Maine Attorney General announces lawsuit against used car dealer
AUGUSTA- Attorney General Janet T. Mills announced on Feb. 7 that her office has filed a lawsuit in the Penobscot County Superior Court against Glenn A. Geiser Jr. and his dealerships – Bangor Car Care Inc., Bumper2Bumper Inc. and My Maine Ride – for unfair and deceptive trade practices in connection with the promotion and sale of used cars, according to a press release from Mills' office.
The complaint alleges that the defendants target consumers with poor credit who need financing, pressure them to buy cars that are not road worthy and then not respond to customer complaints. The State is seeking civil penalties and a permanent injunction to bar Geiser and any entity in which he has an ownership interest from promoting, selling and/or financing used cars. The Maine State Police and the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles assisted with the Attorney General’s investigation. The case is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Carolyn Silsby and Linda Conti.
“These kinds of practices give Maine businesses a bad name,” said Attorney General Mills. “Targeting vulnerable people and duping them into buying cars that are not safe not only defrauds the consumer but puts every person traveling our roads at risk. We intend to put a stop to it.”
Typically, consumers at Geiser’s businesses were shown cars that failed to pass inspection so they were unable to be taken out for a test drive. Known mechanical defects were not disclosed to the consumer, as required by state law. When a consumer decided to buy, the defendants completed the financing documents and told the consumer to return at a later date to pick up the car after it has gone into the shop for an inspection sticker. Many consumers already desperate for transportation were unable to get their cars when promised, and some have made payments on cars they did not receive. Some discover after they take delivery that their cars should not have passed inspection. Many cars break down or develop serious mechanical issues soon after purchase, but the defendants refused to fix the problems. The Attorney General’s complaint also alleges that the defendants’ response to consumer complaints is rude and abusive and calculated to discourage consumers from seeking redress. These acts also constitute an unfair trade practice.
Maine law requires used car dealers to post a conspicuous notice that a car is an unsafe motor vehicle if it does not meet Maine’s inspection standards and is displayed for sale. The dealer must also disclose certain information about a used car’s history, including any known mechanical defect, even if it has been repaired, and to obtain written acknowledgement from the buyer. The buyer of an unsafe motor vehicle must tow it from the dealer’s lot.
For information about the Used Car Information Act, or to file a complaint, consumers may contact the Consumer Protection Division online at maine.gov/ag/consumer or by calling 1-800-436-2131.
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