About The Consumer Law Office of Steve Hofer

Steve Hofer has been practicing consumer law in Indiana for more than 20 years. He is the Indiana State Chairperson of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, a national organization of attorneys striving for fairness in the consumer marketplace. Contact me by phone at 317-662-4529 or via email at hoferlawindyATgmail.com. You can also leave a message through my website at www.hoferlawindy.com.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Are you receiving Telemarketing Calls from Yodle? - ROBOCALLS

Are you receiving automated telemarketing calls from a company called Yodle? These calls, with an automated voice greeting are almost certainly autodialed and subject to the restrictions of the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Privacy Act.)  The TCPA allows you to go claim $500 to $1500 in damages for all auto-dialed calls to your cellphone (or residential landline if you are on the "do not call" list) if the calls were made without your express permission.  I received two calls from this company; however the calls I received were to my Google Voice number which might not be covered by the TCPA. If you receive calls from this company, please call a consumer lawyer in your area. You can find one at www. consumeradvocates.org.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

What's all this fuss about the KO book that Auto Auctions use?

I'm trying to understand the "KO Book" that is used to exclude dealers from participation from auto acutions.  Who provides information? To whom is it provided? What information is provided?  Is there an electronic database involved? Is personal financial information included?  Please call me at 317-662-4529 or email me at hoferlawindyATgmail.com. Thanks.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

What Donald Trump can learn from SNL and Gary Johnson

It has often been said that Donald Trump wanted to become President; he didn't really want to BE President. That of course explains why he had no true policy plans. To the extent that he had policies, they were half-baked or completely raw. No sooner did he get into office than the scandals started mounting, and now it seems like he is headed for impeachment or worse.

It would only be logical that at this point he would be looking for a way to bail out, but how do you get out of something that you don't know how to end gracefully. The answer is that you forget about the "gracefully" part. Fortunately, there is a tried and true way to get out of something you don't know how to end otherwise quickly and absolutely: the fake heart attack.

Saturday Night Live, before it was even Saturday Night Live, when it was "NBC's Saturday Night", in its FIRST SHOW, in its FIRST SKETCH, called "The Wolverines" showed how its done.


Even Gary Johnson, who came in THIRD PLACE in the election of 2016 understands that sometimes you just have to fake a heart attack.

There are over 2.1 million hits on YouTube alone for "fake heart attack". 

Here's how it would work. Donald Trump fakes a heart attack -- gets an easy doctor to write him a note.  He leaves without getting impeached and retires to Palm Beach for Golf Therapy.  Trump wins because he gets out without being impeached. The country wins because we get him out now rather than later. Now, you can mock this idea all you want, but do you have a better one? 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Volkswagen Adblue Heater Warranty Extension - Non-dealer Replaced Heater

If you replaced the DEF (Adblue) fluid heater in your Volkswagen diesel, were refused payment for the part because you didn't have it installed by a Volkswagen dealer, please contact me at 317-662-4529 or hoferlawindyATgmail.com. We are examining the possibility of bringing a group case. If the claim is large enough perhaps as a class action.  

Are you an auto dealer who has had a problem with Nextgear Capital Failing to Release Vehicle Titles?

Are you a car dealer or a consumer who has had an issue because Nextgear Capital Inc. has refused to release a title that they are legally required to release?  If so, WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE BEEN SUED AND WHEREVER YOU ARE LOCATED, please call me at 317-662-4529. As my co-counsel and I assess things, in most cases, a floorplan lender should NEVER refuse to release a ti-tle to a vehicle sold by a dealer in the ordinary course of business, even if the floor planner has not been paid for the car. Nextgear may very well disagree with this conclusion, but this is an issue that we are looking to have settled in court.

We have not had any complaints about Automotive Capital Services, ACS, but the legal reasoning would be the same.

We are currently representing multiple auto dealers in defense in suits filed by Nextgear. We haven't found the right case yet to test our offensive theories. Your case might be the one that lets us put all the pieces together.  Our perfect plaintiff would be one where there was a refusal to release the title, but where the dealer was not in default of any covenants to Nextgear.

If you would like to talk about this, call me at 317-662-4529 or email me at hoferlawindyATgmail.com.

Have you been sued by Discover Card OR American Express in Indiana?

We have received reports of an uptick in lawsuit activity by Discover card suing over defaulted credit cards. In at least one case, the consumer was able to have the lawsuit thrown out of court by demanding arbitration based on the arbitration clause in the contract. As a rule, I am not fond of arbitration, but every rule has an exception, and there are cases where you can use an arbitration clause in your favor.

Typically, under consumer arbitration rules, the consumer has to pay a relatively small fee for arbitration, usually about $250, and the business has to pay the rest of the arbitration fee. That fee is usually at least $2,000 and can easily be double that.  Most of the cases provide that either party can take the case to small claims court in lieu of arbitration.  For this reason, where small claims court is available, credit card companies often file there, and the consumer may not be able to get the case into arbitration, because the business was allowed to file the small claims case. That being said, there are cases the business can't file in small claims court -- some small claims courts have jusrisdiction limited to small amounts, under $2000 for example, and the credit card balance may be much higher than that. Also sometimes credit card companies don't take the case to small claims court for practical reason. Often small claims courts require a court date for an answer/deny appearance of the defendant that the creditor's attorney is required to attend. Many credit card companies hire one law firm to handle multiple states and/or large geographic areas within a state, and it isn't always practical for their attorney to personally cover these hearings. That's why they often file a case they could file in small claims court in a general court, (circuit or superior court in Indiana), where they can require the defendant to file a written answer (which 98% don't do) and obtain a default judgment if the defendant doesn't answer.

In essence, by filing a motion for arbitration immediately upon being sued on a credit card, the consumer can force the creditor to pay several thousand dollars in arbitration costs with no guarantee that they will ever even recover that amount from the defendant. When faced with that situation, the creditor often dismisses the case.


Although a consumer can demand arbitration without an attorney, in most cases, there are reasons why I think you should hire an attorney to do this for you. The first is, you might not technically file everything right. The second is you might be able to set up the case so that the credit card company and/or its attorney owes you money.

If you are in Indiana, call me at 317-662-4529 or email me at hoferlawindyATgmail.com. (Replace the AT with @ - I have to write it this way to dodge spammers.)   As always, if you are outside Indiana find a consumer lawyer in your area at www.consumeradvocates.org.

If you are a car or truck buyer in Indiana who has had problems getting the title to your vehicle - call me

If you are a resident of Indiana, and you had problems getting title to a car or truck that you purchased from an Indiana dealer - EVEN IF YOU EVENTUALLY RECEIVED YOUR TITLE- please contact me at 317-662-4529 or at hoferlawindyATgmail.com.  I'm working with some other attorneys in trying to put together a big case involving a pattern and practice of illegal conduct by some of the players involved.

If our theories pan out, some players in the industry could be in for a world of hurt for a large amount of damages, BUT we have a lot of work to do before we have what we need to bring a suit.

Still, we may be able to help you get your title in the short term, and get some damages for the delay in the long term.  It's worth a call.