Temas Especiales

30 de Nov de 2020


Canadian Lemon Aid tour kicks-off

PANAMA. From a pocket book of 100 pages, English at one end, French at the other, the Lemon-aid production by Panama Star columnist Phi...

PANAMA. From a pocket book of 100 pages, English at one end, French at the other, the Lemon-aid production by Panama Star columnist Phil Edmonston, has grown to a weighty tome of 647 pages. To carry a box of them around you would need an SUV, van or truck, which is a happy coincidence, as those vehicles form the theme of the latest edition.

At a weekend launch of his upcoming Canadian Book Tour, the imposing Edmonston (6 ft 4 ins) gave an equally imposing presentation to his audience at Exedra Books. He guided them through the current market place with advice on which vehicles not to buy, and where the future of the industry lays.

The presentation was flawless and delivered in the style of a parliamentarian letting the people on the other side of the house know the “true” facts of the case. Not surprising from a former Canadian MP (Member of Parliament).

He pointed out that diesels and hybrids are poor buys and ethanol adds to food costs and world hunger, and warned his listeners to buy Asian vehicles (although Toyota’s quality is falling) and to steer away from European cars because of parts and service.

This was not good news for British Ambassador Richard Austen, who was at the reception, and is awaiting delivery of his new British made Jaguar.

The book, basically written for a Canadian audience, still contains a truck or vanload of information for Panama residents.

“Dr. Phil” has been plaguing the car industry for nearly 40 years with publication of secret warranties, confidential service bulletins factory goofs and sales scams and overrated options. In fact he advises his readers to avoid problem potential options and go for the stripped down models.

During his talk he suggested that drivers should keep their cars for longer periods to beat the bell curve depreciation horrors. Sound advice for those with no “appearances” to keep up, don’t care about fashion trends and are not in the car industry.

But maybe people in Panama are already avoiding the siren cries of the automobile dealers. Sales were down 28 percent in January, and the February figures are likely to reflect a similar trend. Perhaps the old clunker will become an elitist symbol as we save money and the environment.

Among the advice tips mentioned on the book’s cover are: “Which vehicles transport pets best” and “How to get your money back with minimal stress.”

I have the feeling the latter tip won’t work so well in Panama, after my own 12 month battle with a malfunctioning laptop. But I wish I had read an earlier edition when I once had the misfortune to purchase a lemon.

“Dr Phil”, who is now writing a weekly Lemon-Aid column for the Star (Fridays) in addition to his acidic Consumer Retorts (Tuesdays), has written some 135 Lemon-Aid best sellers and other books on consumer rights, and survived the wrath of the industry and helped consumers win a major court battle last year.

Three decades ago both Nissan and Honda sued him for $5 million dollars and lost. But he had nice things to say about both companies at the launch. Perhaps they had learned from his original exposures.