Saturday, August 23, 2008

WHY MY LAWSUIT AGAINST ED MORSE HONDA IS IMPORTANT TO YOU

Some say that my lawsuit against Ed Morse Honda for slander and violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practice Act is just a squabble between two car dealers who will be airing their “dirty laundry” in public.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. I will prevail in court, and I have no doubt of this. How else can a jury possibly decide when they have all of the facts and understand how deceptive the dealer fee truly is? Most likely every juror has bought cars in Florida. Those who paid a dealer fee and didn’t know it until now will be furious. Those that saw the fee but thought it was like a state, federal, or local “official fee” will be angry when they learn the truth. Those few who understood what the dealer fee was and were forced to pay it anyway, will be very happy to see that they can do something to end dealer fees.

There are two parts to my suit…slander and violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. The damages awarded me by the jury for slander will be donated to charity. When the dealer fee is found to be in violation of the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, it will be the end of the dealer fee in Florida. This is why my lawsuit is very important to you and every other Florida car buyer. This verdict will be worth tens of millions of dollars to Florida car buyers.

Below are my comments at the press conference on Wednesday, August 21, the date I filed the suit. And below that is my press release which got less coverage than it could have due to tropical storm Fay.

I'm announcing today the filing of a lawsuit against Ed Morse Honda for slander and deceptive trade practices. I will donate any damages that I am awarded to local charities.
The lawsuit stems from a radio ad this dealership has been airing alleging that I am hiding dealer fees in my prices
I know he's targeting my dealership in the ad because I'm the only dealer in Palm Beach County, and nearly all of the state of Florida, who advertises on TV that I don't charge a dealer fee.
A dealer fee is pure profit, ranging from a couple of hundreds of dollars to sometimes $1,000, added on to the price of a car after the price is negotiated.
Most people don't know that it's not a tax -- they think it's a government mandated fee -- because it's on the sales agreement at the end by the taxes.
It is impossible to comparison shop for cars when a dealer fee is charged, because my price will look higher than my competitors because they add the fee on at the end after the price has been negotiated and the customer doesn't know it's there until they're signing the papers for the final sale.
I am suing for slander because the Ed Morse ad is false and attacks my reputation as an honest car dealer.
I have gone to great lengths to earn a reputation for honest dealing:
My dealership is built on the philosophy of Customers for Life. All of my employees must read this book and practice its concepts in dealing with our customers.
Any customer with a complaint or a compliment can pick up one of four red phones connected directly to my cell phone.
I have mounted a statewide campaign to outlaw the dealer fee because I feel it's unfair to consumers. I testified before the Florida Senate Commerce Committee and have addressed this issue with the Florida Automobile Dealers' Association
I write a weekly newspaper column on how to buy and care for a car and answer consumer's questions every morning on SeaView Radio and on my hour long call in radio show every Saturday morning from 9- 10 a.m. on Seaview 960
I traveled throughout the county addressing groups on ”How to Buy a Car without getting Ripped Off," exposing all of the tricks of the trade practiced in most car dealerships.
The suit also claims that Ed Morse Honda is violating the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act because he does not disclose his $699 dealer fee as required by law.
If the court agrees with me that the charging of dealer fees is a violation of this law, it will be great news for car buyers throughout Florida.
They will be able to comparison shop accurately and will pay less to the car dealer without the dealer fee. These savings could amount to tens of millions of dollars.
Earl Stewart Toyota of North Palm Beach
Sues Ed Morse Honda for slander and deceptive trade practices

Suit stems from radio ad alleging hiding of dealer fee

Stewart pledges to donate anticipated damages to local charity

A lawsuit has been filed by attorneys representing Earl Stewart Toyota of North Palm Beach seeking an immediate injunction against the airing of a radio ad by Ed Morse Honda claiming that the car dealer hides a dealer fee in the sales price of his cars. The lawsuit also seeks damages against Ed Morse Honda for slander against Earl Stewart Toyota of North Palm Beach and for damages resulting from Ed Morse Honda’s alleged violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Earl Stewart will donate to charity all of the jury’s award for his damages by Ed Morse Honda for slander. Stewart is also bringing the suit on behalf of Florida car buyers. A declaration finding the use of the dealer fee to be a deceptive trade practice could amount to tens of millions of dollars in savings to consumers buying cars in the state.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday, August 21 in Palm Beach County’s 15th Judicial Court by Michael Weeks of the Ward, Damon and Posner law firm on behalf of Earl Stewart Toyota of North Palm Beach.

The lawsuit alleges that Earl Stewart Toyota of North Palm Beach has suffered damages due to lost car sales resulting from an Ed Morse Honda radio ad which claims to expose a local car dealer who claims he doesn’t charge a dealer fee but actually “packs the equivalent of a dealer fee …in your price…where you can’t see it.” Since Earl Stewart Toyota of North Palm Beach is the only car dealer with television advertising in Palm Beach County stating that he does not charge a dealer fee, the ad specifically targeted the dealership and is slanderous, the suit states. Damages are sought because Earl Stewart has, according to the suit, “built its reputation and focuses much of its advertising upon the strength of Earl Stewart Toyota’s honesty with its customers and integrity in the automobile industry.”

The lawsuit alleges that Ed Morse Honda is in violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act because the dealership charges a $699 dealer fee on all of its car sales, but does not disclose it in price negotiations, in violation of the act. The act allows for “anyone aggrieved by violation of the Act to obtain a declaratory judgment” against the party committing the violation.

The suit claims that not disclosing the dealer fee in advertisements or price stickers “results in a deceptive environment for consumers and hurts dealers who disclose all of their profit in the prices they quote.” The result is that consumers cannot fairly comparison shop for cars from dealer to dealer if one price includes all of the dealer’s profit while another does not and has the extra profit added on as a dealer fee after the price is quoted. The suit claims that this practice is “an obvious evasion of Florida Law” and “flies in the face of the purpose of the Florida Deceptive Trade Practices Act.”

Earl Stewart is known as an outspoken advocate for eliminating the dealer fee in Florida and this year testified for its elimination before the Florida Senate Commerce Committee. This spring he initiated a state-wide internet campaign to urge consumers to contact their state legislators to pass legislation outlawing the dealer fee.

Earl Stewart Toyota of North Palm Beach is a four-time recipient of The President’s Award, the highest award Toyota gives for customer satisfaction. The dealership is the only Toyota dealership from Vero Beach to Ft. Lauderdale to win the award this year. Stewart also is a featured speaker at numerous civic groups, clubs and public libraries on the topic of “How to buy a car without getting ripped off.” He also answers consumers’ questions on a live hour-long radio show broadcast each Saturday at 9 a.m. on Seaview 960 AM and writes a weekly consumer article for Hometown News. These articles are part of his blog site offering advice to consumers on buying and servicing cars, found at
http://www.earlstewartoncars.com/. Stewart said he plans to donate any damages received from the lawsuit to a local non-profit organization.

Earl Stewart Toyota of North Palm Beach sells more hybrid vehicles than any other car dealership in America, outside of California where strict emission laws boost hybrid sales. He is the number one volume Toyota dealer in Palm Beach County.

You can read the entire lawsuit, by clicking on http://www.earlstewart.com/.

38 comments:

  1. Just another way Earl gets free publicity. Here is why Earl will not win this case. There isn't one. Ed Morse Honda did not mention his name in the ad. You can not win a lawsuit based on "assumption". Earl is assuming Ed is talking about his dealership because he is the only dealership that doesn't charge dealer fees. Earl, it's called freedom of speach. It's not slander if he did not use your name. Ed Morse Honda has the right to express his opinion just like you do. Just one of the wonderful things about living in this great country.

    The dealer fee is LEGAL right now so explain to me how this falls under the Deceptive and Unfair trade act. Be careful how you answer. If you say it's because Ed Morse Honda does not disclose this to their customers it is going to be considered slander because it is impossible for you to say that since you are not involved in any of their car sales. The fee is posted on the window sticker and on the buyers order so it is not hidden. Plus the customer has paid the out the door price that they negotiated so this isn't a problem.

    Earl, at the end of the day it doesn't matter if the customer pays a fee or not because they paid the price for the vehicle they wanted to pay. Do you want to know how I know this? I will tell you. Because if the customer was not happy with the bottom line price they would have got up and walked out of the dealership. You know it and I know it. Customers will not buy a car if they are not happy with the price. If they do then they are stupid. Not many stupid people out there buying cars. Oh I know you want us all to believe that customers are little lambs heading to slaughter when they enter a car dealership, but those days are gone. See you remember those days and used to crush customers when they came into your dealership. Now the customer is far to educated when it comes to car purchasing you had to change your tactices. This dealer fee tactic is just to get you free publicity. This makes since. You don't have to spend much money on ads because you are getting it for free which means more money in your pocket.

    This is why you want the dealer fee to go away. PRICE FIXING. Which is illegal by the way. There will no longer be any wiggle room so to speak and the price will be the price at your store and every other Toyota dealership. Then what happens is that customer no longer will travel to shop around. They will be forced to go to the local Toyota dealership. This gives you instant retention.

    Don't buy if folks. Ask for the price you want to pay, make sure it is out the door price and buy the car. You shouldn't care if the dealership adds a furniture charge as long as you are paying the price you want to pay for the car.

    Earl gets on this blog and talks about other car dealers and their practices without having any real evidence that any car dealership is doing any thing wrong. This is all just his opinion. So why is he so upset when another dealer does the same thing against him? Because Earl is a big baby and his ego is massive. He feels he is untouchable and feels he is the only good dealer out there. Over the times I have read his blog, Earl has claimed that dealers mislead customers. How does he know this if he is not there when the customer buys the car? Earl doesn't know what the sales person told the customer. Earl has stated that Nitrogen is wrong to sell to customers. He is only saying this because HE doesn't believe in Nitrogen. Because he doesn't believe in it doesn't mean he is RIGHT.

    Folks be careful of a man like Earl Stewart. He some times reminds me of Jim Jones. Remember Jim Jones, the cult leader that stood for good over evil then convinced his followers to commit suicide. Sometimes the wolf does come in sheeps clothing. This is the case with Earl Stewart. Earl really doesn't care about the customer, he cares about making as much money as possible using any means needed to make it happen. Pushing the attention to others while he picks your pocket.

    Earl is one of those people who claims he found God but steals from the collection plate. He tells you to follow him to the promise land but sends you to HELL.

    Keep one eye open when you sleep around this guy. If you expose your weak spot he will find it and exploit it.

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  2. I was going to buy a car on ebay from your dealership once. We flew down and the car was hosed and broken. Thanks a lot.

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  3. Dear Anonymous ["Just another way Earl gets free publicity"],

    You obviously aren't a lawyer (or perhaps a bad one). The law does NOT require the slanderer mention the name of the one he slanders. It requires that he leave "no reasonable doubt" as to his victim. I'm the only dealer in Florida on TV advertising against the dealer fee and Ed Morse's attack was aimed at that dealer. How dumb do you think Juries are?

    The fact that the dealer fee DOES violate the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act is the whole point of my lawsuit. You obviously haven't read the Act, but you can in my lawsuit which is depicted on www.EarlStewart.com. The judge and jury will decide if the dealer fee is illegal.

    More and more people are "getting up and walking out the door" when they get the dealer fee "suprise" and that's why I've risen to become the largest volume car dealer in Palm Beach County. Outselling Ed Morse Honda, I might add, by about 100 cars a month.

    Your definition of "price fixing" seems to be not to give the customer a fixed price that he can easily compare with competitors of the dealer who quotes the price. I plead guilty to that kind of price fixing. I give an honest "fixed" price with no dealer fee surprise when the customer gets ready to sign the contract. The customer can take my out-the-door "fixed" price and compare it with my competition...as long as he doesn't get tricked with competitor's dealer fees.

    Earl has said Nitrogen is worthless as far as increasing gas mileage because CONSUMERS REPORTS proved that in a year long study involving all makes of tires. What is your basis for disbelieving that study. I also proved it with my own study using cars in my rental company. Since you think I'm such a profit mongering capitalist, why wouldn't I put Nitrogen in my Toyotas because I provide free tires to all my owners if they have all of their factory recommended maintenance done with me. I Nitrogen did maintain inflation better than air, it would prolong tire life and save me a "ton of money".

    Don't you know that your refusal to identify yourself on this blog, call me on the phone, call me on my weekly talk show [SeaView AM 960 9-10 AM every Saturday} or drop by my dealership and face me in person exposes you as a phony. You obviously have some personal axe to grind with me and are using this blog to grind it.

    Come out of the closet and debate me out in the open, like a man.

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  4. Dear "Ebay" Anonymous,

    I sincerely apologize that the car that you "flew in" to purchase had a problem. If you will contact me, give me your name, and the details of your intended purchase, I will refund your cost of your airline transporation to my dealership.

    I hope you know that I am the only dealer that I know of who offers a 100% 7-day UNCONDITIONAL money-back guarantee on all the used cars I sell. Had you inadvertantly accepted the car, we would have refunded all your money when the problem arose. We also fix anything in the first 30 days that goes wrong with our used cars.

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  5. Sen. Barack Obama,(dem) ILAugust 23, 2008 5:29 PM

    I've heard the Ed Morse ad. I knew right away she was talking about Earl Stewart Toyota. I laughed at the concept of "hiding the fee in the price". That kind of advertising, like attack politics, targets the lowest common denominator. Earl Stewart is change we can believe in!

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  6. Dear Barack,

    I can't tell you how pleased I am to receive your endorsement.

    I hope you will forgive me having to refuse your offer to be your running mate. I know there are many candidates out there that can do as well as I could.

    I must pursue my quest to end the nefarious dealer fee in Florida. I'm sure you can identify with why it's time for "change" in the way car dealers do business.

    With that said, please feel free to check back with me in 2012 [assuming you win in 2008].

    I wish you the best next week in Denver and please do me one favor...keep Hillary's comments to a minimum [a word to the wise].

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  7. I would like to congratulate the long and precise comment about Ed Morse being victim of this insane man that only seeks free publicity and marketing strategy of setting his dealership beyond suspicion easing his way to reach deeper the customer’s pocket.

    Don’t you worry my friend justice will prevail.

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  8. sen. hillary R. clinton (dem), NYAugust 24, 2008 3:30 PM

    I heard that, Earl! That's okay - Bill tells me that all the time :)

    Earl you have my unwavering support. Give 'em hell!

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  9. Dear Hillary,

    Thanks for being a good sport. I know that Barry knew I was just kidding too. I know that you must be a little miffed that Barry chose a car salesman's son for a running mate. This makes me wonder how much support I can expect from him in making the dealer fee illegal.

    In case you're wondering why I'm referring to Barack as "Barry", this is what we called him back when he attended Harvard. He was a freshman and one of my students when I taught Business Ethics 101.

    You'll enjoy this little anecdote...He was very upset when I gave him a "C" in the course. He would have earned a "B" had he gotten one more question right on his final exam. He came to me after the test and argued with me about a True-False question that he missed..."Most rich white Americans are evil".

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  10. Earl,

    You are an idiot. You will not win the lawsuit you will fail. The dealer fee is not against the law and you know it. Again just trying to get free publicity.

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  11. Dear "Anonymous calling me a liar",

    Before you make too big a fool of yourself, click on www.EarlStewart.com where you can read my lawsuit which proves that the dealer fee is in violation of the current Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice Act.

    For example, check out page 10, paragraphs 17 and 18. The Act specifically says that a car dealer may NOT "charge a customer for any predelivery service required by the manufacturer, distributor, or importer for which the dealer is reimbursed by the manufacturer, distributor or importer".

    Dealers not only have printed on their buyer's orders that their "fee" is for "inspecting, cleaning, and adjusting vehicles" but man name their fee "pre-delivery service".

    If you are in the retail car business which I strongly suspect you are, you must know that all car dealers are reimbursed by their manufacturers for "inspecting, cleaning, and adjusting vehicles" before they are delivered. This is commonly referred to as PDI [pre-delivery inspection] and the reimbursement runs well over $100, depending on the vehicle. We dealers actually make a nice profit above what it costs us to prepare the car for delvery. To fool the customer into thinking we don't get paid for this and pass the charge along to the customer is not just "double-dipping" it's ILLEGAL.

    If that's not illegal, neither is robbery.

    If you want to debate the facts with me, that's OK, but don't waste the time of my blog readers by calling me names when you haven't even read the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act and don't know what you're talking about.

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  12. Your specifically sueing Ed Morse Delray Toyota, which does not have pre-delivery inspection on the vehicles and pass it off as a dealer fee. It specifically states dealer fee, which right now is legal. So before you go and try to fool your customers into thinking that this is what all dealers have it has, do YOUR home work. You might be right that there are some dealers that pass this fee off as an inspection fee, but by in large the dealers do not do this. They pass it off for what it is and that is a dealer fee. Regardless where the money goes or what they use it for at the end of the day most dealers claim it as a dealer fee. So again you will not win based on this factor. If you thought you could win based on this factor you have done this years ago against any dealership doing it. So I go back to my point. You are using this for free publicity. Call it what it is. You are a slick sales men using a gimmick to capture more of the market. So you can debate this with me, but you will lose. Using one of your lines "don't bring a knife to a gun fight" you will lose. I am smarter, more money, and more time.

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  13. Dear Anonymous with "more money and more time",

    Since you have so much time, read Ed Morse's vehicle buyer's order adjacent to his $699 dealer fee. You will see this: "The charge represents costs and profits to the dealer for items such as inspecting, cleaning, and adjusting vehicles....".

    PS: You better take a closer look at that "gun"...it's not loaded!

    I suggest that, since you have so much money, you loan Ed a few bucks. He's going to need it to defend this lawsuit and then reimburse me for my legal expenses and costs when I win a verdict under the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

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  14. Mr. Stewart,

    It will never happen. You have a better chance of seeing God than any money from Ed.

    Again, you keep avoiding the real situation here. More free publicity.

    Don't you have anything better to do with your time? Are you that lonely at home? Is your wife not taking care of her wifely duties that you are so backed up you have to take out your aggression on other things? You know if your wife isn't taking care of business at home, a man with your money can find a date I am sure.

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  15. Earl is backed up because his wife does not want to touch him. Do you blame her. His wife is very nice looking and Earl and old and saggy. He has gray hair everywhere and he is all wrinkled. No woman would want to be with someone like that, not even for money.

    By the way Earl. If you wife gets to bored send her my way. I would be more than happy to help her out.

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  16. Attention: Blog Master

    Please don't remove the above two posting making crude and vulgar reference about my wife and me.

    These type of barbaric, personal attacks can be very helpful to me in winning support for my position. They could also prove to be useful at the jury trial.

    Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
  17. thank you for leaving everything on your blog and not deleting them or changing them to satisfy you or your mis-guided mission.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Earl,

    The longer I have been reading your blogs and listening to your radio show I just see that you really don't care and you have no boundries. You attack every dealer, every car company, and every individual you can.

    You know these people will not share a forum with you so basically you can preach your message with no rebutle and hopefully make the people that listen to you and read your blog believe what you say and no one else.

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  19. Dear Earl Stewart,

    First, I am not the one who talked about you wife. But since you are collecting information posted in your blog for the Lawsuit, I will give you some good material.

    1. The plaintiff advocates his right to call the Law as: Dealer Fee Law is a Bad Law accusing the Legislators passing a Law he calls “License to Steal”, furthermore he clearly refers the Law as: “The Dealer Fee, Bestiality, and Tallahassee Politics”.

    2. He wants to confuse the Law when he says: “In practice dealers do not include the dealer fee in the price of the car that is quoted to the customer. It isn’t included in Internet quotes and also not in verbal quotes over the telephone or in person”. The Law says the dealer have to include a dealer fee in the advertised media. An internet quote is a price quote requested by a customer and it is subjected to negotiation. The Internet Price Negotiation it is not an ADVERTISEMENT.

    3. I have in writing the following documentation on EARL STEWART quotes and response to my Internet quote: I complained about your offer and this was your answer I received in writing from your dealership: yeah for some reason our quick quote response system usually sends a quote based on the most basic way you can get a vehicle equipped – Followed by your posted answer: SOUTHEAST TOYOTA IS A PRIVATE OWNED TOYOTA DISTRIBUTORSHIP WHICH ORDERS CARS FROM JAPAN THAT EXCLUDE A FEW EQUIPMENT CONFIGURATIONS. BECAUSE WE SELL CARS OVER THE INTERNET OUTSIDE OF THE SOUTHEAST, WE QUOTE PRICES ON ALL EQUIPMENT CONFIGURATIONS AND DISCLOSE THAT IT MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE IN THE SOUTHEAST. IF A CUSTOMER WERE WILLING TO WAIT A LONG TIME, WE COULD OBTAIN ANY EQUIPMENT CONFIGURATION MADE BY TOYOTA.

    Both statements: Camry LE is manufactured in America. Is clear your attempt of Bait and Switch your customers.

    CHAPTER I--FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
    SUBCHAPTER B--GUIDES AND TRADE PRACTICE RULES
    § 238.0 Bait advertising defined.
    Bait advertising is an alluring but insincere offer to sell a product or service which the advertiser in truth does not intend or want to sell. Its purpose is to switch consumers from buying the advertised merchandise, in order to sell something else, usually at a higher price or on a basis more advantageous to the advertiser. The primary aim of a bait advertisement is to obtain leads as to persons interested in buying merchandise of the type so advertised. No act or practice should be engaged in by an advertiser to discourage the purchase of the advertised merchandise as part of a bait scheme to sell other merchandise.

    About your False and Misleading Statement: The camry le doesn't come with leather as an option but we can have the factory leather installed which i have included in the price quote.

    My response to your Email: This is clearly unfair and deceptive misrepresentation of the product you are trying to sell. You CANNOT install FACTORY LEATHER, unless you ship the vehicle back to the factory plant to install the leather, which you cannot do it. Why are you offering me something you know you will not do it?

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 45, 46.
    Source: 61 FR 51583, Oct. 3, 1996, unless otherwise noted.
    § 24.0 Scope and purpose of guides.
    It is unfair or deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, the kind, grade, quality, quantity, material content, thickness, finish, serviceability, durability, price, origin, size, weight, ease of cleaning, construction, manufacture, processing, distribution, or any other material aspect of an industry product.


    Earl Stewart, I will make sure that somehow I will get involved in this Lawsuit…

    ReplyDelete
  20. one completely astonished dudeAugust 25, 2008 9:53 PM

    Earl - you are dealing with some serious freaks. God bless you!

    For one man to set off such over-the-top crazy talk in another man, he must have exposed a very, very sensitive nerve. The truth usually does things like that.

    It would be really neat to get a psychologists take on this. You, Earl, are a very public cat and you tell it like it is - completely exposed. Then you have someone (or maybe a couple) of people who really seem to hate you because you represent a threat to their way of life. Whatever normal filters a sane man typically employs when dealing with his own anger in a civilized world completely vanishes under the stealthy protection of "blog commentor". The rage and Dr. Evil-ish-ness of the man's online personality is really creepy, but I bet doctors and other scholars would find it fascinating.

    I'm serious. Whoever is writing all this, PLEASE take a second for some personal introspection. You really, really, really are coming off as having a personality disorder. Now I'm not saying you DO have a personality disorder - there is no way I could possibly know that. It just sounds like you're a bit off, mentally speaking. You keep letting Earl torment you and every time you take the bait you drift a little further away from what would be considered "cool" by most folks.

    On the other hand, one could make the argument for "getting it all out". You know - catharsis. Howl at the moon! scream until you cry. It won't make Earl stop, but it may be theraputic. Hey - Primal Scream Therapy worked for some in the 70's!

    Earl, my man, go easy on them; you know this ain't a fair fight.

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  21. So, there are only two sides of the coin. You either agree with Earl or you have a personality disorder, Paranoid, Schizoid, Schizotypal, Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic, Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive-Compulsive. What else?

    It is very nice to see the face of Earl and his followers. Hitler would totally agree with your position and so the Chinese authorities we all witness in the surroundings of Beijing Olympics, even the Iranian President Ahmadinejad would share your vision of personality disorder.

    You may have freedom of speech as long as you don’t actually use it against us. In special, if you are here to reveal the core of our makerting strategy to the public.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Crazy Man Googled "Personality Disorder". Good Crazy Man, good.

    ReplyDelete
  23. one completely astonished dudeAugust 26, 2008 1:50 AM

    So far, you have presented only one other side to this coin, brother. Earl's got his and your side has been (and I'm being honest - not trying to hurt your feelings, SWEAR!) well, twisted in it's delivery. Since you are pretty obsessed right now, you probably don't see it. It's a matter of degree. I get your point: you think Earl is a con man, publicity hound, yada, yada, yada. Great. Point made. Problem is you deliver it all in a way that I (and many people I've shared this with - like "Idi Amin") see as "raving". It's not good to come across like that when you're trying to get your point across. See, when you're as wrapped up in this as much as you are, you become blind to it; you think you sound perfectly normal even though your audience (who may be just you, me, Earl, and Idi Amin) is doing a lot of eye-rolling and Seinfeld-ish "oookaaaays".

    Relax, man. It's no secret you are very, very angry. Life's too short to become unhealthfully fixated on your local car dealer!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Dear Anonymous with "good material for my lawsuit",

    I will respond in "ALL CAPS" to differentiate my responses to your allegations.

    First, I am not the one who talked about you wife. But since you are collecting information posted in your blog for the Lawsuit, I will give you some good material.

    IT'S A PLEASURE TO RESPOND TO SOMEONE WITH A REASONABLE OPPOSING OPINION. THANKS FOR ASSURING ME THAT YOU WERE NOT THE NEANDERTHAL WHO ATTACKED ME AND MY WIFE.

    1. The plaintiff advocates his right to call the Law as: Dealer Fee Law is a Bad Law accusing the Legislators passing a Law he calls “License to Steal”, furthermore he clearly refers the Law as: “The Dealer Fee, Bestiality, and Tallahassee Politics”.

    THE DEFENDANT STANDS BY HIS STATEMENT THAT THE DEALER FEE IS A "LICENSE TO STEAL". THIRTEEN STATES OUTLAW OR CAP THE DEALER FEE AND FLORIDA LAW ALLOWS IT. THESE OTHER STATES OBVIOUSLY AGREE WITH ME. MY ARTICLE REFERRING TO "BEASTIALITY" WAS SATIRICAL REFERRING TO THE FACT THAT TALLAHASSEE LEGISLATORS WERE UNABLE TO PASS A LAW MAKING BEASTIALITY ILLEGAL IN FLORIDA.

    2. He wants to confuse the Law when he says: “In practice dealers do not include the dealer fee in the price of the car that is quoted to the customer. It isn’t included in Internet quotes and also not in verbal quotes over the telephone or in person”. The Law says the dealer have to include a dealer fee in the advertised media. An internet quote is a price quote requested by a customer and it is subjected to negotiation. The Internet Price Negotiation it is not an ADVERTISEMENT.

    SECTION 501.976(16) OF THE FLORIDA UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES ACTS SAYS "ALL VEHICLE ADVERTISEMENTS MUST INCLUDE ALL FEES OR CHARGES THAT THE CUSTOMER MUST PAY EXCLUDING STATE AND LOCAL TAXES, TAGS, REGISTRATION FEES, AND TITLE FEES" UNDER THIS DEFINITION THIS INCLUDES THE PRICE PRESENTED IN MEDIA ADVERTISEMENTS, PRICES PAINTED ON WINDSHIELDS, PRICE ON MONRONEY AND DEALER STICKERS, AND PRICES QUOTED ON THE INTERNET.

    3. I have in writing the following documentation on EARL STEWART quotes and response to my Internet quote: I complained about your offer and this was your answer I received in writing from your dealership: yeah for some reason our quick quote response system usually sends a quote based on the most basic way you can get a vehicle equipped – Followed by your posted answer: SOUTHEAST TOYOTA IS A PRIVATE OWNED TOYOTA DISTRIBUTORSHIP WHICH ORDERS CARS FROM JAPAN THAT EXCLUDE A FEW EQUIPMENT CONFIGURATIONS. BECAUSE WE SELL CARS OVER THE INTERNET OUTSIDE OF THE SOUTHEAST, WE QUOTE PRICES ON ALL EQUIPMENT CONFIGURATIONS AND DISCLOSE THAT IT MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE IN THE SOUTHEAST. IF A CUSTOMER WERE WILLING TO WAIT A LONG TIME, WE COULD OBTAIN ANY EQUIPMENT CONFIGURATION MADE BY TOYOTA.

    Both statements: Camry LE is manufactured in America. Is clear your attempt of Bait and Switch your customers.

    CHAPTER I--FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
    SUBCHAPTER B--GUIDES AND TRADE PRACTICE RULES
    § 238.0 Bait advertising defined.
    Bait advertising is an alluring but insincere offer to sell a product or service which the advertiser in truth does not intend or want to sell. Its purpose is to switch consumers from buying the advertised merchandise, in order to sell something else, usually at a higher price or on a basis more advantageous to the advertiser. The primary aim of a bait advertisement is to obtain leads as to persons interested in buying merchandise of the type so advertised. No act or practice should be engaged in by an advertiser to discourage the purchase of the advertised merchandise as part of a bait scheme to sell other merchandise.

    TOYOTAS SOLD IN FLORIDA, GEORGIA, NORTH CAROLINA, SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA ALL COME THROUGH SET, AN INDEPENDENT DISTRIBUTOR THAT BUYS THEIR CARS FROM TOYOTA AND SELLS THEM TO ME AND ALL TOYOTA DEALERS IN THE SOUTHEAST USA. THEY DO NOT MAKE ALL ACCESSORY COMBINATIONS AVAILABLE TO US. WE SELL CARS ON THE INTERNET TO CUSTOMERS FROM OUTSIDE THE SOUTHEAST...AS FAR AWAY AS CALIFORNIA. WE CAN, AND DO, OBTAIN TOYOTAS WITH ACCESSORY CONFIGURATIONS OTHER THAN THOSE PROVIDED BY SET UPON REQUEST. THAT IS WHY WE QUOTE PRICES ON ALL ACCESSORY CONFIGURATIONS, BUT IT DOES TAKE US LONGER TO PROVIDE THE VEHICLE. THIS IS FULLY DISCLOSED, NOT IN FINE PRINT, ON OUR WEB QUOTES.


    About your False and Misleading Statement: The camry le doesn't come with leather as an option but we can have the factory leather installed which i have included in the price quote.

    My response to your Email: This is clearly unfair and deceptive misrepresentation of the product you are trying to sell. You CANNOT install FACTORY LEATHER, unless you ship the vehicle back to the factory plant to install the leather, which you cannot do it. Why are you offering me something you know you will not do it?

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 45, 46.
    Source: 61 FR 51583, Oct. 3, 1996, unless otherwise noted.
    § 24.0 Scope and purpose of guides.
    It is unfair or deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, the kind, grade, quality, quantity, material content, thickness, finish, serviceability, durability, price, origin, size, weight, ease of cleaning, construction, manufacture, processing, distribution, or any other material aspect of an industry product.

    IF OUR INTERNET SALESMAN DID SAY THAT, AND I DOUBT IT, I APOLOGIZE BECAUSE HE WAS MISTAKEN. HE SHOULD HAVE SAID THAT WE COULD INSTALL LEATHER FROM A LOCAL INSTALLER WHO IS CERTIFIED BY SOUTHEAST TOYOTA. THIS IS A QUALITY LEATHER INSTALLATION FULLY WARANTIED BY SOUTHEAST TOYOTA.


    Earl Stewart, I will make sure that somehow I will get involved in this Lawsuit…

    MR. ANONYMOUS, IF YOU WANT TO GET INVOLVED IN THIS LAWSUIT YOU SHOULD BE ADVISED THAT THE JUDGE WON'T ALLOW YOU TO TESTIFY WEARING A "HOOD".

    ReplyDelete
  25. Earl,

    I would like you to answer a question for me if you would. Dealers have enough sterotypes about them without you going on about how bad the dealerships are. Why aren't you exposing the after market shops that thrive on stealing dealership business? You have Midas brake shops advertising brake jobs for $80.00 yet you leave with a $500.00 bill because they tell you your calipers are no good or you need wheel cylinders. Ask you Master techs how often this really happens on Toyotas. You have transmission shops saying you need a transmission and advertise for $500.00 when the parts cost more then that. This is just a couple of examples, but if you are so big on bait and switch why aren't you exposing these guys instead of giving the Dealerships more of a black eye. Please don't respond by going into the dealers deserve their reputations and dealerships are bad and you are good. I would really like to know what the motive is in bashing other car dealers. The aftermarket out numbers the car dealers 100 to 1 and the good car dealers have fought for years to try and change the reputation that they may or may not have deserved at one point. They certainly don't need a car dealer out there adding fuel to the fire. Again, please don't answer my question with a bunch of dealer/owner bashing. Please just answer it straight.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Dear Anonymous who asks that I criticize independent service department, not dealers,

    First let me say that all independent auto service departments are not bad any more than all car dealer service departments are bad. I know some independent service departments that are honest and do quality work. I agree that some do take advantage of their customers just like some dealer service departments.

    My criticism is not directed toward dealers or independents; It's directed toward unfair and deceptive practices by some dealers and some independents.

    For example, the service department version of the "dealer fee" is the "sundry supply fee" or "Shop Supplies fee" or "hazardous waste disposal fee" or just plain "miscellaneous fee". Most dealers and independents charge this. It's unfair and devious because all of a business's costs should be included in the selling price of their product or service...not tacked onto the end of the invoice as a suprise when you pay your bill at the cashier.

    I say the independent that does this is wrong just like I say the dealer that does this is wrong.

    The independents have every right to be in business and I don't know what you mean by them "stealing" business from the dealers. Most customer don't allow themselves to be "stolen". They stop doing business with a company for a reason...work quality, unethical dealings, discourteous treatment, uncompetitive pricing, location, etc.

    I don't complain about independents stealing work from my service department. My service business is thriving and growing by "leaps and bounds". I doubled the size of my service department 5years ago and have already outgrown it. I'm in the middle of another expansion to double its size again.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Well, this is kinda what I thought. The end result of your answer is all about you. There had a certain type of me, me, me in it. Earl, I said that the independents steal from the dealerships because the dealerships put the independents in business. And I will agree that it was because of unfair and unetical acts by the dealerships. However, this has changed over the last 20 years and I hope you would agree. NOT everyone has changed but by in large the majority of dealerships have changed. You one man fight against the dealerships is not helping the cause it is hurting it. You make a claim that you don't bash all dealers only the ones that charge shop supplies and dealer fees. Well according to you they all do it so that must mean you bash them all. If I walk into a dealership and I am told that the price to change my oil is $30.00, why should I care if their is a shop supply charge in the price or not. If I walk into a dealership and I am told that the price I need to write a check for is $20,000.00 why should I care how the dealership comes up with that figure. If at the end of the day the price I want is the price I pay then I really don't care how the dealership comes up with the price. If the price is not what I want then I will walk out. I have been doing business like this for years. I obviously can not tell you what to do, but if you are trying to teach the customer how to buy a car and service a car then you should include the bad practices of the independents as well. Like CARMAX. Everyone thinks Carmax is the place the sell your car. They only want the cherry cars, nothing else. They don't tell you that. It makes you feel that they want every car. You should talk about that. Midas that scams a customer on a brake job. Don't you think that this is just as important to tell customer about? I think you use this blog only to warn customer of bad dealers, because you are a dealer and you want to scare customers away from the dealer they do business with to come to yours. I don't know. If you were actually out for the customer you would expose ALL the bad guys not just dealers.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Dear Anonymous "enemy of independent repair shops",

    I don't know where you got the idea that car dealers' bad service was what "put independents into business". Independent auto service companies have been around at least as long as dealers. I'll agree that they have done better because dealers took their customers for granted, priced their services too high and didn't treat their customers very well either. But it also had a lot to do with convenience and location. It still does. There was a time when a lot of car dealers would refuse to perform warranty work on a car unless that customer bought their car from them. Some dealers still favor customers who bought their cars from them.

    If you think that car dealership service departments have changed a lot in the last 20 years, call the BBB and ask them who has the highest amount of complaints among all service companies.

    If you don't think most dealers charge a "shop supplies" fee [or the same thing by many other names], name me one that doesn't. Do the same thing for dealer fees. Who besides Mullinax Ford and Earl Stewart Toyota do you know that doesn't charge a dealer fee.

    I guess you "just don't get it" about what's so bad about these kinds of "fees". You say you don't care that the fee is added to the price you were quoted. That's the whole point. There can be only one reason to add this fee in AFTER the price is quoted...that is to sneak it past the customer. If that were not true, you tell me why the dealer just doesn't incude his "fees" in the price he quotes the customer.

    I DARE YOU TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION IN AN HONEST STRAIGHT FORWARD MANNER!

    All products and services are supposed to have all the company's costs and profits built into the price of the product or service they sell. It is nonsensical to try and justify adding a cost or a profit after the fact...meaning after you have quoted your customer the price.

    What would you say if the cashier in Best Buy added a $350 "store fee" onto the price of the $3,495 plasma HD TV that said $3,495 on the price tag and the newspaper ad?

    I DARE YOU TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION HONESTLY TOO!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Earl,
    I never said I was the hater of independents. You said that so does that mean you are slandering me or is that just an opinion you are sharing with others?

    Your head is so far up you butt that you don't answer the questions and everything turns to the fees. I will answer it honestly, as I have in the last two blogs. If someone quotes you an out the door price and you pay that price then what difference does it make how you get to the price. I will try to explain it to you again. If you tell me that a Camry is $20,000.00 out the door and I agree that $20,000.00 it the price I want to pay and I write you a check for $20,000.00 I could care less what you do as a business person to arrive at $20,000.00. Same goes for the shop fee. If I am told that I am going to pay $30.00 for an oil change and I OK it and I write you a check for $30.00, why would I care if you charge be $30.00 labor or $30.00 in oil or $30.00 in shop supplies. At the end of the day I agreed to $30.00 for an oil change. I hope you get it this time. You seem a little slow or is it you try so hard to make your point about the fee that you don't hear any other argument.

    Independents existed after the dealership put them in business. I agree that it was due to the mistreatment by the dealers. Those days are gone. Make your customers believe what you want but this is true.

    Next time you in best buy, look at your receipt. You buy a TV for $3500.00 and it shows you the break down of how you got there.

    Lastly, Sawgrass Ford does not charge a dealer fee and they did it long before you did it. Ever hear one of his commercials. He points out that he doesnt charge a fee, he doesnt go around bashing the other Ford dealers like you do.

    ReplyDelete
  30. BEST OF THE BEST

    By Earl Stewart


    The Dealer Fee, Bestiality, and Tallahassee Politics. The absurdity of Florida’s legislature

    The present situation which can best be described as “political premeditated gridlock”. Let me explain. When a politician doesn’t want a bill to become law...

    I am regularly featured in a very positive light by the media is because of a "VAST RIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY" orchestrated by me.

    Lawyers, car dealers, and politicians have something in common. Car dealers rank among the most vilified businesses and professions.

    I would be less than honest if I didn’t confess that I’m benefiting from the positive publicity I get by opposing the dealer fee.

    If you want me to "admit" that I try to make my business as profitable as possible, I confess. My overall average profit for vehicles is probably above the profit per vehicle of most dealers.

    Sometimes the most effective response is no response.

    Thanks for believing I'm a "genius".


    The only negative comments I've received from real car customers on this
    blog I've addressed and resolved.

    If our Internet Salesman did say that, and I doubt it, I apologize because he was mistaken.

    I sincerely apologize for the bad experience you had with my salesman.

    My sales manager made a poor judgement call and made a decision to ask the customer to bear the brunt of his mistake.

    CAN YOU READ IN BETWEEN THE LINES?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Most of your car come with Toyoguard Plus Protection Group-XY70 $699, isn't that another kind of dealer fee bundle?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Dear Anonymous "ToyoGuard" allegation,

    You are wrong, sir. Most of my cars do NOT have ToyoGuard. In fact, I order NONE of my cars with ToyoGuard.

    For the edification of other readers of this blog, ToyoGuard is a paint sealant-fabric coat-glass etch-roadside service combination accessory package installed at the port in Jacksonville by Southeast Toyota, SET. SET is the independent wholesale distributor for all Toyotas sold in the Southeast USA.

    I order all of my Toyotas without ToyoGuard because I don't think its a good value for my customers. I belive its way overpriced. Dealer cost after holdback is just $200 and the retail price is $699. Because I dealer trade cars when I don't have a car in stock that a customer wants, I do end up with cars having ToyoGuard, but there's nothing I can do about that. Virtually all other Toyota dealers order their cars with ToyoGuard. Sales people are paid an extra commission on every car they sell with ToyoGuard, the dealer gets a big holdback kick-back on ToyoGuard, and there is huge mark-up in ToyoGuard. This makes it very profitable to SET, the salesman, and the dealer.

    With that said, as bad a value as ToyoGuard is, it at least has SOME VALUE. What value is the $699 dealer fee that Ed Morse ads to the quoted price of every car he sells...except, of course, to Ed Morse himself. It has lots of value to him because he doesn't pay the salesman any commission on that $699. The whole amount goes right into Ed's big fat wallet.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Earl Stewart

    It’s incredible how you are unable to answer a simple question about the Toyoguard. I told you once and I am saying it again: Earl Stewart Toyota is totally incapable of represent the outstanding Toyota brand. You should be selling BANANAS not Toyotas.

    Do you have to go that low to make up for your complete incompetence as a Toyota dealer? Look how you manipulated a simple question about Toyoguard: unjustified attack against Southeast Toyota and Delray Toyota.

    Southeast Toyota and its Toyota Dealers in South Florida share the same concept about you: unspeakable.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Dear Anonymous "ToyoGuard",

    I answered your eroneous allegations articulately and factually as all readers of my comments and your inane response will agree.

    You close your comments with "Southeast Toyota and its Toyota Dealers in South Florida share the same concept about you: unspeakable."

    If Toyota's opinion of me is "unspeakable", why am I only one of four Toyota dealerships [13 others did not receive it] between Vero Beach and Key West they honored with the President's Award? No other dealer in Palm Beach, Martin, or St. Lucie Counties recevied it. This is the highest honor Toyota can bestow on a dealer.

    You are obviously employed by a South Florida Toyota dealer. When was the last time you sold a car to a referral from an SET associate? My dealership sells lots of these referrals because SET knows that their friends and family will be treated with integrity, courtesy, and respect at Earl Stewart Toyota.

    You may be right that most South Florida Toyota dealers "don't like me". But I'll tell you who DOES like me...lots of their former customers. That's why my sales are soaring while their sales are tanking.

    DEAL WITH IT

    ReplyDelete
  35. Dear Earl,

    I'm sure your online critics may find this interesting:

    http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/stjohns/anon-net.html

    http://blog.mlive.com/annarbornews/2008/08/company_files_defamation_lawsu.html

    http://www.lostremote.com/2008/06/29/newspaper-site-ordered-to-out-anonymous-posters/

    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/07/31/185227&from=rss

    ReplyDelete
  36. Dear I-Dog,

    Thanks very much for posting those Web links regarding the potential liability that "anonymous" Internet comments can have.

    I am aware of this and have on at least one occasion warned an anonymous poster that today's technology makes it very easy to find the PC from which an email is sent...even when it goes through a blog.

    I prefer not to exercise this option for 99.9% of the postings, even those that are personally insulting, profane, and vulgar. I ask the Blog Master to delete profane and vulgar language, but leave the balance of the posting for all to see. I have faith in the readers of this blog to recognize ignorance, bigotry, dishonesty, and hidden agendas when they see it. In fact, these kinds of posting actually further my points of view by revealing the kind of people who oppose me.

    I do draw the line on threats of violence and I have contacted the Sheriff's Department to notify the Blog Master of this blog to trace the sender of messages threatening me with physical violence. You can understand why I can't comment any further on this legal issue.

    In summary, "freedom of speach" is one of America's most precious rights, except when you infringe on another's rights. You aren't allowed to shout FIRE in a crowded theatre [Unless there's really a fire].

    ReplyDelete
  37. Earl, I wish you well in your pursuit. Mr Anonymous is a bitter, fee charging fool at a competitor, that is clear. I am in the Panhandle so it is unlikely i will be purchasing a car from you anytime soon, but I truly appreciate what you are attempting to do. I am in the Navy and I have seen dealership promise young servicemen and women great deals, only to find that car is 2-3 thousand more than the advertised price because of dealer ad ons and features like the guards, and etching that are not competitively priced. And some outrageous dealer fees too boot, one local dealership charge 899. If the total cost was lower then it doesn't matter but rarely is the OTD price negotiated as suggested, tax, title fees are determined from the difference in trade etc.
    so i doubt you can say i will by this car for 20G and that it you figure out how to break it down. NO they take you into a room, and play the 4part scam, and hold you hostage, that is the tactics i have seen, anything you can do to stop that, Amen brother. you got my vote. I wish you well in your businesses and your lawsuit.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Dear Paul,

    Thanks for your support.

    Unfortunately, there's a pattern of some car dealers exploiting our servicemen. There was recently a case in Texas, where the commanding office of a base issued an order banning anyone under his command to do business with certain dealers in that area.

    It's too bad that Bill McCollum, Florida's Attorney General, cannot or will not enforce the laws already on the books for deceptive dealer advertising. It's also too bad that newspapers, TV, and radio allow illegal ads to run. The media [the holy 4th estate] say it's "not their job" to enforce the law.

    You might want to consider talking to your commander about establishing a list of dealers that are "approved" and "not approved". This may pressure some of your local dealers to work harder to meet your commanders "code of ethics for car dealers" who are allowed to sell his servicemen cars.

    ReplyDelete

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