I was thus delighted when I had the opportunity to make a return trip to Liechtenstein on business. In addition to its natural beauty, Liechtenstein is also a very industrious country chock-full of very successful companies. Many manufacturing facilities are located there and most employ the cutting edge of technology in their processes. After landing at a Swiss airport on a cold winter’s day, I proceeded to the rental car desk to pick up the Mercedes SUV I had reserved for the trek. Rather than having to find it in a parking lot, the vehicle was driven up to me at the pick-up point which was a nice accommodation. I was a bit confused when the driver exited a vehicle and handed me the keys to a SEAT automobile. SEAT is a Spanish brand of automobile not sold in America. I informed the lady at the desk that there was a mistake as I had reserved a Mercedes. She smiled and told me that she was sorry that all of the Mercedes-Benzes were rented out but that this vehicle was an “equivalent”. Looking at the vehicle I asked how much less the rental price would be but was told it was the same. Oh, well I thought why not be adventurous. I hopped behind the wheel and took off. The SEAT was fine but in my opinion was not “equivalent” to the Mercedes I had reserved and paid for. The next morning, I left Zurich in route to Liechtenstein. The fact that it began snowing and the car had no wiper fluid in it did make it a memorable drive. Driving through the Swiss countryside with one’s head sticking out the window in order to see for several miles is not something I will soon forget.
A very minor inconvenience in what was an otherwise fantastic trip. The switch in autos was not worth making a fuss about. I bring it up only to make a tie-in to a legal lesson. In the legal setting there are instances where there are misrepresentations that cause consumers to incur much more substantial damages. In Georgia, the “Fair Business Practices Act” is one tool consumers can use as a remedy. There are many examples of matters that fall under this law. One is “representing that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality, or grade or that goods are of a particular style or model, if they are of another”. Another is “passing off goods or services as those of another”. The act of “causing actual confusion or actual misunderstanding as to affiliation, connection or association with or certification by another” is also one of the many transgressions addressed by this law. The law provides a mechanism whereby prior to filing a lawsuit one is required to give a 30 days advanced written notice to a prospective defendant identifying the claimant, reasonably describing the claimed unfair act along with a demand for relief to be made whole. If the matter is not resolved, in some cases a claimant can get up to 3 times their actual damages in court plus reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses of litigation. A lawyer can help navigate you through such a situation.
For those of you who have not been, I do hope that you get to travel to both Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Both “come as advertised” and are wonderful places to visit. And when you need help to address challenges of not getting what you requested, call the one you can trust. Contact Chris today … click here.