Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog

Beware: A Car Maker's Latest Ploy

Posted by Dev Sethi | Oct 08, 2015 | 0 Comments

Chrysler's attempt to buy its way out of future trouble, for cheap.

Car makers, always on the cutting edge of making what should be an easy and exciting purchase stressful and unpleasant, have come up with a new way to steal something away.  In this case, it's your 7th Amendment right.  

A quick Civics refresher -- The 7th Amendment of the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights that guarantees your right to a jury trial.  It's no small thing.

Enter Chrysler.  You go to the dealership to buy a new vehicle, and your salesman surprises you by offering an extra $200 in factory money as part of the "Employee Advantage - Friends Program."  You're no Chrysler employee, but you have hit it off with the dealership folks, so who are you to say no to $200?!

Beware -- the "Employee Advantage - Friends Program" document that you have to sign has teeny tiny print that strips you of meaningful rights you have if there is a problem with the vehicle.  What rights?  If you have an issue with the vehicle (and unless you live under a rock, you know that there can be real, safety and performance, problems with vehicles), you cannot bring a lawsuit. Instead, you promise to to through Chrysler's internal process and then arbitration.  

What's so bad about arbitration?  It's expensive and unpredictable.  It's a process totally controlled by Chrysler.  And it has none of the safeguards of a trial - no record, no judge, no appeal.

My advice -- do your research; negotiate the best, fair price you can on the vehicle you want; read everything you sign when you buy (good advice for anything you do); and if you see an arbitration agreement -- say no.  $200 is no where near enough to give up what could be significant rights; rights you won't know you need until you need them.

About the Author

Dev Sethi

Dev Sethi litigates and tries a wide-range of complex injury and death cases throughout Arizona. He has Martindale Hubbell's highest rating, AV, and he is listed in "Best Lawyers." Dev is also recognized as an Arizona Super Lawyer in the area of plaintiff's products liability litigation.Dev has been at the forefront of auto product defect litigation. He played a key role in uncovering the Goodyear Load Range E tire scandal and worked to hold Ford Motor Company responsible for the danger posed by their now notorious 15-passenger vans. Dev is currently representing families in product liability suits against the nation's largest corporations including General Motors, Ford, Pentair Pools and Invacare.

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