Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Web Site Mocking Home Developer Can Remain on the Internet

Raintree Homes Drops Lawsuit Against Pennsylvania Man

Angered by Company’s Business Practices

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A home developer has given up in its attempts to silence a fuming homeowner who had established a parody Web site mocking the company. Raintree Homes, Inc. withdrew its lawsuit today from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania rather than pursue its faulty arguments that its trademark had been violated and that it had been defamed.

Carl Silverstein, an information technologies professional, says he was duped by developer Gene Percudani, who runs Raintree, into paying $143,000 for a $90,000 home. Furious, Silverstein created a Web site and registered it under the domain names and – a takeoff of, Raintree’s Web site. On the parody site, which can be accessed by either domain name, Silverstein mimics Raintree’s Web site format, replacing Raintree’s promotional phrases with such things as “We Will Suck You Dry” and “We-Screw-You.”

The Public Citizen Litigation Group, a nonprofit public interest group that has a history of defending free speech on the Internet, represented Silverstein and argued that his Web site is protected by the First Amendment and that it does not violate trademark law.

Companies can claim trademark infringement only if their mark has been used in a misleading way to profit from consumer confusion. This had not occurred in this case – Silverstein’s site is non-commercial, has no advertising and sells no goods. It would be impossible for anyone visiting the site to believe it was Raintree’s site.

“Raintree’s arguments on trademark violation did not hold water, and numerous cases indicate the First Amendment protects Mr. Silverstein’s online speech,” said Paul Alan Levy, an attorney with Public Citizen. “The company would have lost this case if it had pursued it, so it was wise to pull out now.”

Raintree had also argued that Silverstein’s site was defamatory. Raintree became a public figure after media coverage of a class action lawsuit against the company and other consumer complaints. To show defamation of a public figure, Raintree would have to prove that Silverstein acted with malice and a reckless disregard for the truth, which it failed to do.

Public Citizen also worked on the case with Harrisburg, Pa., attorneys Robert E. Kelly Jr. and Marc A. Moyer of Kelly, Hoffman & Goduto. Public Citizen’s orginial brief is on the Web at

Main Site

Public Citizen "Gripe Site" Representation

Public Citizen
A "gripe site" is a web site established to criticize an institution such as a corporation, union, government body, or political figure. Not surprisingly, powerful institutions often do not take kindly to being criticized, and they have invented a variety of ways to try to suppress the speech of their adversaries.

Public Citizen has been in the forefront of the legal defense of the First Amendment right to maintain a gripe site, defending against claims that challenge the domain names of gripe sites, the use of meta tags or other devices to call the public's attention to the sites, and baseless claims of libel or other torts that are invoked as a basis for shutting down critics.

Here is the Link

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Would You Like All of Your Hubcaps The Same Kind?

Well here is another gripe I have about Courtesy of Evangeline. Now I know it's going to sound a little silly but how can a dealership let something like this slip by? I know I didn't notice it either. A few days after purchasing the car I had it parked outside of work and someone made the comment about my hubcaps. I was like what? Well I go outside and one side had Chrysler hubcaps and the other side had Dodge Hubcaps. I know your probably thinking no big deal someone overlooked it. YES SOMEONE OVERLOOKED IT.


Monday, November 07, 2005

We're Really In A Pickle................Actually a LEMON

So what now? We purchased a 2004 Chrysler Sebring convertible last year still under factory warranty. I purchased the extended warranty because of the expensive motor that is used to bring the top up and down and for any other things that would come up. After purchasing the vehicle the air-bag light comes on, so we bring it in for service. Well they say it's this, fix it, nope still not it, oh it's this, nope still not it, well it works for a lil while and oops back on again. Long story short, a year later airbag light comes on every few days, cigarette lighter doesn't work, read defroster doesn't work, passenger side seat belt locks up half the time, tail light keeps burning out, gas gauge reads incorrectly. And you know what the best thing about this is? I can't get it fixed because someone didn't send in the extended warranty. So who is at fault?

Well this was supposed to be my wife's car, boy was I wrong. I will not let my wife or kids ride in a car that is basically a ticking time bomb. First of all if the car is involved in an accident who knows if the air bags will deploy? My wife has already gotten stranded twice on the side of the road with our two year old daughter because of the gas gauge reading incorrectly and ran out of gas. Who is responsible if something happens to them?

If I can give you just one tip if you have purchased a new vehicle is this, "Keep all records, receipts, documentation if you talk to anyone on the phone(their name, extension, title, time and date), and anything else related to your automobile.

Here is another website with useful lemon law info.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Lemon Law Website

Here is a great website with lemon law info by state, and even helps you find a lawyer in your state who specializes in lemon law. If you feel you have a lemon please don't hesitate to research it. A car is one of your biggest purchases you will make next to a home. You don't want to get stuck with a $20,000 flower pot. Please don't take everything a dealership has to say for granted. They don't want you to know about lemon laws, non mentioned bulletins, and things like that. They want you to trade your car in(which could possibly be considerd a lemon) and buy a new car with them and loose thousands in the process because of the way cars depreciate the second you drive off of the lot.

Let's Take a Courtesy Test

Here I'm going to outline some of the reasons I'm upset and quiz you on them. Then later I'll put a complete page describing each detail (probably need more than one page).

1. While shopping for the car and at purchase time I was told the car was used by the general manager. True or False?
False-After doing a CarFax report it showed that the car was originally owned in California by Major Rental Car Agency. It was later purchased by the dealership from an Auto Auction in Texas. Do you know what people do to and in rental cars?

2. Day of purchase I paid for Extended Warranty. True or False?
True-Extended warranty was paid for.

3. Day of purchase I received the coverage from the Extended Warranty. True or False?
False-Paid for Extended Warranty but Warranty Information was never sent in. So what has my money been doing for the last year? Well let's see I've been paying interest on it through the loan that's one thing. Car still has problems with it from the day it was purchased, but you know what? Can't get those problems fixed or the problems that have arisen since then.

4. Dealership was courteous as to admit they were wrong and to make right the warranty. True or False?
False-They did admit they were wrong but made no attempts to offer me the warranty that I paid for and was paying interest on for over a year. They did offer to give my money back for the warranty but made no mention of interest that I will be paying for the next few years, but what good is that to me when the repairs needed on the car far exceed that amount? Isn't that the purpose of a warranty for situations like this?

5. After I called enough times to find out about the non-existent warranty they made multiple attempts to reassure me that they were trying to do something. True or False?
False-If I would have not called repeatedly I probably would not have even heard from them. After finding out about the non-existent warranty they said they would try to reinstate the warranty, well it went over two weeks before my wife went to the dealership to talk to someone. When she inquired about the warranty, Person in charge said in a not nice way " I told your husband we would give him his money Back. So my wife turned away to leave after disgusted with the service and she asks "Well what do you want to do?" in another not nice or "COURTEOUS" way. In fact they still haven't called us to see what we would like to do about it.

6. Three Vehicles were purchased directly through me and a referral. True or False?
True-The day after we purchased the car, I went the next day and purchased a new Jeep Liberty. The following week after seeing my vehicle, my sister bought a new Jeep Liberty. Even after informing them of the three purchases there wasn't any additional sincerity or "COURTESY" from them.

More to come...

Where is the Courtesy?

What happened to the customer is always right? Or at least make them believe they are right? The name of the dealership is Courtesy of Evangeline. It should be called Lack of Courtesy.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Background Info.

The Dealership I purchased the car from is in Ville Platte, LA.
The Name Is Courtesy of Evangeline. Here is a link to the Better business Bureau site for the company. As you can see it's not the first time they have had problems.
I will post complete story with a timeline soon.