Skip to main content

There was an unexpected issue forwarding you to "Twitter" for authentication. Please try again later.
×

Replies sorted oldest to newest

They sell all sorts of vehicles in all manner of conditions.  I even recall seeing them on one of the popular “car flipping” shows on cable a while back.  I can’t recall which one though.

I haven’t dealt with them personally but I find myself looking through their inventory every few months to get a “feel” for the resale market.

About 2 years ago I looked at a partially complete Speedster at an Estate Auction in central California.  I didn’t buy it, mostly because it needed a LOT of work.  I saw it a few months later on that site...with an ENORMOUS mark up!

That doesn't seem like an honest business practice - not trimming sold or stale listing on their website. Unless they disclose that fact?

A distributed auto dialer system could be programmed to call their number and leave random inquiry phone calls to tie up their resources until they comply. The same can work with all the incoming scam and phishing type calls. Tie up there inbound calls so the miscreants have to field all the incoming calls. 

I talked to Carl at BHMC (Beverly Hills Motor Cars) just now, and he encouraged me to think of the 31 speedsters on his site as examples of options I could consider requesting, not as cars still available for sale. Their business now is assembling new cars on shortened VW pans, for which the basic spec is 1915cc, 4 wheel disk brakes, choice of color, all badges, starting at $37k, with a three month wait.


Last edited by Theron

I'm no lawyer and this isn't legal advice....

CA Law on Deceptive Trade Practices (Bus. & Prof. §17500 et seq)
"It is unlawful for any person, firm, corporation ... concerning any circumstance or matter of fact connected with ... which is untrue or misleading, and which is known, or which by the exercise of reasonable care should be known, to be untrue or misleading, ... any such statement as part of a plan or scheme with the intent not to sell that personal property or those services, professional or otherwise, so advertised at the price stated therein, or as so advertised. "

-=theron

I talked to Carl at BHMC (Beverly Hills Motor Cars) just now, and he encouraged me to think of the 31 speedsters on his site as examples of options I could consider requesting, not as cars still available for sale. Their business now is assembling new cars on shortened VW pans, for which the basic spec is 1915cc, 4 wheel disk brakes, choice of color, all badges, starting at $37k, with a three month wait.


I don't believe they are even "assembling new cars," they are just ordering new cars and reselling them to people who haven't done the due diligence and don't know they can order the car directly from a manufacturer for less money.

A few months ago as I was browsing old posts, I found one that included a link to a Bev Hills ad for a speedster for sale.  I think the post was at least three years old, and the discussion back then was about how Bev Hills keeps old posts of cars no longer available. And guess what -  the link STILL worked, and the car ad was still there as if the car was still for sale.  Hard to think anything other than intended deception.

There’s a lawyer here in Baltimore who recently specialized in suing used car dealers for fraud. I’ve seen about two-three dozen complaints so far, detailing about a dozen common violations of consumer contract, debt, and warranty law plus the inevitable forgeries. By the letter of the law and the ubiquitousness of these violations, this lawyer should get rich.

I plan to check these cases in a few months and see if they get settlements from the major offenders. My guess?

They’ll fight, lose in four years and slither off to bankruptcy court, all assets long since conveyed to relatives and ready to start over.

Fraud has been an excellent business plan for several decades now, as customers of everyone’s favorite South-eastern Speedster manufacturer are well aware.

I am not defending the actions of these businesses but I will say, I have no sympathy for self-inflicted wounds.

If you are a potential buyer of anything and you are too lazy to go past the first few posts shown to you on the Google Machine, you have to own some of the responsibility of your poor decisions.

This company is clearly selling cars or they would have went out of business renewing all the internet ads all the time. BHMC is all over the place and it doesn't take an IQ above a banana to see that they are high/marked-up. The "bait and switch" is as old as unsliced bread so if you fall for that, you may want to stop eating crayons.

These cars are worth what someone is willing to pay them and the new trend seems to be having someone else do any activity excluding sitting on the couch. So, if someone has the money and wants to blindly trust some unknown company to source their _______, I say...... There is one born every minute.

I seem to recall BAT even, had a car claiming to be real that sold for ridiculous money. It happens everywhere.

Well, of course I'd be the last to suggest that the stupid should not be fleeced by the greedy. My god, what kind of society would that lead to?

FWIW, the lawyer I'm thinking of—if my recollection is correct—blew an easy layup of a settlement for a client who was sexually assaulted by a city housing authority employee. Dozens were, and there was a class action with a global settlement. The guy got the complaint in plenty of time, all he had to do was send it to the Master by like August 1. He mailed it on August 3, something like that, then lied to the client about why she didn't get her $60,000.

Having covered that (the client called me), I remembered the lawyer's name. (Or at least I think I did...really I better double-check).

Anyway, people are complicated.

Update: Checked: different lawyer than the guy who messed up the other case.

Last edited by edsnova

Baltimore has some interesting characters working as lawyers. Years ago I decided to follow the theft case of a jack-leg "contractor" who terrorized neighborhoods and collapsed houses. One of his MOs was setting up brick pointing or exterior renovation project with scaffolding and collecting the first two-thirds of the contracted price before abandoning the job—a fairly common, low-risk way to make bank for little work.

He'd actually send his crew around town to steal the scaffolding. I thought it'd be illustrative of the justice system in Baltimore City to document the twists and turns of a theft case arising from that.

Dude had a lawyer—Stan Needleman—who'd gotten his daughter and son in law out of a drug jam a few years before. The kids both kept their law licenses, their cases were expunged, but I found the co-defendants. The jack-leg contractor was (apparently) the drug dealer at the tip of that organization (he also had a cop in his pocket who the feds busted).

Anyway, the lawyer was using this contractor dude to renovate his own house. Bailed him out with a cash bond after he blew off a subsequent court appearance. Possibly dispatched him to McAllen, TX to pick up 6 kilos and mule it back to Baltimore on a private jet to repay that debt. Also stashing cash payments in a basement safe and blowing off the IRS.

The contractor's right-hand man turned state's evidence so the contractor/drug dealer paid a Dead Man Inc. hitman to off him, and of course the Baltimore Police pinned the murder on a random clocker in the neighborhood.

So I wrote about that somewhat questionable prosecution, and the feds put a team on it, busting the lawyer for his tax crimes. That (eventually, after some years) got them to the contractor (now serving life) and hit man (50 years, I think). All this of course after at least two other witnesses perished under eyebrow-raising circumstances.

Baltimore is a special place, I tell ya.

We've also got a guy named Ken Ravenell who has for some years been under suspicion and more lately Federal indictment for aiding his drug-dealer clients in illegal ways. He had to leave the firm of the famous, politically-wired local judge who returned to private practice decades ago and (when not inappropriately Macking on my most comely co-workers) specializes in hi-buck corporate work and getting multi-million-dollar settlements in high-profile police brutality cases (if not actual drug money laundering, as the between-the-lines of the feds case suggests).

Ravenell still does cases in state court.

I always liked him, actually.

He's sure not the shadiest I've encountered.

It's literally why we have government. You let people rip each other off, pretty soon the guns come out. That was America from the immediate post-colonial era right through the late 1800s. That is also Baltimore City today, as regarding its third or fourth-largest industry.

A poorly- or under-regulated industry creates room for both the monopolist and the tort bar. If you don't quash fraud (and monopoly/monopsony) via civil and criminal cases directly, plaintiffs will be assembled for class actions. All this cause-effect used to be pretty well understood in a pretty bi-partisan way. Before I was born.

Since then, it's been a race to deregulate and defang would-be regulators of broad swaths of commerce while simultaneously over-regulating small and medium-sized business about matters that often don't matter much. By now you can have a successful lawsuit based on a paper, or technical, violation of the law without any underlying ill intent, while failing utterly to hold account those for whom mean fraud is the whole business model. We're so broken it's hard to know where to even start.

Example: At the very start of my journalism career I did a series of stories about a young dude, Mark Shapiro, who used investors' cash and minority business loans (he had a hispanic guy as a front) to buy mid-sized apartment complexes. Managed with any kind of care, it could have been a decent long-term business, but this guy's play was to milk them. He'd pocket the rents, do no repairs or maintenance, and also stiff his investors and the banks. Classic way to live like a king with no work required.

This was in the early 1990s. My boss had written about the same guy a few year's prior. Same scam, smaller scale. He'd declared bankruptcy and walked away, then started up again. This time he was doing federal mortgage fraud on a pretty grand scale (a few 10s of millions, anyway). I figured he was toast.

Nothing happened to him. He actually got me arrested for trespassing in one of his complexes.

Decades later, the feds finally put a case on him. By this time, he was selling shares in buildings he didn't even own. After 30 years living like a multi-millionaire, purely via fraud, he was sentenced to 85 years.

He's now free; Trump pardoned him last month along with his partner. "A White House news release praised the men as “model prisoners,” who had earned support and praise from other inmates."

What are the odds this guy is even now back doing exactly what he does? Why wouldn't he?

@edsnova posted:

It's literally why we have government. You let people rip each other off, pretty soon the guns come out. That was America from the immediate post-colonial era right through the late 1800s. That is also Baltimore City today, as regarding its third or fourth-largest industry.

Since then, it's been a race to deregulate and defang would-be regulators of broad swaths of commerce while simultaneously over-regulating small and medium-sized business about matters that often don't matter much. By now you can have a successful lawsuit based on a paper, or technical, violation of the law without any underlying ill intent, while failing utterly to hold account those for whom mean fraud is the whole business model. We're so broken it's hard to know where to even start.

I believe in the idea of government, insofar as it creates a level playing field, and protects the weakest members of society from the machinations of the strongest.

However... that's never how a fully-formed government works. I have a sense that this is why America was a laissez faire republic for the 120+ years Ed referenced. Sadly, government has always done a pretty crappy job of delivering on the promise of a level playing field, and has always ended up tilting the table toward wealth and power (in whatever form it takes).

I'm not advocating for a return to this post-revolutionary timocracy (as Plato put it in Republic), because it didn't really work, either. But I am saying that Ed's highlighted sentence pretty much sums up my opinion of the current state of affairs. Enormous and heavily regulated industries pay enormous bribes to politicians of all stripes, so that legislation and regulation will be written to favor them in perpetuity. The preceding sentence sums up the Illinois political system very neatly. The 33rd, 36th, 39th, and 40th governors of this great state all were convicted of crimes stemming from corruption while in office.

In 1837 a guy named John O’Sullivan wrote that "A strong and active democratic government, in the common sense of the term, is an evil, differing only in degree and mode of operation, and not in nature, from a strong despotism." He meant that government (regardless of the form) is a collection of power, and that as John Dalberg-Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely". The more power we concentrate in any single place, the greater the tendency for corruption will be.

As to the question regarding where we could start reforming this-- I'd like to see the decentralization of power in this country. We should absolutely reinstitute the kind of contribution limits we had until Citizen's United, but extend limits to include labor unions, and especially public labor unions.

We could drive the stake into the underbelly of the current (but not future) corrupt wealth/power cabal by instituting term limits. As long as we have an entire government consisting of people with even the barest chance of becoming rich and/or powerful in "public service", we're going to continue to have more of the same.

It's said that we get the government we deserve. But more accurately, we presently have the government that's been paid for.

Last edited by Stan Galat
@Stan Galat posted:

As to the question regarding where we could start reforming this-- I'd like to see the decentralization of power in this country. We should absolutely reinstitute the kind of contribution limits we had until Citizen's United, but extend limits to include labor unions, and especially public labor unions.

We could drive the stake into the underbelly of the current (but not future) corrupt wealth/power cabal by instituting term limits. As long as we have an entire government consisting of people with even the barest chance of becoming rich and/or powerful in "public service", we're going to continue to have more of the same.

It's said that we get the government we deserve. But more accurately, we presently have the government that's been paid for.

I agree with you especially on Citizens United(what a horrible thing that is!) and term limits, absolutely. Congress would be the best place to start, and I believe that's what you mean.

Being a product of a labor union, I am of course pro-union. The unions MADE the middle class, and have become slowly more scarce in the past 30-40 years. I was a member of a private union, so don't have any personal experience with public-employee unions.

I am against tax subsidies for big business. The most profitable businesses(great example: Verizon) have paid almost zero taxes for years. Why is that? That certainly is NOT a level playing field.

@DannyP, I've been a member of Steamfitters Local 353 for 35 years. I value a lot (but not all) of what unions bring to the table.

Regardless, they shouldn't be allowed to contribute to political candidates any more than corporations should. I have zero interest in the international using my dues to advance their own brand of politics (which varies widely from mine). Using them to buy legislation favorable to their preservation and advancement is the same thing as when corporations do it.

Public sector unions (which are employed by the government) should absolutely not be able to influence the people who hold the power of the public purse.

Last edited by Stan Galat

As we all know Unions were founded and had their purpose back in the US sweat shop days etc. I became a Teamster in 1980 when the Union still had a solid voice. As the years went by I took part in a few contract negotiations that quickly became a joke. Suddenly when Management and the Union local President returned from their liquid lunch we were told this is as good as it gets and another four years would slide by. Then we lost all 8 of our sick days, 5 holiday's ( with no monetary  compensation whatsoever) they combined seniority into a single list of both Drivers and Warehouse employees.... it all went to the crapper  so went on strike for 6 very cold winter weeks and the  end of that calamity we went back to work gaining nothing .  After a 20 year stint, my retirement in place ( 20 and out) I opted to move to PA where I drove big truck and was a driver trainer for a third party crooked Logistics company that hauled for K Mart and Target and became a member of the Longshoreman's Union . I thought I had seen it all with the under the table dealings until I was in that cesspool of a worthless Union.  Unions had their place in their inception for the good of the workforce, that was then .... My last 9 years of trucking I worked for "Me, Myself & I" as an Owner Operator. Insane Taxes, Road taxes, Fuel taxes, Logs, Reports and listening to people in broken English whine that owned me money. First thing I did when I retired after 47 years and 3M miles was to was to hand in my CDL, never to climb in an 18 wheeler again and thank God that I lived through that and didn't kill anyone ...

Last edited by Alan Merklin

It's too bad your union(s) were crappy, Alan.

Unions should STILL have a place today, they are overall a good thing. Even non-union companies have better benefits because of unions.

Unions have given you a 40 hr work week. Paid vacation. Overtime pay. Representation and a grievance process. Should I go on?

I spent 20 of my 29 years as a shop steward. I not only paid my dues I represented and defended my union brothers both right and wrong. I got zero compensation for this "extra". Management sometimes treated me improperly, sometimes my co-workers did the same. I didn't care, somebody needed to be the shop steward, and our shop was better for it. No lunches with management, that was verboten in our local.

You are your union. I was taught to step up and do my part if nobody else would by my Dad, a PEF shop steward for the NYS DOT. He was a highway engineer.

Communications Workers of America local 1120 for me.

When I first got into law enforcement we had a part-time union representative. He was a forty plus hour per week deputy and a one or two day per month unpaid union representative. Every three years when our contract came up for a vote the county's lawyers and county Supervisors TOLD our part-time union rep what the contract was and we could take it or leave it. If there was any pushback on our part they came back to the next meeting with a half dozen take-aways and no gives. The union spent the entire negotiation fighting to keep the take aways and in the end we voted on the contract the county first presented us with.

A good friend of mine was eventually voted in as union president and the first thing he did was work on a proposal to create a full-time union president position. Every deputy in the county gave up some of their own vacation hours to "donate" to him so he could be paid the full-time wages of a deputy while working for us. After it was approved he eld a union meeting and asked us to each give $35 per pay period to create a negotiations fund so he could hire a forensic accountant and a labor attorney to represent us at the next negotiation. The labor attorney polled all of the counties in our state and found that although we were the sixth largest county in the state we were almost the lowest in pay. The county always said they had no money but the forensic account found that the county had been squirreling money away for years and had more than enough to make our pay commensurate with other counties our size in terms of population and tax revenues.

After taking it on the chin for far too many years the first year under a full-time union president and with the help of a labor attorney we saw one of the largest three-year pay increases ever. And just so you don't think all we ever did was take we actually gave up quite a bit when the county got hit with a financial crisis about 12 years later. We took unpaid furlough time, paid more for our health insurance, reduced our sick leave, and paid more into our own retirements. And for anyone that thinks it's a free ride I'll tell you that on my last check 55% of it went for taxes, insurance, and retirement.

I too feel that there are good unions and bad unions. Some of our state's unions have almost bankrupted the state with the pay and benefits they demanded and the state caved in and give them.

Great stories, all (and I've got a few of my own). My situation is far more complicated as an owner/operator of a union signatory company for 25 years. For 25 years, my dues have been used to actively negotiate against my best interests as an owner.

However-- there's value in the promise of a union in the skilled trades. As Danny said, the pay and benefits of our entire industry (refrigeration service) have been greatly increased by the union, whether a tradesman is in the union or not. In our industry, the union is not so much for protection as it is to train a skilled workforce for the contractor. It works-- the guys in union shops are generally guys like me, who might have gone to college and done well, but chose (for one reason or another) to go out in the big world and hustle, rather than find themselves at State U.

That being said, the good benefits received by the worker are horribly expensive to the contractor (way above market rates for the benefits received). When I was a sole proprietor and opting out of the benefit package, I made serious hay by buying my own insurance and funding my own retirement plans to the maximum the law would allow. I got a lot more funding and coverage for my dollar than the union was chatging.

By contrast, as of 2015, that option is no longer available to me and I'm back in the fold, paying benefits on myself. I pay $7.50/hr (each) for health insurance for me and my workers. The pension contributions are nearing $20/hr. 40% of the gross wage is paid directly to the union for benefits, and the entire package is north of $65/hr, before I pay for unemployment, work comp, general liability, and truck insurance. It's before I pay for holidays and vacations, and before I buy a single tool, truck, or consumable. It's before we have a callback or job that goes south, for which I do not get paid.

We bill at $110/hr, and are making very, very little on time. Non-union shops with similar pay and benefit packages bill at about $5-10 hr less, but their fixed costs are at least 30% less than mine. The owners are generally fat, dumb, and happy, their workers generally fit the stereotype.

Regardless, I stay-- because a good portion of my pension is tied to staying, and because it's good for the guys working for me. A worker is worth his wages, and I eat of the fat of their labor-- so when lean times come, I make sure they are still busy and getting paid, even if it means I'm not. Doing business this way has made me prosperous (and wealthy by my own but not a lot of people's) definition of the word.

It is the liability exposure that will probably drive me into retirement-- there's a lot of liability and risk of accident or injury in this line of work, way more than I'm comfortable with anymore. I can very much relate to Alan's thanking the almighty that he didn't kill anyone. I'd very much like to get out of this being able to say the same thing. At this point, there's a lot to lose and less to gain than there ever has been before.

... but all of that is beside the point I was trying to make. A union is an organization, which can be good or bad, but which has power and an agenda-- just like a corporation.

Such collections of power should not be allowed to contribute unlimited (or even substantial) amounts of money to politicians, because they are expecting and receiving a return on their investment. Period.

This is not good governance, and puts the entire system in the pocket of one interest group or another. I'm in the business of being as independent as humanly possible. I believe this was the essence of what the founders (all of them, regardless of any other disagreements) had in common. I've lived in other places-- in places with military dictatorships and in places where the government touch was very, very light. Somewhere in the middle, where the forces of government actually protect, but do not harass people is the sweet-spot.

We're never going to get that with big government, bought and paid for with big-dollar contributions from huge organizations.

Freedom ain't free, fellas.

I was very "fortunate" to join an industry in decline straight out of college. I almost got into a union in my first job, but I got canned at the end of my probation so I was never officially a member.

In my last job, after our corporate overlords at Tribune Co. decreed that my newspaper would be shut down, we formed a bargaining unit to get severance. I'd been there 13 years by then. The offer started at two weeks. I ended up with six months.

In between, no union. After that first job ($24,000 a year in 1988) I started again making $18,500 in 1990. Full time work, plus more, but no overtime pay. At then end, in 2017, I earned the princely salary of $46,000, with three weeks vacation and some sick time. We even got a little overtime when the 2015 "uprising" happened and we did 12-20-hour riot shifts. Fortunately, I never found out how good or bad our medical insurance was.

I'm not bitter. I had a lot of fun in my work, and in three decades of investigating fraud, tracking down murderers and writing at length about complex public issues I never expected to earn the kind of middle-class, family-supporting paycheck that, say, an entry-level city government receptionist might rate.

Then again, had union representation been the norm instead of the exception, my expectations might have been more realistic.

Add Reply

Post Content
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×