can handle the issue. In most cases, they won’t be shuffled from one person to the next.

“We train our employees and try to empower them to handle customer complaints,” Gebhart said.

Gebhart said Suddenlink uses customer surveys to identify issues and fix them. The effort paid off when J.D. Power and Associates named Suddenlink the most improved company in its category, Gebhart said.

But what happens when all the best efforts and best intentions aren’t enough to satisfy a customer who feels slighted or cheated? Sometimes those issues end up in court, but there is another process that could avoid a lawsuit—mediation.

About 10 years ago, the BBB and the Duncum Center for Conflict Resolution, located on the Abilene Christian University campus, partnered to form the West Texas Mediation Center. The center’s mission is simple: to make available a low-cost dispute resolution process for small claims between area businesses and their customers.

The BBB’s Abel said mediation is suggested when conciliation fails. Sometimes there are legitimate positions on both sides that just can’t be resolved through talking and negotiating between the two parties. The beauty of mediation, Abel noted, is that the process doesn’t end with a winner and a loser like with a lawsuit.

“Neither side gets everything they want,” Abel said. “Each side gets something they want.”

Joe L. “Joey” Cope is executive director of the Duncum Center and Jerry Strader is the “mediator-in-residence” for the West Texas Mediation Center.

Cope explained that when the West Texas Mediation Center opened in 2002, members of the local bar association were contacted and a number of them volunteered to help with mediations.

All cases mediated at the center come through the Better Business Bureau and are conducted for a small fee. Cope and Abel both said they would like to see more disputes resolved through the mediation process.

“We don’t see as many cases as we would have imagined,” Cope said, with five or six being mediated each year.

However, that may be a good thing, he said. The BBB uses basic mediation techniques, so many cases are resolved at that level, rather than proceeding to mediation, Cope said.

The mediation process is voluntary and no legal advice is given. The mediator, usually Strader, helps the opposing parties negotiate a settlement.

“He doesn’t say, ‘this is what you ought to do,’” Cope said.

Cope said mediation cases come from a variety of business types but that more come from construction and remodeling issues than any other.

The center also handles some arbitration cases, including Lemon Law cases involving new car issues. With arbitration, the case is heard by one or more arbitrators. The arbitrator, or the panel, makes a decision in the case, unlike mediation where agreements are voluntary and made exclusively by the parties involved.

An advantage of both mediation and arbitration as opposed to a legal case is confidentiality. Cases settled in court are a matter of public record and may be publicized. Mediation and arbitration are private transactions.

Going through a mediation or arbitration process allows both sides to speak their mind and to be heard. Cope said sometimes that’s all the aggrieved party wants.

“The other side finally heard my story” is a common reaction, Cope said.

Also, a simple explanation that caused the problem may surface during mediation that didn’t come up before. For example, Cope said, a contractor who didn’t show up for work may have a legitimate reason, like his wife had an emergency appendectomy. If the contractor didn’t mention that, the customer had no way of knowing.

“People have an opportunity to be understood,” Cope said.

Hopefully, Cope said, the process will lead to an understanding and a healing that will allow the parties to do business in the future.

For seniors

agencies and services available for the elderly:
South Shore Elder Services: 781-848- 3910, 800-AGE-INFO. TDD 781-356-1992. El der abuse hotline: 800-922-2275. 159 Bay State  Drive, Braintree.  sselder.org.  Full range of home  care services and information and referral.
Old Colony Elderly Services: 508-584- 1561, TDD 508-587-0280. 1-800-242-0246.  144 Main St., PO Box 4469, Brockton.    old colonyelderservices.org. Full range of home care  services and information and referral.

HESSCO Elder Services: 781-784-4944, 1- 800-462-5221. 1 Merchant St., Sharon. hess co.org. Full range of home care services and in formation and referral.
Old Colony Planning Council: 508-583- 1833. 70 School St., Brockton, ocpcrpa.org.  Nursing home ombudsman program, other se nior services.

Executive Office of Elder Affairs: 617-727- 7750, 800-AGE-INFO (800-243-4636) or  TDD/TTY 800-872-0166. mass.gov/elder. For  information and referral, 800ageinfo.com.cq Fifth  floor, 1 Ashburton Place, Boston. State agency  with information about many state and local el der services programs. To report elder abuse  and neglect, call  1-800-922-2275.
  Social Security: Call 800-772-1213, ssa.gov.  For Boston regional Web page: ssa.gov/boston/  For Quincy office, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday  through Friday, 1250 Hancock St., Suite 210N,  tollfree 866-593-4392.
Medicare:  For general questions or Medicare  Part B claims, bills or  preventive services, 800- MEDICARE or 800-633-4227. Call your plan  provider with questions about Medicare Part D  prescription drugs. On the Web: medicare.gov  has handbook. To compare prescription drug  plans, go to medicare.gov/pdphome.asp. To  compare nursing homes, go to medi care.gov/NHCompare/home.asp.


OTHER PROGRAMS
Adult Family Care Programs: Two state  programs pay family caregivers of older people  with limited incomes. Spouses and legal  guardians are not be paid, but adult children and  others qualify. For information about Enhanced  Adult Family Care, a MassHealth program, or the  Caring Homes program, call Christina Gardiner  at Old Colony Elderly Services at 508-584-1561,  ext. 230. MassHealth Customer Service is 800- 841-2900 or TTY 800-497-4648.
   Alzheimer’s Disease Association of  Massachusetts: 617-868-6718. HELP line is  800-272-3900. 311 Arsenal St., Watertown  02472. On the Web: alz.org/manh. Private non profit. Advocacy and education for patients and  families. Information and referral to local support  groups. Wanderers Alert program for lost pa tients.

Alzheimer’s Disease Support groups: Go  to alz.org/manh or call 800-272-3900. Monthly  support meetings, information, speakers and re ferrals in many local communities.    Support  groups for people   younger than 65 with early  stage and early onset Alzheimer’s and their care givers: call 617-868-6718, ext. 2049. Local  groups: Braintree, Duxbury, Hanson, Plymouth,  Quincy, Sharon, Stoughton, Weymouth.
   AARP: 866-448-3621, TDD 617-305-0404. 1  Beacon St., Suite 2301, Boston 02108.  aarp.org/states/ma/  Membership, advocacy  group for people 50 and older.
Attorney General’s Elder Consumer  Line: 888-AG-ELDER (888-243-5337), Mon days to Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Consumer is sues, telemarketing scams, the Lemon Law and  home care agencies. Consumer Hotline: 617- 727-8400
Greater Boston Guild for the Blind: 617- 323-5111. 1980 Centre St., West Roxbury.  jgb.org/programs_gbgb.asp. Services for people  with vision loss.

Department of Public Health Patient  Care/ Elder Abuse Advocacy Office: 800- 462-5540 or 617-753-8000, press 2 to report  poor patient care or abuse. Emergency line:  617-363-0755.
   Elderline: 800-AGE-INFO. 800-243-4636. In formation on elder issues and programs, includ ing health insurance. 800ageinfo.com.
Greater Boston Elderly Legal Services:  617-371-1234; 617-603-1776,  197 Friend St.,  Boston. Medicare advocacy and appeals.  gbls.org.
Health Care for All: Consumer Helpline 800- 272-4232. 30 Winter St., Suite 10-10, Boston.  Advocacy for better health care services, multilin gual service. hcfama.org/.
   Homeowner Options for Massachusetts  Elders (HOME): 781-848-5200, 800-583- 5337, 150 Grossman Drive, 4th Floor, Braintree.  elderhomeowners.org. Homeowner protection,  counseling on reverse mortgages, refinancing.
Hospice and Palliative Care Federation  of Massachusetts: 781-255-7077. 800-962- 2973. 1420 Boston-Providence Highway, Suite  277, Norwood.  hospicefed.org.  Information on  hospice and palliative care statewide.

Manet Community Health Center: 617- 376-3000, 110 W. Squantum St., Quincy. 617- 471-8683, 1193 Sea St., Quincy. 617-471- 4715, 9 Bicknell St., Quincy. 617-376-2088,  Quincy Medical Center, 114 Whitwell St., Quincy.  781-925-4550, 180 George Washington Blvd.,  Hull.  manetchc.org.
    Medical family practice, services to Asian, His panic, uninsured elders.
   Massachusetts Assisted Living Facilities  Association: 781-622-5999.  massalfa.org.  Free resource guide of assisted living residences,  advice.

MASSPRO: 800-252-5533.  masspro.org.  Helpline on Medicare rights, investigates quality  of care complaints for nursing homes, home  health agencies, hospitals.
Massachusetts Association of Older  Americans: 617-426-0804. 19 Temple Place,  Boston. maoamass.org.  Advocacy for seniors  and those interested in aging issues.
Massachusetts Division of Insurance:  617-521-7794. Consumer services and informa tion help line, free consumer guide on long-term  care insurance, Medicare and HMOs.   www.state.ma.us/doi.
MassHealth (Massachusetts Division of  Medical Assistance): 800-841-2900.  mass.gov/masshealth.  Customer Service Center  for MassHealth (Medicaid) nursing home care,  family caregivers program.
    MassHealth Enrollment Center in  Taunton: 888-665-9993. 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Monday through Friday. Help with individual cas es for South Shore area. Services available in  Spanish and Portuguese.
Massachusetts Senior Care Association:  617-558-0202. 2310 Washington St., Suite 300,  Newton Lower Falls.  maseniorcare.org. Long- term care guides with skilled nursing homes, as sisted living facilities and home health services.

Mass Home Care: 781-272-7177. 24 Third  Ave., Burlington. masshomecare.org. Advoacy  for home care services for seniors.

Massachusetts Senior Action Council:  617-442-3330. 565 Warren St., Boston.  masssenioraction.org. Advocacy for elders, par ticularly health care.  
Medicare Advocacy Project, Greater  Boston Legal Services: Handles Medicare  problems and appeals of premature hospital dis charges and denials of payment by Medicare.  Also helps people with issues on Prescription  Advantage and private Medicare supplemental  health insurance. 800-323-3205, ext. 1776 or  617-603-1776. In Plymouth County, call South  Coastal Counties Legal Services at 508-586- 2110 or 800-244-8393.

Mayflower Retired Senior Volunteer Pro gram Inc. (RSVP): Plymouth County, 508- 746-7787 or 877-746-7787. 36 Cordage Park  Circle, #220, Plymouth. mayflowerrsvp.org.     Mo bilizes volunteers of all ages, primarily 55 and  older, to work with agencies on literacy issues  and health and human services.
   Norfolk County RSVP:  781-329-5728. 614  High St., Dedham.
Elder Service Plan PACE: 617-533-2400.  Lisa Yorra. Harbor Health, 1135 Morton Street,
Mattapan. elderserviceplan.org.  Services to help  elders stay in their own homes.
 

The RIDE: MBTA transportation program for el igible people with disabilities. 617-222-5123 or  800-533-6282 and TTD 617-222-5415 for ap plications.  mbta.com.

Prescription Advantage: 800-243-4636  (800-AGE-INFO) press 2. TDD/TTY at 877-610- 0241. PO Box 15153, Worcester. ageinfo.com.  State prescription drug insurance plan.  

SHINE (Serving Health Information  Needs of Elders):  800-243-4636 (800-AGE- INFO) and press option 3, TTY 800-872-0166.  seniorconnection.org/shine.htm. Information and  counseling about health insurance options, in cluding Prescription Advantage and Medicare.
      South Coastal Counties Legal Services  Inc.  Brockton office, 800-244-8393 or 508- 586-2110. 231 Main St., Suite 201, Brockton.  Provides free legal aid to low-income and elderly  people.
South Shore Center for the Blind:  617- 471-1781. Social support group, 9:30 a.m.-1:30  p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays at the Fore River  Clubhouse. Peg O’Connor, director.
MAB Community Services: 617-738-5110  or 800-852-3029. Services for some elders with  visual impairments. Greater Boston Office, 200  Ivy Street, Brookline.  mabcommunity.org.cq Helps  visually impaired elders; Braille service; recording  studio to produce talking books.
Mass. Commission for the Blind:  800- 392-6450. mass.gov/mcb. State services for  people with visual difficulties.
 

Fairly Legal’ TV show connected locally

He watched friends go through divorces.

Michael Sardo, a Bronx native, saw amiable relationships degrade to highly contentious in some cases, but in others, couples remained amiable throughout.

“Why the difference?” he asked.

Mediation — as opposed to litigation.

He spoke with lawyers and mediators, consulting with the Wayne County Center for Dispute Settlement’s boss, Tara Fishler, mediator and board member of the New York State Dispute Resolution Association in Albany, largest and oldest statewide organization of mediators.

Based on her input, Sardo created plot lines and ideas for Fairly Legal, the first network production to feature mediation as a central theme, which aired on USA Network Jan. 20 at 10 p.m.

The series focuses on Kate Reed, played by Sarah Shahi, a lawyer fed up with the system, who turns mediator. Using her legal skills, street smarts and her unique approach to conflict, she finds middle ground for a variety of clients, from large companies to a cupcake maker.

“We live in such a litigious society,” Sardo said. “We have to get back to talking to each other.”

Not that he opposes lawyers or courts.

“There are certain things the courts are wonderful for,” he said.

The show sheds a positive light on mediation and arbitration, bringing a heightened awareness of the service, available to anyone.

“Mediation in a lot of areas has become more effective than litigation,” said Earl Greene, program director for the Wayne County Center for Dispute Settlement. “It’s affordable and accessible to the county.”

Greene saw the first show.

“There’s always a Hollywood element that overstates,” he said, but for the most part thought mediation was portrayed accurately and in a positive light.

At the Wayne County Center for Dispute Settlement in Lyons, mediation services are offered for neighbor disputes, lemon law, landlord/tenant, divorces and agricultural mediation. Small criminal and misdemeanor cases are also handled.

The Wayne County Center also offers the only anger management program in the county that is accessible to the community-at-large.

“I think the whole idea of getting people to think and work through a process is a good thing,” Greene said.

Often times, people disputing aren’t able to hear what the other person is saying before they sit down together during mediation with a neutral third person, in a structured environment and work together to meet a goal. In most cases, judges would rather have people work out their differences, than go through the courts.

Last year, close to 400 cases were mediated through the Dispute Center. But, Green is looking at that number increasing with the promotion of mediation through the USA Network series.

“The show helps people understand there’s a different way to work through their problems or disputes,” he said.

The Center for Dispute Settlement grew out of the conflict and unrest of the 1960s and ’70s, when schools were integrated by busing students. Since then, conflict resolution services to eliminate violence and resolve disputes have been offered at the center, where talk, conversation and mediation are investments in families, schools, workplaces and communities.

Fairly Legal connected locally

 He watched friends go through divorces.

Michael Sardo, a Bronx native, saw amiable relationships degrade to highly contentious in some cases, but in others, couples remained amiable throughout.

“Why the difference?” he asked.

Mediation — as opposed to litigation.

He spoke with lawyers and mediators, consulting with the Wayne County Center for Dispute Settlement’s boss, Tara Fishler, mediator and board member of the New York State Dispute Resolution Association in Albany, largest and oldest statewide organization of mediators.

Based on her input, Sardo created plot lines and ideas for Fairly Legal, the first network production to feature mediation as a central theme, which aired on USA Network Jan. 20 at 10 p.m.

The series focuses on Kate Reed, played by Sarah Shahi, a lawyer fed up with the system, who turns mediator. Using her legal skills, street smarts and her unique approach to conflict, she finds middle ground for a variety of clients, from large companies to a cupcake maker.

“We live in such a litigious society,” Sardo said. “We have to get back to talking to each other.”

Not that he opposes lawyers or courts.

“There are certain things the courts are wonderful for,” he said.

The show sheds a positive light on mediation and arbitration, bringing a heightened awareness of the service, available to anyone.

“Mediation in a lot of areas has become more effective than litigation,” said Earl Greene, program director for the Wayne County Center for Dispute Settlement. “It’s affordable and accessible to the county.”

Greene saw the first show.

“There’s always a Hollywood element that overstates,” he said, but for the most part thought mediation was portrayed accurately and in a positive light.

At the Wayne County Center for Dispute Settlement in Lyons, mediation services are offered for neighbor disputes, lemon law, landlord/tenant, divorces and agricultural mediation. Small criminal and misdemeanor cases are also handled.

The Wayne County Center also offers the only anger management program in the county that is accessible to the community-at-large.

“I think the whole idea of getting people to think and work through a process is a good thing,” Greene said.

Often times, people disputing aren’t able to hear what the other person is saying before they sit down together during mediation with a neutral third person, in a structured environment and work together to meet a goal. In most cases, judges would rather have people work out their differences, than go through the courts.

Last year, close to 400 cases were mediated through the Dispute Center. But, Green is looking at that number increasing with the promotion of mediation through the USA Network series.

“The show helps people understand there’s a different way to work through their problems or disputes,” he said.

The Center for Dispute Settlement grew out of the conflict and unrest of the 1960s and 70s, when schools were integrated by busing students. Since then, conflict resolution services to eliminate violence and resolve disputes have been offered at the center, where talk, conversation and mediation are investments in families, schools, workplaces and communities.
 

CONSUMER ALERT: GUIDEBOOK HELPS CONSUMERS UNDERSTAND LEMON LAW

CONSUMER ALERT: GUIDEBOOK HELPS CONSUMERS UNDERSTAND LEMON LAW

LITTLE ROCK — Everyone loves a new car. And it’s not just that new-car smell. New cars are usually more dependable than used cars. And new cars have manufacturer’s warranty protection.
On the relatively rare occasion that problems arise, the defect is repaired by the dealer at no cost to the buyer. But, occasionally a new […]

Read the full story

Guidebook helps consumers through Lemon Law process

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — Everyone loves a new car. And it’s not just that new-car smell. New cars are usually more dependable than used cars. And new cars have manufacturer’s warranty protection.

On the relatively rare occasion that problems arise, the defect is repaired by the dealer at no cost to the buyer. But, occasionally a new car suffers defect after defect and even free warranty repairs cannot dispel the disappointed buyer’s conclusion that he has purchased a lemon.

The buyer may lose faith that the car will ever meet the expectations of trouble-free motoring that come with the high price of a new car. In these unfortunate instances, however, the Arkansas New Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance Act – the state’s Lemon Law – may provide relief.

“The state’s Lemon Law is designed to protect Arkansans when they’ve purchased a vehicle that truly does prove to be a lemon,” said Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. “When repeated repair attempts have not solved the problems, the lemon law gives the buyer a refund or replacement.”

Accordingly, McDaniel issued this consumer alert today to notify Arkansas consumers that his office has this week posted online the updated Consumer’s Guide to the Arkansas Lemon Law. The guide can be found at www.ArkansasAG.gov.

State Lemon Laws provide consumers with rights and procedures to obtain a refund or a replacement vehicle if a new vehicle develops a significant problem that can’t be repaired after a certain number of repair attempts.
The Consumer’s Guide – a plain-language explanation of the lemon law process – helps consumers work their way through the process, which is designed to allow a consumer to assert and complete a lemon law claim without the necessity of hiring a lawyer. The process is much faster than going to court, and there is no charge to the consumer.

The Lemon Law covers most motor vehicles that are titled and registered in Arkansas for the vehicle’s quality assurance period. The quality assurance period extends for 24 months from the date of the original delivery of the vehicle OR for the first 24,000 miles of operation – whichever is longer.

Though most vehicles are covered, the Lemon Law does not cover mopeds, motorcycles or the living quarters of motor homes. Neither does it cover most vehicles weighing more than 13,000 pounds nor vehicles that have been substantially altered after its initial sale from the dealer.

There are four ways spelled out in the law to determine if a vehicle is considered a lemon. The Consumer’s Guide details these; in general, a vehicle will be found to be a lemon if there have been repeated unsuccessful attempts to repair nonconformities which substantially impair the use, value, or safety of the vehicle, or if these nonconformities have caused the vehicle to be in the shop for extended periods of time.

When consumers notice nonconformities after purchasing vehicles, it is important that they report them to the dealer or manufacturer immediately. Keeping repair receipts and a complete record of contacts with the dealer and manufacturer is also a must.

If a buyer believes that his car is a lemon, he starts the lemon law process by sending a “demand letter” to the manufacturer and a copy to the Independent Dispute Settlement Program as well. A Sample Lemon Law Demand Letter is provided in the Consumer’s Guide. The Independent Dispute Settlement Program will provide the buyer with an opportunity to present his claim in an informal setting to an independent panel of arbitrators in Arkansas and receive a decision with 40 days of the receipt of the demand letter.

The handbook explains the process and provides tips to the buyer. Of course, if the buyer wishes to retain a lawyer to help him pursue the lemon law claim, he is free to do so.

If you have more questions or concerns, please write the Consumer Protection Division, Office of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, 323 Center Street, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201-2610 or call (501) 682-2341 or toll-free (800) 482-8982.

(Source: Arkansas Attorney General’s Office)

Christie's posturing is transparent

Gov. Chris Christie has no business telling Washington what to do about money (“Christie tells D.C.,” Feb. 11). He continues to lay off Americans while:

Allowing tax cheats to hire the illegal aliens we have in this state under the table;

Raising the taxes of average Americans, while giving the wealthy a tax break;

Canceling tunnel projects, when the Americans he put out of work can’t find a job;

Whining about the pay teachers make, or that the pension fund is in trouble, when he (like our last governors) didn’t put anything into the fund to keep it solvent.

Christie is just like all our other politicians. He’s a loud-mouthed buffoon, whining about what others do, when the only thing he does is give $100,000 jobs to his friends while telling us to ante up.

Remember the one about why people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones — because it makes them look like pompous fools?

Christie, like a lot of other politicians, is a lemon — and under New Jersey’s Lemon Law, this taxpayer wants his money back.

Edward H. Decker

MANCHESTER

Couple sues lawyers over adopted baby's medical problems

Photo by Sergio Roberto Bichara

A Brooklyn, New York couple is trying to sue their adoption lawyers for failing to disclose their adopted son’s serious medical problems when they adopted him in August of 2006. According to the New York Post, the baby was adopted originally adopted from his biological mother in Indiana and taken to New York, where the adoptive couple lives. The couple claims that a CAT scan given to the baby 3 months after they received him, revealed that the baby had significant issues and neurological defects. They say they were never told about his medical problems.

The lawsuit contends that had they been made aware of the babies defects, they would have never proceeded with the adoption. The adopted boy is now 4 years old. His adoptive parents, Lynell and Victor Jeffrey say that they are only suing to cover the boy’s future medical expenses.

The original lawsuit was filed in Indiana, where the adoption took place, but the Indiana court reportedly threw the case out. Apparently there’s no a “lemon law” with adoption. The lawyers being sued have their own lawyer defending them, who has indicated that the case has no merit.

Consumer 10 Breaks Down Automotive Rumors

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Consumer 10’s Kurt Ludlow got to the bottom of three of the most common car myths.

One of the rumors involves whether thieves could steal cars by using vehicle identification
numbers to get duplicate keys through auto dealerships.

Auto dealer Rick Ricart from Ricart Automotive said that is false.

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Consumer
10

“You do need a VIN number but you also need to show proof of ownership of the vehicle – either
the title, registration – something with your name on it and the VIN number, and then
identification to prove that it is you before you get that second key cut,” Ricart said.

Another rumor involves purchasing gasoline.  There are some who believe that gas purchasers
who fail to press “clear” after refueling risk more charges appearing on their credit or debit
card.

As soon as a person hangs up the gas nozzle, the transaction is canceled.

A third rumor that Ludlow debunked is whether Ohio’s lemon law covers both new and used
vehicles.

“The lemon law only covers new cars,” Ricart said.  “If the same problem occurs three times
in the first year and can’t be repaired, you do have the ability to file for the Lemon Law with the
Ohio Attorney General, on new cars only.”

Consumer 10 puts shopping rumors to the test Monday at 11 p.m. on 10TV News HD.

©2011 by 10TV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.