CFA Award

At an annual awards event in Washington, D.C. June 16, 2004, the Consumer Federation of America presented the Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award to the National Consumer Law Center of Boston, MA, and to Rosemary Shahan, President of CARS. This prestigious award is widely recognized as the top award in the consumer movement.

Other award recipients were New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (Philip Hart Public Service Award), United States Representative Charles Rangel (Philip Hart Public Service Award) and David Fanning, Senior Producer of PBS' Frontline (Betty Furness Consumer Media Award).

The Consumer Federation of America stated in its brochure about the awards event:

Rosemary Shahan is [one of the] nation's leading advocates for vehicle safety and fair treatment of consumers at car dealerships. As President of California-based CARS, and founder of Motor Voters, Rosemary has invested twenty-five years of passion, hard work, and advocacy in making an immeasurable difference in safety and consumer rights and protections. She initiated California’s auto ‘lemon law’ to make manufacturers stand behind defective vehicles, leading to similar laws in all fifty states.

Her campaign for airbags covered all fronts, including lobbying Lee Iacocca to switch from opposing to supporting air bags. Her picket of one manufacturer for its low-ranked safety record led to a safety recall. Rosemary has been in the thick of fights ranging from stopping gag orders in lemon law case settlements, a media campaign to press for recall of “firebomb” pickups, exposure of “lemon laundering” of defective autos to unsuspecting used car buyers, and stopping a Senate attempt to preempt state auto salvage fraud laws.

Her most recent campaign is to win a Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights in California. As a consumer advocate who has single-handedly tackled widespread consumer abuses and frequently stopped them, Rosemary is especially deserving of the Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award.

The Consumer Federation of America, founded in 1968, is a national non-profit federation of more than 260 organizations from throughout the nation with a combined membership exceeding 50 million people. Rosemary has been elected to a third three-year term on the Board of Directors of CFA, where she has served as co-chair of CFA’s Committee on Housing and Transportation for over a decade.
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Buyer Beware! Auto dealers use
forced arbitration
to get away with cheating customers
Even when car dealers flagrantly violate consumer protection laws, you may not be able to get justice. That's because almost 100% of car dealers stick "forced arbitration" clauses into their contracts. If they cheat you, and you try to take them to court, they can just laugh at you. That's because they can get your case kicked into arbitration -- a secret, rigged process that favors big, corrupt lawbreakers. The dealer often gets to choose the arbitration firm, and even the arbitrator who hears your case. Unlike judges, arbitrators are perfectly free to ignore the law.

Dealers claim that arbitration is quick. But Jon Perz in San Diego had to wait over 8 years in "arbitration limbo" before he finally got justice, after Mossy Toyota sold him an unsafe car. CARS produced a short video exposing what happened. More than 1.3 million people have watched our video on YouTube:
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