Category Archives: Consumer Rights

Exposing the Great InvisaLIE: Vivera Retainers Last Only a Few Months and Your Dentist Wants To Keep It a Secret!

Ever wonder why your teeth shift when you’re wearing your retainers 20 plus hours a day? Or why it is that when you change to your second or third set, the new retainer is surprisingly tight? Weren’t these all supposed to be made to the same spec?

The reason for this is crystal clear: Your Vivera retainers have worn out and are no longer retaining properly. Your dentist or orthodontist knows all about these limitations. They’ve read the studies. They’ve heard these complaints from other patients. And they’ve received personalized training from Invisalign on what this product can do. So why do they claim these retainers can last for years? (When yours lasted only for a few months!)

Welcome to the Great InvisaLIE

For how I was a victim see my story below.1 But first, here are the facts supported by Invisalign’s own press releases!

Yes, Invisalign aligners can straighten your teeth. But don’t count on their Vivera retainers to keep them that way. Whether you maintain these retainers perfectly, or just like the average person, your teeth could start shifting in less than 3 months!

Why The Lie?
Last year, Invisalign made $3.9 billion in annual sales.1 And their 256 thousand doctor customers have made billions more selling Invisalign to almost 17 million patients.1 2 So it’s all about the money.

The big draw to both Invisalign aligners and retainers, is that you can fix your teeth fairly quickly and not need braces or visible retainers to keep them that way. Indeed, the Invisalign website boasts that “Invisalign aligners are customized for each patient and are virtually invisible, making them a desirable option when compared to other teeth straightening methods such as braces.”1

This near invisibility is a key Invisalign selling point. And it resonates with the patients who were never told that after aligners, they must still wear their Vivera retainers, full time, both day and night, for 3-9 months!1 2 So the lifespan of Vivera retainers is crucial. If it’s too short to keep your teeth straight, why bother with Invisalign? And if it costs extra but requires huge, clunky non-clear retainers, then you’ve paid a fortune for invisible treatment that is no longer invisible.

Your doctor knows exactly what’s at stake. Invisalign is their bread and butter.1 So if you complain that your Vivera retainers aren’t working, they’ll claim your case is unique and offer you other money draining options, such as fixed retainers. Or they may say it’s your own fault because you didn’t maintain your retainer to some exacting impossible standard.

But don’t you believe them! Their claims of how long these retainers last are outrageously exaggerated. Just compare these to what Invisalign says about their own product. With such a vast disconnect, someone here has got to be lying!

Claims on Vivera Lifespan Range from 10 Years to 3 Months!
Just how do Invisalign providers determine how long Vivera retainers last? Is it by voodoo? Is it astrology? Or do they predict these things by Tarot cards? Just check out the divergent claims below! Where exactly do they get their data from?

  • 10 years but can be less1 2
  • 4 years with proper care1
  • 2 years but sometimes sooner1 2
  • Several years if cared for1
  • 3 years for a set of 41
  • 5 years with proper care1
  • 3 months to 2+ years1
  • 3-9 months with proper care1
  • 3 months if worn full time, 9 months if at night1
    (most accurate but the least common response)

The Actual Claims Made by Invisalign
Invisalign never states an exact time when their Vivera retainers stop retaining. But if you can do 4th grade math, you’ll find that they do refer to their retainer lifespan. (It’s buried in their ancient press releases.)

Turns our that Invisalign retainers last about 2.6 months (assuming your retainers don’t crack or break before then).

Retainer Durability v. Strength (Strength Is Key!)
The Invisalign website says “BUILT TO LAST LONGER Vivera retainer material is also at least 30% stronger and twice as durable as other leading clear retainer materials.1 In footnote 3, at the bottom of the page, they explain that Durability means “The ability to withstand cracking and breakage of the retainer.1

Strength is verified by retention force, the ability of the retainer to provide sufficient corrective mechanical loads to retain teeth in their defined positions.1

So durability is how long these retainers stay intact if you drop them or expose them to stress. While strength, is how long these retainers will keep your teeth from shifting.

So strength is key here. But what does this mean in terms of Vivera retainer shelf life? We still need to know just how long these retainers last. But fear not! This mystery is revealed in an Invisalign Jan 8, 2008 press release.1 Here, in paragraph 4, we learn that Vivera retainers are made to last for about 2.6 months! After that, Invisalign is unwilling to publicly attest to their strength in keeping your teeth aligned.

The Smoking Gun
Back in 2008, the Invisalign parent company, Align Technology, Inc., boasted that “Align’s lab tests show that Vivera’s proprietary thermoplastic material is more than 30 percent stronger than the clear retainers used by their competitors” and that “strength is a key quality for retaining teeth in their final position.” At this point, Align tells us that the leading retainers being referred to “begin to deform after as little as two months of simulated daytime wear, impacting their ability to maintain teeth in their final retained position.”1

Conclusion about Vivera Retainer Lifespan
In a perfect world where your Vivera retainers remain whole and strength is the only factor, such will retain teeth in their defined positions for 30% longer than those leading retainers that last for 2 months. This means the expected lifespan of Vivera retainers is 2.6 months! But to be fair, let’s agree that more than 30% strength=3 months. 

And what do you know! Invisalign agrees with this. In the same paragraph of the Jan 8, 2008 press release, just after boasting about their retainer strength, they then roll out an exciting new Vivera retainer subscription plan: a plan which offers a new retainer every three months!1

But thanks to the Way Back Machine, it gets better than that! In a long defunct website specifically for Vivera Retainers, they admit these retainers last for only 3 months and that if you wear them longer than that “your teeth may not be in “working retention.” So “this is why we’re delivering Vivera retainers every three months.” 1

This is the smoking gun. Here, Invisalign confirms that these retainers don’t last much longer than that.

With Invisalign, Patients Are Promised a Square Circle
From the outset, these patients are never told the true cost and commitment of using Invisalign. They don’t even know the right questions to ask, and the doctor providers seem to take full advantage of that.

On Reddit, Invisalign patients will often complain they must wear their Vivera retainers day and night (and well beyond the 3 month limit these were tested for).1 Some, were quite surprised because they were never told that this extended full-time wear was common and to be expected.1 This omission is also part of the Great InvisaLIE.

So patients are promised a square circle. In order to keep their teeth straight, they must now keep wearing worn out retainers which can no longer keep their teeth straight!

But you may ask, what happens next when their teeth inevitably start to shift? Well, at that point, the helpful doctor can suggests costly alternatives such as lingual braces, or more robust retainers. It’s a fantastic win-win for the orthodontist; but an abysmal lose-lose for the patient.

Does Invisalign Protect the False Claims of Their Providers by Almost Never Referring to How Long These Retainers Last?
Of interest, is that Invisalign has long since discontinued their 3 month retainer replacement program. If they offer something similar, it never hints about a short retainer lifespan.

They’ve even discontinued their Viveraretainers.com website-the one where they reveal directly that Vivera retainers last for 3 months, hence the replacement plan.1 See below how in 2011, Invisalign glibly edges away from their statements made in 2008. Keep in mind it’s the same retainer replacement program!

In 2008, they said “This is why we’re delivering Vivera retainers every three months – keeping your patients in working retention.”1 But in 2011, they try to obfuscate the three month lifespan through misdirection. Instead, it’s a bundle of 4 which is shipped over time. Where in 2008, the purpose was to keep patients’ teeth in working retention, a fancy term for keeping their teeth straight, now, the purpose is to accommodate each patients unique retention needs.” Very slick: But misleading as these retainers degrade after 3 months regardless.

But tricks aside, is Invisalign still keeping their retainer lifespan on the quiet?

Amidst all their current promotions, almost none tell you how long these retainers last. For example: a Google search for the word “Vivera” returns hundreds of hits from the Align Tech website.1 But when you search for terms on retainer lifespan you find only three!1 These references are all buried in their old company press releases from 2007, 2008 and 2018.

In the first two from 2007 and 2008, both say that “strength is a key quality for retaining teeth in their final position.” But not so in the later 2018 press release, which focused on retainer duration. Here, strength is downplayed and this exact phrase has been removed.1 Of interest, is that I could find no modern references to retainer lifespan after 2018. Why is this?

Does Invisalign’s Webpage Assist Providers with False Advertising by Deliberately Diverting Attention Away from Retainer Lifespan?
Invisalign’s current webpage looks much like their Jan 2008 Press release. It too talks about strength and durability. It too boasts that Vivera retainers last 30% more than leading retainers. But unlike their early press releases, they no longer refer to the two month lifespan of their competitors. Nor do they explain what 30% more means in terms of months or years. Instead, they slyly divert attention elsewhere to the brand names of their competition, all the while, skirting the real issue of just how long these retainers actually last.1

So why would Invisalign do this? What good is it to intentionally keep patients in the dark? Could it be they know their provider doctors are lying about Vivera retainer lifespan? Could it be that an ignorant public would be less apt to sue Invisalign’s customers for false advertising? If true, this sounds a lot like aiding and abetting.

Indeed, Invisalign has the best of both worlds. They make billions off their provider dentists and orthodontists. And if any of these providers lie about their product, Invisalign can always claim they had no part in it-they never knew of it, or if they did know, it’s still not their fault.

But is that really the case? Their clever gimmicks aside, could they be at fault anyway? Could it be that Invisalign is so enmeshed in training, marketing, and distributing that they are legally complicit as well?

Shouldn’t We Believe Invisalign When They Tell Their Providers “Invis Is by Your Side” “Align has you covered” and is “Supporting Your Practice at Every Stage?”
The message here is clear. Sell more Invisalign and you’ll do just fine! We’ll help you in every way, including how to market to consumers. And so Invisalign paves the way for their providers to keep on lying. They either approve of their false advertising, or imply they will eagerly look the other way.

Indeed, on their provider resource page, they even pitch to their doctor customers that “Clear aligners gross revenue per visit is 46.8% higher than braces.1 (An obvious incentive for dentists to offer patients even more Invisalign.)

Elsewhere, they boast that “We’ve invested $150M in marketing programs designed to drive patients to your office.1 And in large print up top, they assure providers that:

But it doesn’t stop there. In the screenshot below, Invisalign promises them “From expanding your practice to creating efficiencies that further patient care, Align has you covered. Our patient concierge team, direct-to-consumer marketing programs, and in-office marketing materials help you set the stage for success.” Invisalign then offers to support their practice “at every stage through Practice Mentoring & Training” and through numerous marketing programs.


When It Comes to Training & Marketing, Their Eye Is on the Sparrow: Invisalign Leaves Nothing to Chance, which Means They Know Exactly What Their Providers Claim about Retainer Lifespan
Invisalign is like the helicopter mom who sorts their child’s laundry, cleans their bedroom and writes all their book reports. Nothing escapes her notice. Everything is tightly controlled. Nothing happens without at least her tacit consent. So when the police come to find the child’s bedroom cluttered with stolen merchandise, can momma really claim she never knew? If not legally complicit, she certainly is morally so!

Likewise, as shown in their own public documents, Invisalign zealously protects their image. And they control virtually every aspect of their product marketing. This extends well beyond training and marketing to their provider doctors. They even induce US consumers to hype up their own product demand.1 This includes their Invisalign patient referral program, a program which rewards existing patients with a $100 gift certificate if they can convince their friends and family to get treated with Invisalign!1

To show you just how hands on they are with their training and marketing plans, take a look at this public recap of their Q3 2021 financial results. Here Invisalign admits:

  • Their share of the retainer market is significantly underpenetrated;
  • They have a robust retainer strategy with a separate marketing team;
  • This marketing team is devoted to driving adoption and increasing Vivera market share in the US;
  • This includes engaging doctors through clinical education and sales initiatives, engaging consumers through social media, and by making
  • Demand creation programs that direct consumers to their provider doctors who sell Invisalign.1 2

So Invisalign has a special marketing team devoted to selling Vivera retainers. Further, this team directly engages both doctors and consumers. For doctors, it provides clinical hands on training and sales initiatives.

For consumers, it creates a patient to patient referral program and engages them through social media. In short, Invisalign does whatever it can to penetrate the US market to sell more Vivera retainers. You’d figure this means checking out not just their competitors but also the claims from their own provider doctors.

At the very least, their marketing team would want to harmonize any provider ads that were off script or contradictory. But this seems exactly the reverse of what they’re doing! Instead of policing their providers to tell the truth, Invisalign allows them to keep on lying. They then submerge the truth in just three documents, which sink beneath a flurry of their new ads and more recent press releases.1 So finding the truth is like looking for the needle in a haystack. Except the needle is extra tiny, and someone keeps adding more haystacks!

When It Comes To Exposing the Lies of Their Competitors, Invisalign Actively Combs Reddit, YouTube and Other Websites To Remove Promotions that are Incorrect or Misleading
Court documents show that Invisalign is selectively passive about which lies they are willing to contest. They seem just fine with lies that promote their sales. But are fiercely against lies that aid their competition.

In their lawsuit against SmileDirectClub, Invisalign shows how eagerly they scour the Internet for lies that threaten their own revenue stream.1 And yet they become aloof and nonchalant when these lies come from their own doctor providers. Lies that dupe millions into falling for the Great InvisaLIE.

When It Comes To Exposing Lies on Their Website and Social Media Page, Invisalign Says They’re Legally Obligated To Remove or Correct ALL Promotions that are Incorrect or Misleading

Check out their rules of social media engagement made for their Singapore market. Here they note that:

Invisalign is a Class II medical device that is strictly regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration, which requires that all promotion of Invisalign (including those on our Facebook page) be truthful, non-misleading, and fairly balanced. Furthermore, like other device manufacturers, Align is obligated to provide clarification or remove any posts from our Facebook pages that we deem inconsistent with Invisalign’s intended use or are otherwise incorrect or misleading.1

Here, they must have put up this disclaimer because they wanted to remove claims they thought were false or misleading. Indeed, if ALL promotion of Invisalign, (a Class II medical device) must be truthful and non misleading, why would Invisalign apply this standard selectively?

It seems they have one standard when it comes to removing misleading comments on their Facebook page or a page of their competitor’s, but an entirely different standard for removing misleading statements that their own providers use to sell more Invisalign. Could it be they think this duty applies only to their aligners, but not to their retainers-a Class I medical device? 1 If so, the spate of recent lawsuits would suggest otherwise.1

But it gets better.

Invisalign Now Partners with Their Providers To Home Deliver Retainers To The Patient’s Doorstep. The Product Manufacturer Has Also Become the Product Marketer and Product Distributor -with Near Absolute Control over Their Product.
Yes! Through their newly developed Direct Ship To Patient feature, Invisalign actively ships Vivera to patients directly!

In this recent press release from Align Technology, they tout that

With the direct ship to patient feature, doctors can arrange to have subsequent retainers sent to their patients directly, reducing the need for doctors to store the retainers in their office or for patients to make a trip to their doctor’s office simply to pick up their replacement retainers. …”All shipping costs, logistics, and facilitation of tracking information are managed directly in the Align VRS platform.1

And their program seems to be a success. In their publicly posted 10Q filing they announced that:

For the three months ended March 31, 2023, non-case net revenues increased by $12.0 million as compared to the same period in 2022 mainly due to increased volumes from the Doctor Subscription program and retention products across all regions primarily driven by Vivera retainers.

The Bottom Line: Invisalign Markets, Micromanages, and Monitors Their Medical Products Which They Ship Directly to the Consumer’s Doorstep: They Profit from the Great InvisaLIE, Pretend to Ignore It and then Keep Consumers in the Dark So No One Can Expose It.

As the manufacturer, marketer and distributor of Vivera retainers, Invisalign is now involved in every phase of product deployment. And they are too involved to not be legally liable for the false claims of their provider doctors, which they monitor and supervise through their numerous training and marketing programs.

Indeed, shouldn’t we believe Invisalign who tells their doctors “Invis Is by Your Side” “Align has you covered” and we’re “Supporting Your Practice at Every Stage?”

And they’ve proven this every step of the way! Invisalign injects their Class I and Class II medical products into the stream of commerce. First, by actively pitching these products to their 256 thousand doctors. Then, by training these doctors exactly how to sell such to their patients.

Second, in order to create a higher demand for their aligners and retainers, Invisalign then reaches out to consumers directly through their social media page and through their consumer to consumer referral programs. This is followed by direct shipments of Vivera retainers to the patient’s doorstep.

Finally, Invisalign conceals the true lifespan of Vivera retainers, so their providers can keep lying on how long these retainers last. Their current webpage ignores this information and attempts to divert the consumer from asking about such. And the only references to an actual time limit are found in just three old press releases which will soon be forgotten. Indeed, any promotions that even hint at a short retainer lifespan have been discontinued or cleverly reworded.

To add to this hypocrisy, Invisalign then selectively combs social media to stamp out the lies of their competitors. All the while, blithely ignoring the false marketing done by their own doctors. (Doctors closely monitored by Invisalign in virtually every respect.) Indeed, how can Invisalign disregard all those lying advertisements!1 Their silence here is deafening.

A Call to Action for Align Technology, Inc. (The Owner of Invisalign!)
Stop being passive. Do the right thing and rein in your providers! You know consumers are being deceived. You know your dentists and orthodontists are lying. And you know you profit from it! A simple word from you and it all stops! You are clearly in the best position to take action. Now tell us what you plan to do about it!

What Victims Can Do.

1. Help Clean Up The Internet! 
Report all false or misleading medical device ads on Vivera retainers to the Federal Trade Commission. For serious adverse reactions and events, safety related product quality problems, and product use errors, also report such to the US Food & Drug Administration. Be sure to send a copy of your complaint to your dentist’s or orthodontist’s state medical licensing board with the name of the person or website with the misleading ad.

2. Demand that Align Technology (who owns Invisalign) police their 256 thousand Dr. customers so they will now tell the truth about how long Vivera retainers really last.

For Align Technology, this means:

A. Require your doctor customers to pull all their false online ads that imply Vivera retainers last for years instead of months. Any claim they last for years is misleading and deceptive. Consumers want to know their retainer will work for years, not just stay nice and shiny without cracks. Saying they “last for years” implies the retainers will continue to retain their teeth in their final position for years. This is inherently misleading and unsupported by your test studies.   

B. Require your doctor customers to publish on their websites only the claims on Vivera retainer lifespan found in the Jan 8, 2008 Align press release. And to provide hardcopy brochures of such to any consumer seriously considering Invisalign. This means to say outright that the lifespan of Vivera retainers (which is how well they keep teeth in their final positions) is more than 30% longer than the leading retainers which in tests start to degrade within 2 months.

C. Require your doctor customers to publish on their websites and in hardcopy brochures the average expected time that patients will need to wear their Vivera retainers both day and night. This includes the number of hours per day and for how many months. Many of your doctors conveniently omit these statements to lull patients into buying Invisalign. Patients are told simply that once done with their aligners, they will need to wear their retainers at night. This is deceptive. These patients must be fully informed before they purchase Invisalign aligners. It is inherently deceptive and misleading to not disclose this information until much later when the patient complains their teeth are shifting or that each night their retainer fits tighter and tighter.

D. To protect against future false or misleading ads on your Class I and Class II medical products, assign a compliance team to routinely search the web for misstatements made by your providers and demand that these be corrected or removed. Warn them in your training and marketing programs that gross infractions could result in being barred from selling Invisalign.

E. Send These Demands To The Key Align Technology Contacts Below:

  • Simon Beard, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Americas, EMEA
    Email: sbeard@aligntech.com
  • Madelyn Valente, Director of Corporate Communications
    Email: mvalente@aligntech.com,
    cc: Shirley Stacy, sstacy@aligntech.com
  • Melinda Walker, Director of Global Marketing @ Align Technology
    Email: mwalker@aligntech.com
  • Management Team (Names but no phone numbers, emails may be first initial last name like the ones above)
  • Press Contacts Email: corporateinfo@aligntech.com

Final Word for Victims of the Great InvisaLie
So think again if you thought your teeth would stay straight with Vivera retainers. Get a more robust, thicker retainer before it’s too late! And here’s a final word for those considering Invisalign: Don’t believe the hype! The doctors want you to think the experience is relatively quick, easy and won’t involve extra expenses, such as getting new, costly retainers, or having to buy even more Vivera retainers. But often this is not the case.

Read below about the definitions and drawbacks to both the Invisalign aligners and Vivera retainers. This is followed by my personal account of how I discovered the Great InvisaLIE. Finally, see the list of questions to ask your dentist or orthodontist so you know the full scope of what you’re committing to!

For Blogs on Other Subjects See

Part II For Those Who Are Considering Invisalign Clear Aligners


Below are definitions and descriptions including comments from my own experience. And below this is my own story (How I fell victim to the Great InvisaLIE.)

What Are Invisalign Aligners?
Invisalign offers dentists and orthodontists a method to straighten teeth with clear removable aligners instead of with traditional wires and brackets. These aligners or “trays” are detachable plastic like mouthpieces that fit directly over each tooth. They must be removed when eating, and worn 20-22 hours a day. Studies show that Invisalign can straighten teeth within 12–18 months. 

The costs for Invisalign can vary dramatically depending on the dentist and the complexity of the treatment. I paid $4.4K but others paid as much as $9K. Patients receive anywhere from 10 to 39 of these Invisalign aligner trays, each of which should be worn 1-3 weeks before being replaced with the next one.

Invisalign aligners are quite fragile and require lots of care. Also, it’s not uncommon for your dentist to later add more trays to your correction plan, such as when your teeth are not aligning properly. This can drastically change the time you will be stuck wearing Invisalign. In my case, I initially had 15 trays but ended up wearing 29.

To make these Invisalign trays move your teeth faster, “attachments” or “buttons” are often glued to the teeth that need to be “rotated” or moved more than other teeth. Patients can expect as many as 22 or more of these attachments and maybe even 2 on one tooth. These “buttons” are colored like your teeth and made of a glass-like substance that can sometimes fall off while you’re eating, drinking, chewing or swallowing. If the buttons don’t fall off, such will be removed when you get your retainers.

What Are Invisalign Retainers?
Invisalign “Vivera” retainers are simply meant to keep your teeth in place. Like the aligners, these are composed of a similar clear material but supposedly much more sturdy. You will be instructed to wear them forever at night, once you have finished with your aligners. There is often contradictory advice on whether you can clean them with toothpaste, denture solution or clear mouthwash. Normally, you’ll receive 1-4 of these retainers and they’re supposed to last “a long time.” Many dentists actually claim they last for years. But I have evidence these retainers last just a few months and then stop retaining.

The medical community is extremely vague on the lifespan of Vivera retainers. There is also competing, and contradictory advice on how to care for them. It’s not even clear how long you should wear one before switching to the next one. Nor is there good guidance on how many hours each day you should wear them aside from at night. Your doctor may choose not to disclose that after aligners, many patients still must wear their Vivera retainers, full time, both day and night, for up to 3 to 6 months or even longer!1

So What’s the Scoop on Invisalign?
Invisalign is great for getting your teeth straight for that one time promotional headshot-the one where the dentist uses your smile to promote even more sales of Invisalign! But don’t count on your teeth staying that straight. At least not with the Vivera retainers! If you’re going to be smart about this, jump straight from the aligners to a hard, more robust retainer that will actually work. (The kind that most people get when they’re finished with braces. Some of these retainers are surprisingly clear.)

Indeed, if you stick to the Vivera retainers, your dentist, who already got your money, can now suggest exciting new ways to thin out your wallet. If the Invisalign retainers let you down, well how about more robust mouth guards?  Or maybe you can buy special lingual braces that are permanent fixtures. These stay hidden in your mouth, sometimes forever, but on the side of your teeth where no one can see them but you and your significant other.

Of course, if you knew in advance that you’d need permanent fixtures from the get go, why would you even bother with Invisalign? So for the dentist or orthodontist, it’s a fun filled spree of how to get even more of your money. But pity the poor patient snookered into thinking that Invisalign could actually help them!

My Story (Mostly Written Two Days Before I Found the Smoking Guns Above!)
I was on Invisalign from June 2021 though December 2022 and I paid about $4400 for my treatment. I was quite OK with how Invisalign initially straightened my teeth. Sure, I was surprised at the 22 plastic like buttons they attached, the fact that they kept falling off and that I must have swallowed quite a few. And that while initially told I only needed 15 aligner trays, I wound up with 29 instead.

But in the end, my teeth were straight enough so that I left semi-satisfied. I was willing to endure the unexpected 18 month process, and I could see the difference especially in how straight my bottom teeth had become.

My Experience with Invisalign Retainers
At the end of my treatment, I was then given 4 Invisalign Vivera retainers. I was a bit put off because these retainers seemed quite loose. The dentist never told me anything but that I should wear them at night, and if they were tight, to begin wearing them a full 12 hours a day and then ease off to 8 hours. Puzzling was that I never heard anything about the complexities of wearing these retainers until after I completed all my aligners.

But sure enough, within a few days the retainers went from loose to very tight, and so I switched to 12 hours a day for one month. I then called the dentist as they kept on being tight, which no one ever told me would happen. At that point, I was then instructed to wear them for at least 12 hours a day for the next 4 months! I did so and within another month or two, the retainers started to fit again without being tight.

But later as I looked in the mirror, I noticed both my top and bottom teeth seemed to be shifting. My top front teeth began to look buck again, and a similar thing was happening with the bottom. Was my retainer no longer retaining?

To test this, I decided to switch to my second retainer, which was supposed to be identical to the first one. But to my horror, this retainer was extremely tight, even though it was made to the exact specifications as the first one.

I wore this 2nd retainer for at least a month or two  and then switched to the 3rd retainer, which now was also tight on me! By then, I realized these retainers weren’t doing their job. My teeth were moving anyway in spite of such. After a few months on retainer #3, I got to my 4th retainer, and it too was tight! But I knew this would happen simply because it was obvious now my teeth were shifting. I was losing all that I paid for!

Finally, in January 2024, after wearing each retainer an average of just 3 months, I sought out my dentist for another set of 4. However by this time, he had moved to another location even though there was still a dental office at his old address. When I called his new office, I was told that I would have to come in for new dental impressions. In other words, in spite of telling them I was regularly wearing my retainers and just needed new ones of the same mold, they insisted instead they must take new measurements of my teeth.

At first, I thought they were just being extra greedy. After all, they could charge double the price and such would include the new molding. But when I called the former place where he used to work, they said the exact same thing! Worse, they told me it was because they didn’t expect the new retainers would fit me anymore! This was baffling. If the Invisalign retainers actually retain, why would two separate dentist want to measure my teeth for movement?

Eventually, I convinced the new dentist to simply give me the 4 retainers as I didn’t want my teeth to become even more crooked. The specs for such were still in their system and probably could be made with a 3D printer and a few dollars in raw materials. But grudgingly, I forked over the $450 for a new set of 4, which was still better than paying twice that for new moldings, which would only preserve my teeth in their new crooked position. All this time, I continued to wear my last retainer for at least 15 or more hours a day.

On February 21, 2024 , I picked up my second set of the four retainers as the dental assistant hovered around me expecting that they wouldn’t fit! Turns out she was almost right! My top retainer was very tight. My bottom one I practically had to force onto my lower teeth! The specs on these retainers hadn’t changed a bit. But my teeth had! And this was all within just a year, where I had worn my prior retainers for months, day and night.

So why did two separate dentists think these retainers wouldn’t retain? Could it be that the dental community knows all about this defect but refuses to warn the general public?

Testing If The Retainers Failed for Lack of Proper Care on My Part
To be fair, for my first set of original retainers back in 2023, I got lazy and used Efferdent to clean them. This is something that some dental websites said was perfectly fine. But others recommended against it. So you might think that perhaps I am to blame here.

However, I was determined to do better this round. I wanted to know for sure if these retainers truly retain. So for two weeks, I wore my 2nd set (retainer #1) and made sure to clean it with only a toothbrush, cold water and clear liquid soft soap, something recommended on various medical websites. During this time, I wore these full time, and was relieved as I saw my teeth move mostly back into place. However, I grimly wondered if the retainer was still weakening like the last ones did.

To test this, after wearing this new retainer from 2/21 through 3/5. I jumped straight to my new retainer #2. And guess what? It was a lot tighter than retainer #1, even though #1 was kept in perfect condition and had been worn for just two weeks!

This is the big InvisaLIE! The medical community must know these retainers don’t retain! So why is no one talking about it? You’d figure there’d be a lot more of this on the Internet. The answer, no doubt, is that there’s just too much money in this. Most of the online information comes directly from the very dentists and orthodontist who sell Invisalign! So why tell on themselves? It’s like the farmer asking the hungry fox how many chickens are left in the hen house. The fox will say whatever number the farmer wants to hear. But you can never trust a fox!

So ask around to your friends who’ve had Invisalign and are now at least a year into their retainers. Are they happy?  Did their teeth shift? Have they had to make new moldings even when they wore their retainers? To keep their teeth straight, did they wind up buying a mouth guard or a more robust non Invisalign retainer? Or did they finally give up because they found Invisalign was such a colossal letdown?

Questions To Ask Your Dentist or Orthodontist Before Committing To Invisalign (Both the Aligners and Vivera Retainers)
If your doctor doesn’t have statistics, they should at least be able to provide ballpark estimates. After all, they’re seeing Invisalign patients all the time. And these things are bound to come up. If they still don’t know, ask if they can point you to unbiased medical journals that can answer these questions. Best you find out now before you cut the check!

Questions on the Aligners

  • How many trays does the average patient need? (Yes, I know everyone is different, but have them give you a range.)
  • How long is a typical plan with someone who has my degree of correction? (They will often give you a free scan so they should know this.) If I choose Invisalign when is the expected date I will be done with my aligners and ready for retainers?
  • How often are initial estimates revised to add on more trays? (10%, 30% 50%? 75%) (Note I was initially told it would be 15 trays but I wound up with 29, which means everything took much longer than expected.)
  • How much time should I wear these before moving to the next aligner? Some dentists and orthodontists are more conservative than others, so one may say two weeks while another says three.

Questions on the Vivera Retainers

  • Do most patients have to wear the retainer more than at night? For how many months and for how many hours a day? Do you get a lot of calls from patients who were wearing it for 8 hours at night but the retainer became too tight so they had to wear it in the daytime as well?
  • How long should each of these retainers last, and when should I be concerned that they may not be retaining correctly? Is it true from Invisalign’s Jan 8, 2008 press release that these last only three months?
  • Any idea why Invisalign used to offer a program that would replace these retainers just every three months? Do they still have that program? If I keep using Vivera retainers, how much will it cost me per year to keep these teeth straight?
  • Do any patients complain that the retainers don’t retain? For example, the retainers seem too loose or their teeth shift?
  • What are the best ways to maintain Vivera retainers?
  • How often do you have to take additional impressions of their teeth after a patient has worn their retainers? (assuming they never lost them or stopped using them.)
  • How often do patients ask for a second set of retainers when they haven’t lost them. What reasons do they give?
  • How often do patients need or request for other ways of keeping their teeth straight after wearing Invisalign retainers?
  • Do you ever recommend a fixed retainer or some other way of keeping teeth straight after that person has already been though Invisalign retainers? Why? How often?
  • What percentage of patients do you recommend wear a fixed retainer on the inside of their teeth? Why do you recommend such?
  • Is there any reliable research on these subjects that you can point me to?

    Key Newsworthy Stats About Align Technology and the Clear Retainer Market
    In 2023, Align Technology, the parent company of Invisalign grossed an annual revenue of $3.862B, a 3.42% increase from 2022.1 2They are also #1 in the market with 80-85% market share globally.1 The global clear aligners market size was valued at USD 5.13 billion in 2023 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30.7% from 2024 to 2030.1 By 2030 sales are anticipated to exceed $28.6 Billion.1

    Other Fun Facts About Invisalign
  • Better Business Bureau Complaints Re Invisalign
  • Complaints on Reddit that Vivera retainers last for only two or three months! (site monitored by dentists, orthodontists and maybe Invisalign lawyers)
  • Lawsuits with Invisalign
  • Gross Revenue of Invisalign Parent Company (Align Technology)
  • Search Align Technology Website for Literature on Invisalign Retainers
  • Invisalign Annual Reports & SEC Filings
  • Wiki Facts about Align Technology
  • Dentists and Orthodontists Disagree on How Long Vivera Retainers Last (3 months to 10 years)

    For Blogs on Other Subjects See
  • Sleuth For The Truth (Free Background Checks)
  • Christian-SOS (Just Jesus!)

Find Company Emails of The Top Decision Makers

Let’s not kid ourselves. Finding a company email address is rarely easy. Sure, if you’re lucky enough, you can get to their customer service department. But what if you want to write to the top decision makers?

How can you reach the vice president you charmed at the coffee shop? Yes, the one who’s desperate for your resume, even though she doesn’t know it yet.

Or what about the home improvement contractor who never repaired your leaky basement? You paid their outrageous bill for $3,200, dutifully screamed at their voicemail, and then followed up with frantic texts for them to finish the job . But for reasons most mysterious, they can never find the time to return your calls. Or for that matter, to return your money.

Don’t let a mean ole website keep you from the big shots. And don’t waste your time yelling at a company voicemail. Here are the tricks to find company emails. Now you can send the VP at Starbucks your stellar resume.

Or if you like, you can email your home repair guy about the terrible dream you just had. Yes, the one where you take him to court, ruin his reputation, and then revoke his contractor’s license.

Live Search in Action! Contacting the Top Decision Makers in AquaGuard

AquaGuard is a midsized to large roofing and waterproofing company in Georgia, also known as AquaGuard Foundation Solutions. According to Zoominfo.com, it has about 243 employees.

Now suppose you wanted to email the owners of AquaGuard but couldn’t find their contact info on the AquaGuard website. For the moment, I will assume you knew that the owner of AquaGuard is Thomas DiGregorio (Tom DiGregorio). And that unlike me, you found him simply by scrolling down their homepage or looking at their “contact us” page.

Or perhaps you couldn’t find his name there so you got it through the free corporate filings at the GA Secretary of State. Indeed, it was here I learned that Thomas DiGregorio also owns AquaGuard Properties, LLC, AquaGuard Water Proofing Contractors, Inc. and probably even AquaGuard Roofing Solutions, LLC.

Note that while the AquaGuard website also lists Joe Rusk as a co-owner, I was unable to confirm such through official government records.

The Low Hanging Fruit (Free Email Extractors)
There are two types of free email extractors. First there’s the typical free people searches that pull up emails along with other data. I recommend Cyberbackgroundchecks.com or using Fastpeoplesearch.com as a backup.

Just enter the person’s name and state and scroll down for emails. Some sites, even allow you to search by a person’s cell phone number or old email address for similar results.

Second, there’s the websites where you type in a web address to see a collection of company emails.

For smaller companies like AquaGuard, it could mean you find the email address of the owner, vice president, or talent recruiter. But for big companies like Microsoft or Amazon, there’s much less a chance of that.

But don’t fret on this. If you know the name of your contact, you can guess their email address simply by looking at the format of all the other email addresses on the list.

Note, each site may require you type in the address in a different format. So with AquaGuard as an example, you may need to enter it as:
aquaguard.net. or
www.aquaguard.net
or
https://www.aquaguard.net

Using CyberbackgroundChecks.com To Hunt for Business Emails
With CyberbackgroundChecks, you simply search for the owner’s name along with their state. When I did this for “Tom Digregorio” and Georgia, I found the emails of two of his active businesses below.

Using Email-format.com To Get Emails from the AquaGuard Website
My next step was to use Email-Format.com to search for other emails associated with AquaGuard.

When I typed in aquaguard.net I found these additional emails below. People come and go in large companies, so look for the newest confirmed email addresses. (See those I highlighted in yellow.)

Be sure to Google these to see if you can get their full names as well. To see if they’re still any good, you can also plug these into an email verifier. But always Google them as well. Email verifiers aren’t perfect.

Another way to find the names of key players is to do a Google search within signalhire.com. See below. Note: You must replace Aquaguard and Georgia with the specifics for your company, but leave all else the same. As noted below, be sure to ignore all the Google ads.

The great thing about the Signal Hire website is that it lists the names of employees along with their job titles! It won’t reveal their email addresses, but you can always find these through Google and the other sites already mentioned.

Sending the Email When You Don’t Know Which Address Is Valid
Sometimes, such as when lodging a serious complaint, you don’t want them to know you’re just guessing at their contact information. To hide this fact, simply email yourself and put all the numerous other email addresses in the “bcc” box. So, if the recipient gets your email, they’ll only see your address and assume you knew theirs all along. And once they respond, you certainly will!

Still Can’t Find Their Email? Then Get Them To Contact You!
Many businesses enjoy top ratings with the Better Business Bureau. And even those that don’t will often hate to see bad reviews posted online.

So if you can’t reach them directly, simply look up the company by name or phone number in the Better Business Bureau Complaint Database. After you lodge a complaint, the BBB will contact the business and encourage the business to get in touch with you. Often this works far better than simply suing them in court.

Note that if you can’t find a business using the BBB Complaint Database, try Googling the business with “BBB.” Sometimes Google works better at finding BBB complaints than even the Better Business Bureau! And once you see the write up, look for how you can file your own complaint.

Free Resources

For free links to find corporate and personal emails check out
Find Email Addresses (Consumer-SOS)

Related Blogs

New York Seniors:_How To Break A Lease Under RPL 227-A

Blog Index

  • What The Law Allows
  • Who The Law Applies To
  • Moving Into Senior Housing or Living With A Family Member
  • What The Doctor’s Note Must Say
  • Other Required Documentation
  • Notifying Your Landlord: How & When To Send Notice
  • Sample Notice Email (Should also Mail to be safe)
  • Hand Deliveries: Sample Form For Agent To Sign (Showing Notice Was Received)
  • The Actual Statute: New York Real Property Law 227-a (With Highlights)
  • Getting Help Through an Advocate

I am New Yorker who moved to Atlanta long ago. I would never have written this, until my mom needed to move to Georgia because of serious medical issues.  Sadly, the law on breaking a lease is extremely confusing, even for consumer rights lawyers like myself. So here’s a stab at making it simple for you and your loved ones.

What The Law Allows
The law is called “Termination of residential lease by senior citizens or individuals with a disability moving to a residence of a family member or entering certain health care facilities, adult care facilities or housing projects”(New York Property Law 227-a).

It allows a person 62 or over to break their New York lease if they have a medical issue that affects their ability to live independently. However, the senior must be moving into senior housing, or other qualified housing, or the home of a family member. AND the senior must provide timely notice and all the documentation required by this statute.

In short, the senior must follow every jot and tittle of the law or they could lose another month’s rent and possibly forfeit their security deposit.

Once the senior meets all the requirements under New York law, the landlord must legally end the lease, refund their security deposit, and cannot charge any more rent or fees in lieu of rent.

Note that New York law trumps a New York lease. This means the senior can walk away Scot-free even if the lease has penalties for early termination or other more stringent requirements for giving notice. But to be safe, I recommend you follow both the law and lease when giving notice of termination.

Who The Law Applies To
The law applies to people of any age who are disabled as defined by NY EXC Article 15 § 292(21).

The law also applies to seniors who are at least 62 years old or will be age 62 during the lease term. It extends to the senior’s spouse and their dependents (even if younger than 62). So everyone gets out of the lease, not just the senior. This makes sense as families should be allowed to stick together.

The Senior Must Move In With A Family Member or Into Qualified Senior Housing
The senior can’t break the lease simply to move elsewhere. Rather, the senior must move in with a family member or into qualified senior housing. Qualified senior housing does not just include nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The statute actually allows the senior to move into “any complex erected for the specific purpose of housing senior citizens.”  In other words, even an independent living facility will qualify.

A Doctor’s Note Must Show A Medical Issue Exists To Justify The Move
Under RPL 227-a, the senior must have a doctor certify that the senior is “no longer able, for medical reasons, to live independently in such premises” and the senior either:

Requires “assistance with instrumental activities of daily living;
or
Requires “assistance with personal activities of daily living.”

The law does not require that the senior be so impaired that they must move into assisted living or a nursing home. As stated earlier, the senior can move into independent living as well.

Key is that:

  • There are medical reasons why the senior cannot live independently in their current premises;
  • The senior requires some assistance (even if very small) with either personal or instrumental activities in their day to day living.
  • The doctor’s note makes clear these three points above, (preferably by using the exact language found in the law, e.g. the terms marked in red.)

Example of Not Being Able To Live Independently in Their Current Premises
My mom is a senior over the age of 62 who lives in Midtown Manhattan. She is visually impaired and keeps falling down the step between her living room and dining room.

When she has to go buy groceries, she must risk her life to cross the street in heavy midtown traffic. Thus, her poor vision is a medical reason why she cannot live independently in her current  premises. For all I know, she may magically be able to live independently in an apartment without steps, or move somewhere safer in a quiet, low traffic part of Queens. But the statute only requires that she cannot live independently in her current apartment.

Example of Personal or Instrumental Activities
Likewise, my mom has trouble putting on her makeup or reading the labels on her medicines. Either of these could be deemed personal or instrumental, and that should be enough. It is not a tough standard to meet. But a doctor’s note is mandatory.

Required Documents under New York Real Property Law 227-a.

If the senior is moving in with a relative, send the landlord:

  1. The doctor’s note (does not need to be notarized);
  2. A notarized statement by a family member that the senior will be living with them for at least 6 months;
  3. A notice of termination letter as required by your lease (Optional but highly recommended though the law should trump any lease notice requirements.)

If the senior is moving directly into senior housing, send the landlord:

  1. The doctor’s note (does not need to be notarized);
  2. A copy of the signed or executed contract or lease with the senior housing facility;
  3. A notice of termination letter as required by your lease (Optional but highly recommended though the law should trump any lease notice requirements.)

When and How To Send A Termination Notice under RPL 227-a
Your termination date (the date you can get out of your lease) all depends on the date your landlord receives your written notice. It is not determined by when you sent the notice. The exception is if you mail it. (see Mailing Your Notice for details).

For when to send notice, scroll down to “HOW LATE CAN MY LANDLORD RECEIVE MY TERMINATION NOTICE WITHOUT PENALTY?

Notice Can Be Sent by Mail, Email, or Hand Delivery
There is nothing in the statute that restricts how you can send a termination notice. It can be sent by mail, email, certified mail, hand delivery or passenger pigeon.  Key is being able to prove the landlord received it prior to the deadline. So keep a paper trail of all you do.

Mailing Your Notice
RPL 227-a contemplates that a mailed letter may not be responded to or signed for. So if you decide to mail your landlord the notice letter, “notice shall be deemed delivered five days after mailing.”

This five day mailing rule means you best send it at least FIVE DAYS EARLIER THAN if it was hand delivered or emailed. The better approach is to send it certified mail, return receipt requested. Then you’ll have proof that it was received on time. However, IF NO ONE SIGNS FOR YOUR LETTER, follow up with an email or hand delivery so the landlord has it before the notice deadline.

Emailing Your Notice
For emailed notices, ask the landlord in your email to send a reply email once notice is received. (See sample email below)

You may want to copy two or three people just in case the leasing manager is on vacation or on maternity leave. Sometimes names and email addresses can be found on your lease or on the Landlord’s website. If not, there’s always Google. Or you can call the leasing office and ask for a contact name and email address.

Don’t forget to attach all the required documentation. To be safe, be sure to blind copy yourself on the email and double check that you received all the required attachments.

IF NO ONE RESPONDS TO YOUR EMAIL, don’t wait until after the notice deadline. If the deadline is today or tomorrow, BE SURE TO ALSO HAND DELIVER OR MESSENGER THE NOTICE SO THAT IT WON’T ARRIVE LATE. Then follow up with another email stating you just delivered notice.

Hand Delivering Your Notice
If the notice is hand delivered, make sure the landlord or agent signs a dated confirmation sheet so you can prove it was received at least 30 days before your desired termination date. See a sample below.

IF NO ONE WILL SIGN, use your smart phone to take a dated time stamped photo of the person and your document, so it’s clear notice was delivered. Also immediately send a follow up email with all the documents attached stating you delivered notice to X but no one would sign for it. In your email ask for them to confirm notice. Be sure to blind copy yourself on the email and double check that you sent them all the attached documents.

HOW LATE CAN MY LANDLORD RECEIVE MY TERMINATION NOTICE WITHOUT PENALTY?

Making Sense of the Strange Termination Language Found in RPL 227-a(1)
The earliest termination date that you can have (without penalty) is one that is at least 30 days after your next rent payment (the rent payment that follows the date the landlord received your notice letter.) So don’t plan on giving notice in October so that you can leave in November. If you do this, the law will not protect you.

That said, if your rent is payable on the first of every month, be safe, and always give written notice at least 36 days before the date you will be stuck paying rent for an unwanted month. (For mailing you want to include the 5 extra days notice plus 1 day of padding, in case you miscalculated.)

So if you don’t want to pay rent due on December 1st, make sure the landlord receives your notice no later than October 26th. Click here for a move out date calculator where you can add or subtract days to determine notice and termination dates.

If you hand deliver the letter or email it, you may be able to get away with just 31 days notice. (30 days plus 1 day of padding in case you miscalculated.)

Notice Received Anywhere In October Means Lease Can Terminate Before December 1st
So, say you wish to move out before December 1st and your rent is due on the first of every month. In that case, the landlord could get your notice on October 1st or October 31st. And either way, your termination letter is effective by November 30th at the earliest.

In other words, you still must pay one full rent payment after the notice was received. From there you must wait an additional 30 days before the termination is deemed legal. This doesn’t mean of course, that you have to stay in your apartment until November 30th. You can certainly move out earlier-as long as you still pay November’s rent.

Notice Received Anywhere In November Means Lease Can Terminate Before January 1st
Now instead, suppose the landlord received your notice on November 1st rather than in October. This would mean your earliest penalty free termination date would be December 30th.  By law, you would still have to pay the rent for the month afterwards (December’s rent) and also add another 30 days before the termination was effective.

NOTE: THERE’S NOTHING THAT STOPS YOU FROM GIVING MORE THAN THE LEGALLY REQUIRED NOTICE.  BUT NEVER GIVE LESS THAN SUCH or you may forfeit another month’s rent and some or all or your security deposit.

Sample Notice Letter For The Landlord (Email)

Kimberly Quest (Person listed in Lease for Sending Notice)
cc: Amy Pullman (Back up person in case Ms. Quest doesn’t respond)
Subject: Carla Freedman Tenant Termination Notice per New York Real Property Law §227-a

If Sending By Mail:
Northmoor Leasing (Name of NY Landlord)
(use landlord address listed in Lease For Sending Notice of Termination or other required notice)

Dear Ms. Quest

My name is Graham Firestone and I am the son of Carla  Freedman. This letter is to provide the required 30 day’s notice that on or before November 30th, 2019, Carla Freedman will be moving into The Renaissance on Peachtree, located at 3755 Peachtree Rd, Atlanta, GA 30319, which is deemed long term senior housing per New York Real Property Law §227-a.

My mother is slowly going blind and has extreme difficulty with even ordinary life activities. She is also prone to falls, which makes it unwise for her to live alone in an apartment with stairs between the entry way and her living room.

Attached is a doctor’s note which certifies that Carla Freedman is 71 years old, nearly blind and for medical reasons is no longer able to live independently in her apartment. Also attached is a copy of the lease at Renaissance on Peachtree. Please email me within 24 hours to confirm receipt of this notice and contact me immediately if you have any questions or concerns.

Best regards,

Graham Firestone

515 Wyncourtney Drive NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30328

C 867-5309
H 678-587-9228

Sample Proof of Receipt For Hand Delivery

Make sure the landlord’s agent prints their name, signs and dates the form below. (You can have them sign two copies if you like, one for their records and one for your own.)

I confirm that I work for Northmoor Apartments and have received from Carla Freedman, tenant of apartment 4B, the following documents:

A doctor’s letter;

A lease from Happy Hills Senior Housing; and

A notice letter dated October 31, 2019.

_______________
Printed Name

_______________
Signature

_______________
Date


Getting Help Through An Advocate

OK. So you did everything right but the landlord still won’t return your security deposit. Now is the time to call an advocate. Or perhaps many advocates. But first, why not give the landlord just one more chance to do the right thing. After all, if it works, you won’t have to risk using the heavy guns.

Keep in mind that big landlords are usually more sensitive to publicity while the smaller landlords are more sensitive to lawsuits.  So if you’ve been treated unfairly, you’ve got to speak their love language. You must demonstrate that the cheapest, easiest and best course of action, is for them to follow the law , let you out of the lease, and return your security deposit.

Talking To Small Time Landlords
Some landlords are individuals who rent out their homes, or slumlords who may depend on word of mouth rather than advertising. These are usually more prone to responding to legal pressure rather than bad publicity. Therefore consider going straight to the Government, Non-Profit and  and Legal help agencies listed below.

Talking To Big Landlords (Apartment Buildings)
Apartment buildings have leasing managers, leasing directors, lawyers and public relations directors. If you know their motivation, you’ll know how to persuade them.

Your leasing manager and leasing director want to keep their jobs and get yearly bonuses. Often these things depend directly on the apartment building having a high occupancy rate. If lots of apartments suddenly become empty. that’s going to look bad for them.

Similarly, the public relations director also thinks about low and high occupancy rates. Their job is to promote the landlord’s good public image OR to protect the landlord from a bad public image. So the last thing they need is for a media explosion to occur because they didn’t jump quick enough to stop it.

Lawyers
The lawyers for your landlord are another matter. Lawyers think mostly about losing or winning lawsuits.  And chances are they are quite good at such things. 

What their lawyers are not good at (what they’re absolutely terrified of) is controlling and containing the absolute chaos that will erupt when your story gets out to the media, the government regulatory agencies and the non profits.  Lawyers know the courts. But most are helpless before the court of public opinion. So don’t fool with their lawyers. And don’t waste your breath yelling about how much you can sue them for.

Explaining Their Exposure In Terms of Viewers & Circulation Instead, simply email your leasing manager and leasing director that you need your deposit back immediately. Otherwise, your next step is to spread the word to other would be renters through (Channel X, Channel Y and newspaper Z).

Inform them that your goal  is to guarantee that everyone in New York knows how badly they mistreat seniors. (Including the disability rights groups) And that this publicity will cause their vacancy rates to skyrocket for years to come so they lose 1000 times more than your meager security deposit.

Be sure to copy the Public Relations Director and leave your phone number. She may be calling you shortly.

Don’t forget to provide a list of the TV stations, newspapers and government agencies you will be contacting.  If you list the # of viewers each TV station has,  and the circulation (# of readers) for each magazine or newspaper, it may drive home just how bad this thing is going to get.

To avoid looking like you’re just ranting and raving, keep it to about 3 TV stations, 3 newspapers and 3 magazines. Then add in a few of the non profits and government agencies for good measure. DO NOT FORGET TO LIST THE # OF VIEWERS and # OF READERS NEXT TO EACH MEDIA SOURCE.

In your email, feel free to explain the key buzz words that are sure to make media headlines. “80 year old grandmother,” “disabled senior,” “nearly deaf,” “nearly blind,” “can barely walk,” “must use a walker/cane,” “stumbles and falls,”  can’t safely cross the street,” “suffers from dementia,” “just needs to be with family,” …”x million seniors live in NYC,” “y million Seniors in NY State.”

Also explain that you will file a complaint with the NY Attorney General and Department of Aging so they can continue to monitor how seniors are treated in the future.

If none of this works, your next step is to reach out to the Senior Advocates below.

Senior Advocates

GOVERNMENT & NON PROFITS

TV STATIONS, NEWSPAPERS & MAGAZINES

Media Facts

Legal Help (Mostly Low Income To Qualify)

The New York Statute

Section 227-A Termination of residential lease by senior citizens or individuals with a disability moving to a residence of a family member or entering certain health care facilities, adult care facilities or housing projects.

(Age, DR’s Certification, Qualified Senior Housing, Release of Lease Liability)


(Advance Notice, Documents Needed, Long Term Stay With A Family Member)

Car Dealers & Illegal Dealer Fees (Georgia)

So you really dig the Honda Civic you saw advertised for $7100 online. But at the dealership you suddenly learn its take home price is now $8100. This really happened to me and I was furious. Turns out, the sales guy wanted to charge me an additional $599 “dealer fee” along with the taxes and title fees.

So what are dealer fees?  Can car dealers legally tack them on to the price they advertised?  The answer to the last question is NO. This practice is totally illegal in Georgia (See dealer fee restrictions in GA and other states).

A dealer’s fee is nothing more than a clever way for a car salesman to grab your money. Dealer fees may show up as “administrative fees,” “document fees,” “processing fees,” or “customer service fees,. They could also be called reconditioning or “recon fees”, or “protection fees” etc.  It’s all left to the car dealer’s imagination.  Bottom Line: A dealer fee is any non-governmental fee a car dealer tacks on.

Dealer fees are not per se illegal. Georgia law allows car dealers to charge whatever they like for these fees. But here’s the catch! It’s TOTALLY ILLEGAL to advertise a price and then tack these fees on later. THAT’S RIGHT! The price they show you must include any and all dealer fees or they’re ripping you off! This pricing requirement extends to any advertised price in any medium. So if they advertised the car for $7100, the law says this price must include all dealer fees. The car dealer can’t slip them in later. Even if their website disclaimer says “price does not include dealer fees.”

So if Stone Mountain Toyota decides to show you a computer screen showing the car’s price, they’ve published it! The only fees they can add to this price are the fees they must pay the government.

Other types of charges that MUST be included in the vehicle’s advertised price include “freight charges”, “transportation charges”, “destination charges”, “dealer preparation charges”, “overhead charges”, and any other terms of similar import.

Fees New and Used Car Dealers Don’t Have To Include In The Price
The only fees dealers DON’T have to list in the advertised price are government fees, which include tax, tag, title, Georgia Lemon Law, and Warranty Rights Act (“WRA”) fees. The GA Lemon Law fee is just $3 and applies only to new vehicles.

So be sure to ask the car salesman “What’s the full price when I walk out the door.” And don’t let them get away with tacking on dealer fees not already included in the advertised price.

How To Verify You’re Not Being Overcharged For Government Fees
If government fees are being added to the price of the car, be sure to ask what each fee is for and how it was calculated. You can ask them “Is this the exact amount you pay the government or is it more than that?” If the dealer inflates the title fee or tax amount, it’s nothing but an illegal dealer fee in disguise.

Don’t confuse the government’s title fee of $18 with the more expensive “Titling Fee” often charged by new and used car dealers. The latter is often five times the amount charged by the state. So the dealer’s titling fee also needs to part of the published price of the car. It can’t be extra.

Government Fees The Dealer Can Add To The Price Of The Car

Government Title Fees=$18. See DOR Title/Tag Application
($50 titling Fee=Deceptive per GA. Gov Auto Informer 2020)

GA License Plate Fees= $20 (car or light pickup truck)

GA Lemon Law Fee=$3

Ad Valorem (Sales Tax): To know the exact taxes the dealer must pay,  simply enter the car’s vehicle identification number into the Georgia Department of Revenue’s Ad Valorem Calculator.

Examples of Legal And Illegal Dealer Fees

ILLEGAL The car is advertised for $7,100 with a $600 dealer fee not included.  But a big disclaimer says THIS PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE DEALER FEES”. Illegal (all dealer fees must be included in price).

LEGAL An old beat up car is advertised for $7,100. Price includes dealer service charge of $599 and “title service” fee of $198. Legal (both fees are steep but allowed because they are part of the car’s published price and not added as an extra fee).

ILLEGAL The car is advertised for $7,100. Price includes dealer service charge of $599 but not title service fee of $98. Illegal as the actual title fee charged by the government is less than $98 (dealer fee in disguise).

The Advertised Price Must Include  Options Already Installed or Those Things “You’re Required To Have” to  Buy The Vehicle

ILLEGAL “A dealer policy where all new vehicles must receive a paint protection package and vehicle floor mats for an additional $1,000. (illegally forces you to pay an extra  fee beyond the published price or you can’t buy the vehicle).

ILLEGAL A car dealership  website invites you to click a button on the website, and communicate with your dealership in order to receive a special “E-Price.” This “E-Price” does not include your mandatory dealership fee which is tacked on later.  The “E-Price” must include all required non-government charges, including your dealer fee, according to The Georgia Department of Law-Consumer Protection Unit (CPU).

ILLEGAL “This car has a GPS built in so you need to pay an additional $200 beyond what was advertised.”  Not by a long shot! Like any other dealer fee, if this option is  already installed,  this “dealer addendum charge” must be included in the advertised vehicle price.

So when the dealer gives you a line on how “the rules require” a particular option to be installed, or “it has already been installed”, you get to tell them, “Great! The rules also say it’s you who will eat the cost! Now remove the charge!”

Negotiating The Best Deal With Your Car Dealership
(and convincing them not to back out once you expose them)

If you tell the sales person upfront about the illegal dealer fees, two things may happen:

  1. The dealer may not sell you the car;
  2. The dealer may remove the illegal dealer fees but then jack the price up with other fees/offer you second rate discounts.
    For example: To recoup their losses, the dealer could decide to lower the price of your trade in,  give you a terrible deal on auto  financing and warranties, or jack up their insurance or other service products. 

To be safe, DO NOT OBJECT TO THEIR ILLEGAL FEES UNTIL THE END WHEN THE DEALER HAS PRESENTED YOU WITH THE PAPERWORK LISTING ALL THEIR DISCOUNTS AND CHARGES. Yes, ask to see their final paperwork so that you know your absolute takeaway costs.

This is the time to make sure the dealer won’t back out when you expose them. They may try to do so simply because the deal is no longer a moneymaker. To ensure the deal goes through:

  1. Circle the illegal dealer fees, illegal add ons, and anything else illegal;
  2. Quickly take a photo of the finance page with your circles: Make sure to get their logo or anything else that proves this is from their car dealership;
  3. Object to the fees, and give the dealer the 3 pre printed, highlighted copies of the GA Department of Law pamphlets found in this blog under the Georgia Law section (listed under YOUR TOOLBOX: Helpful Resources)
    Better yet: Use their business card to email or text them. Be sure to attach the snapshot of the illegal fees along with the links to the GA law brochures. (might get the sales person personally on the hook by proving they knew of the illegality.)
  4. If the dealer still won’t sell you the car, no need to raise your voice or make empty threats. Simply explain that they are all on legal notice. They have wasted your valuable time, padded the bill with almost a thousand dollars in illegal fees, and you need to warn the whole state of GA so they won’t become victims. IF YOU WON’T SELL ME THE CAR SANS THE ILLEGAL FEES, I’LL SIMPLY SPREAD THE WORD BY SENDING THIS TEXT/EMAIL TO THE GA DEPARTMENT OF LAW, THE BBB COMPLAINT DATABASE, FOX 5, and WSB  NEWS.  I’LL ALSO SEND IT TO THE VARIOUS AUTO FRAUD CLASS ACTION ATTORNEYS WHO WILL ADVERTISE THIS ONLINE  SO THEY CAN ROUND UP ALL THE OTHER VICTIMS  AND SUE YOU FOR MILLIONS.
  5. THE CHOICE IS YOURS  BUT PLEASE DECIDE IN THE NEXT FIVE MINUTES. I’VE WASTED ENOUGH TIME HERE.

Help For Victims Who Were Cheated with Illegal Dealer Fees

You’ve heard that the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Well, mamma was right! Big companies including car dealerships are extremely sensitive to bad publicity.

But it’s best to use a flyswatter before you use dynamite. Your first step should be to contact the general manager and get them to fix the problem. After all, if you were in charge, wouldn’t you want people to come to you first, rather than go over your head?

But sometimes it’s necessary to go beyond the GM and even beyond the owner of the dealership.

For example: Say you were cheated by a dealership like
Nalley Infiniti or Stone Mountain Toyota, and the general manager doesn’t return your calls. These dealerships have to worry not only about their own reputation, but also about the reputation of Infiniti or Toyota (which allows them to sell their brand name cars).

So in the above example: if the franchise finds out the dealership is besmirching their good name, guess what happens? It means that the dealership could lose their right to sell Toyotas or Infinitis! That would cost them a lot more than a thousand dealer fees.

Keep that in mind if you think the dealership is not playing fair with you.  Your next step may be to call Toyota’s or Infiniti’s pubic relations department. You can bet they’ll be keenly interested in what the dealer is doing with their good name.
(In case you’re wondering, Infiniti is owned by Nissan; Toyota Stone Mountain is owned by Sonic Automotive.)

If this doesn’t work, try your local TV station for even more exposure. Be sure to Google if the car dealer has had prior complaints.  Reporters eat this up. You can also lodge a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.  A little bad press can give your dealer a seven figure lesson on freakenomics.

And don’t forget our government friends. You can also contact the GA Department of Law (404-651-8600) regarding any Fair Business Practices Act violation of the above. The GA Department of Law is part of the GA Attorney General’s office. They have the power to fine a crooked dealer and shut them down.

Finally, if you’re really really mad, find a class action lawyer who will gather other angry plaintiffs who have also been cheated.

I’d do this last, because if it were me, I’d first sue in the court of public opinion so the dealership would immediately lose millions and millions. But if you simply want your money back, it may be worth your while to deal with them pesky lawyers.

Getting Proof They’re Cheating Others
It’s always good to have proof this is not an isolated incident. After all, repeat offenses could peak the interest of the media or your U.S. or  local representative. First try Googling  the name of the dealership with any of the following words:
Complaint
BBB
Fraud
Deceptive

For example, you could paste in Google all these terms in red: “Nalley Infiniti” complaint OR fraud OR BBB OR unfair OR deceptive. You could also do the same search of complaint OR fraud OR BBB OR unfair OR deceptive with “Stone Mountain Toyota” or  “Hodges Ford.”

Also, be sure to monitor your dealer for further wrongdoing through Google Alerts.  Yes, you can create a Google Alert with the same terms as above so future complaints appear in your email in box!

Next, fax an open records request to the Georgia Department of Law so they can email you a printout of any allegations of fraud against the dealership. You can fax (not email or text) these requests to 404-651-9018.  If the request is simple, they’ll email you the results in just 3 business days. (free of charge). I just verified this with a lawyer who works there!

Sample Open Records Requests To Fax The GA Dept. of Law
“In regards to Gravity Auto throughout the state of GA, please send me a list of all  complaints against them in the last three years (formal or informal, substantiated or merely alleged) that involved deceptive pricing.”

“In Regards To Nalley Infiniti, please list any fines or settlements in the last three years that relate to deceptive practices.”

Making The Story More Newsworthy

Aside from how you were cheated, your story will gain more traction if you can show reporters that virtually every driver has or will become a victim.

The facts and figures below show the number of people who buy new and used cars from dealerships, and how much $ the dealerships make from selling these cars. Dishonest dealerships are a problem for everyone. This issue affects the rich, the poor, the elderly, the disabled, immigrants, democrats, republicans, the black, the white, Latinos and anyone who buys a new or used car from a GA dealer.

New Cars Sales Statistics & Market Size By Model in The US

  • 6 million more new cars on the road each year (sold by a dealer who may be ripping off consumers)
  • Sales Broken down by type or MFG
  • US Auto Sales By Year (from 1999-2018)
  • Top Ten Cars bought in 2019
  • 281 million cars registered in the US (prediction for 2019)

Total # of Licensed Drivers By State (2017)
With 3.5 million annual registrations, Georgia ranks in the top 8 of all 50 states.

Sales of Used Cars By Dealers in GA (2014-2019)

Your Toolbox: Helpful Resources Below To Stop False or Misleading Car Dealers and Crooked Auto Dealerships

 Georgia Law

Georgia Consumer Protection Division (Formerly The GA Dept. of Law) 404-651-8600
Complaints filed with this office alleging fraud may form the basis for an investigation into a company’s business practices. A significant quantity of complaints about a business may give rise to legal action—not on behalf of the individual complainants, but to enforce state law.

Georgia Auto Informer Government Pamphlets Below
The Georgia Department of Law-Consumer Protection Unit enforces the Georgia’s Fair Business Practices Act (FBPA) which prohibits unfair and deceptive acts or practices within the context of consumer transactions. These news letters are part of their efforts to raise awareness among auto dealers and advertisers regarding the FBPA, as well as the GA Government’s Auto Advertising and Sales Practices Enforcement Policies (AAEP).  Although the policies found in the AAEP are not actual law, they highlight those industry practices that the GA government considered to be unfair and deceptive, and thus violations of the FBPA.

What’s The Deal With Dealer Fees (Government Pamphlet Issue #12) Governor’s office of Consumer Protection newsletter: a dealer’s claim of ignorance or confusion regarding this matter will not mitigate OCP’s actions for noncompliance.  In 2013, Fox 5 Atlanta conducted numerous undercover visits to Atlanta area dealers in order to investigate dealer compliance with this policy. All of the dealers visited during these undercover shops were adding fees to advertised prices.

Pricing Representations: Dealer Fees, Options & Discounts  (Government Pamphlet issue #13) 1/22/16
Georgia Department of Law’s new bulletin: Advertised vehicle prices must include all non-government charges that a consumer is required to pay in order to purchase a vehicle, including but not limited to, dealer fees, previously installed dealer options, and electronic titling fees. Only taxes, tag, title, and Lemon Law fees may be added to this price. This pricing requirement extends to any advertised price in any medium, but most commonly becomes an issue on your dealer website or a third party site such as Autotrader.

GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LAW: AUTO ADVERTISING AND SALES PRACTICES ENFORCEMENT POLICIES (2007)
Learn how the GA Dept of law determines what is deceptive and illegal in regard to automobile advertising and auto sales. This agency enforces the Fair Business Practice Act (FBPA) which protects consumers against tacking on to the sales price, things like illegal dealer fees, and dealer add ons, like “mandatory safety treatments”, etc.

GA Law On Mandatory Arbitration Clauses (Forum Selection Clauses)
In 2022 it’s still touch and go. The courts still have some leeway to decide that a clause forcing you to arbitrate (forbidding court or a class action law suit) are void.  And some dealerships do not have these clauses in their contract anyway.  Every case can turn on the facts, the judge or the jurisdiction. So consult an experienced GA class action attorney.

Select Dealerships: (Their Public Relations and Franchise Owners)

Stone Mountain Toyota is owned by Sonic Automotive. To report wrongdoing to Toyota Media Relations, contact Karen Nielsen, Corporate Communications (469) 292-2659. The General Manager of Stone Mountain Toyota is Steve Crane (or Steven Crane).
See also Reviews and Complaints against Stone Mountain Toyota.
 

TV Stations, Magazines, Blogs & Legal Help


FOX 5 Call For Action 404-879-4500
 Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m
Volunteers at Fox 5 Call for Action center try to resolve your problem by calling the bad auto dealer to work it out. Bad car dealers may want to respond to them, because if, not, their story could soon be on FOX news. Be sure to explain to the volunteer how many millions this affects so the story will interest a reporter, This will help the volunteer feel more confident to forward your story to a reporter if the car dealership remains uncooperative.

WSB News (Channel 2)
Nicole Carr (nicole.carr@wsbtv.com)
(She’s done prior news stories on crooked car dealers)
See also newstip@wsbtv.com (general inbox for WSB)

WXIA-11 Alive 404-892-1611
Call in or fill out their form.

FOX 5 Atlanta
News Crew
In 2013, Fox news did undercover sting operations exposing crooked car dealerships.

Find Your Local TV station
Here are links to the local TV stations near you!

AutoDealer (Publishes Deceptive Car Dealership Practices) Use them to give the dealer negative publicity, or to explain to the dealer what you will do if they don’t play fair.  

Top Ten Car Magazines
Perhaps they’ll do a story on your dealer’s misconduct.  

Top Auto Blogs
A post in the right place will spread the word to other car buyers.  

Better Business Bureau. (GA)
Warn other victims. Get the word out so car a dealer’s wrongdoing appears in Google searches.

GA Consumer Protection Division (Formerly The Ga Department of Law)
This is the enforcement division of the Georgia Attorney General’s office.

Federal Trade Commission
Regulates auto financing and false advertising.

GA Class Action Lawyers (Lawyers For Auto Fraud)
Even if you’ve been cheated only a little bit, the dollars add up when thousands like you have also been defrauded. Class action lawyers can file a mega lawsuit that punches the crooked dealer in the pocket book. Car dealers must learn that charging illegal doc fees, security fees and other illegal markups ain’t worth the trouble.

Georgia Auto Fraud Attorneys

Consumer Advocacy To Report Safety Issues Or Shady Dealings

Great resources for when you’ve been taken advantage of by your manufacturer or dealer, or if there’s a serious defect with your vehicle.

https://www.carcomplaints.com/resources/advocacy/

https://www.carconsumers.org/wheretocomplain.htm

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