Those big billboards with the toll-free phone number, 1-800 LEMON LAW might not mean much to you.
Unless, of course, you’ve ever bought a car that didn’t work as promised. For those in Pennsylvania who have experienced the sour taste of a lemon, they are fortunate that the Commonwealth is home to the leading legal team in the Northeast that handles Lemon Law-related cases, with offices in Ambler and Pittsburgh.
Robert Silverman and Craig Thor Kimmel founded Kimmel and Silverman and the firm settled into its niche after discovering that the Pennsylvania Lemon Law and Federal Warranty Laws contain fee-shifting provisions that allow the duo to provide completely cost-free legal representation, and if the firm was victorious, allow fees to be collected from the manufacturer on top of what the client receives.
Kimmel and Silverman became the first firm to do such a high volume of Lemon Law cases, helping embattled drivers understand what was a very complicated set of regulations.
“We both wanted to help consumers who got taken advantage of by car manufacturers and other companies,” says Silverman.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome, personally or professionally?
Recently, the bankruptcy filings of GM and Chrysler. Many consumers were very worried that they would lose their rights while the companies were restructuring. We advised them to be patient and we worked with them to keep their claims moving. Once the companies were back in the clear, we were able to work hard to make sure all of these consumers received the recourse they rightfully deserved.
Talk about the moment where you knew you made the right decision in starting this company:
When we won our first big case against Chrysler and in addition to having a very satisfied client, the Court made them pay our fees and costs. It was at that point we knew the fee-shifting provision was enforced and we were going to provide consumers with the help they rightfully deserved with not a penny out of their pocket.
What key partnerships in your region or state have helped Kimmel & Silverman grow?
I think a large part of our success is a result of the relationships we have built with our clients, other attorneys in the region and the media. We have a full-time communications director, Michael Sacks, who has secured stories both on a local scale and with outlets such as Good Morning America., Nightline and The CBS Early Show. When car companies make news, Michael normally receives calls from reporters who are looking for our feedback on what consumers can do.
We also try our best to treat every client like a VIP. Our goal is for each consumer to receive the maximum result with minimal participation. This comes across in our work. We are also very involved in the social media scene with Facebook and Twitter, as well as our Lemon Law blog, which receives thousands of comments each month, and allows us to promote interesting automotive issues.
What’s the big differentiator for Kimmel & Silverman?
We are the most experienced firm in the business that we are in. We don’t take the easy way out and will fight for the last penny for every client. It costs us significantly more in staffing to do so. In additional to an extensive team of experienced attorneys, we are the only firm of our kind with three full-time certified mechanics on staff. But at the end of the day it is the right thing to do for our clients
What’s next for Kimmel & Silverman?
We hope to continue to build our Lemon Law practice throughout the Country. In addition we now offer a new division, managed by my partner and nationally-recognized consumer attorney Craig Thor Kimmel, which deals specifically with debt collection harassment. In today’s tough economic climate, more and more consumers are being hounded by collection calls. There are federal laws which provide para,meters on what debt collectors can and cannot do. Regardless of whether you owe the money or not, if the debt collectors are harassing you, we can get the calls to stop in certain cases, recover up to $1000 for the consumer.
Plus, like the Lemon Law, the legal help is completely cost-free to the consumer. They pay nothing out of pocket at any time. Since starting this division, we have successfully resolved thousands of cases and have been featured on Fox News as well as other newscasts across the Country. For more information on this service, consumers can visit www.creditlaw.com or call 1-800 NOT FAIR.
— by Joe Petrucci
30 East Butler Pike Ambler, PA 19002