The People's Lawyer Consumer News Alert
Center for Consumer Law
  Volume 142 Number 93

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The People’s Lawyer’s Tip of the Day

Going out of business sales may seem like golden opportunities to grab great deals. But before you head to one, here are a few things to keep in mind.  Click here for more.

Survey shows 61 percent of consumers ‘dread’ the holidays

Once upon a time, people looked forward to the Christmas holiday season, but a new survey from LendingTree shows financial pressures increasingly dampen that spirit. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations leads many people to overspend and the rest to worry they might overspend. In its annual Holiday Spending Survey, LendingTree found 61 percent of consumers admitted to dreading the holidays because of the extra spending and financial burden the season brings, causing loss of sleep, anxiety, and added debt. Spending tends to rise each year. This year, the survey found the average consumer will spend $602 on holiday gifts. That is, unless they have children under 18. In that case, the average spending total jumps to $850. In many cases, people are spending money they don’t have. One-third of consumers in the survey said they lose sleep worrying about how to pay for holiday expenses. Click here for more.

Your Money

Social Security and Medicare are social safety programs that Americans pay into during their working years through taxes. Both are designed to assist older Americans and distribute benefits to the disabled and their families. Social Security provides financial support, and Medicare is a health insurance program that helps cover doctor visits, hospital stays and other medical treatments. While the programs are separate, Social Security and Medicare are intertwined in several ways. Here, we look at the connections between the two programs as well as what to expect when applying for benefits. Click here for more.

For the Lawyers

Car dealer waived arbitration. A New jersey appeals court held that a car dealership waived its right to force arbitration of "hidden fee" claims based on a vehicle order contract due to its previously unsuccessful attempt to compel arbitration solely under a lease agreement. Nearly a year after losing an appellate decision on the validity of an arbitration clause in the lease agreement, the dealer failed to convince the two-judge panel to overturn a trial court ruling that the dealership had waived its right to compel arbitration of plaintiff’s claims based on an arbitration provision in his "motor vehicle retail order" agreement. "Defendant's failure to proffer all relevant documentation, despite its awareness of the MVRO arbitration provision from the onset, is the sort of piecemeal litigation strategy prohibited under Cole," and constitutes a waiver. The court also found that the dealer’s "after-the-fact assertion of arbitration under the MVRO clearly prejudiced" the plaintiff. The dealership's "initial motion to compel arbitration did not mention the MVRO's provision," and the business "waited over a year to assert the MVRO arbitration provision," the court said. James Trout v. Winner Ford, case number A-3732-18T1, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. Click here for more.

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