Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Maine’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against a Bangor-based used car dealer for allegedly engaging in deceptive trade practices.
The lawsuit accuses Glenn A. Geiser Jr. and his dealerships – Bangor Car Care, My Maine Ride in Bangor and Bumper2Bumper in Lewiston – of targeting low-income consumers, pressuring them to buy substandard vehicles and then not responding to complaints, according to a news release from the Maine Attorney General’s Office.
“These kinds of practices give Maine businesses a bad name,” Attorney General Janet Mills said in a statement. “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.”
The 18-page complaint, filed in Penobscot County Superior Court in Bangor, details 10 separate alleged violations of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act. They range from making deceptive claims about the quality of vehicles to unlawful sales of unsafe motor vehicles to unlawful response to consumer complaints.
Geiser is well known in Greater Bangor, particularly for his over-the-top television advertisements that often feature him yelling: “Come join the party.”
Joseph Baldacci, Geiser’s attorney, issued a statement Friday that criticized the Attorney General’s Office for publicizing the case.
“We are going to deal with this civil complaint in court and not by press release,” Baldacci said. “Mr. Geiser has sold over 18,000 vehicles – more than any used car dealer in the state – and that would not be possible if these complaints were anywhere near the truth. The attorney general wants to shut down a business with 18 employees before they have even been given their day in court.”
The state is seeking civil penalties of $10,000 for each violation and also is asking for a permanent injunction that would bar Geiser and any entity in which he has an ownership interest from promoting, selling and/or financing used cars.
The AG’s office has received complaints about his car dealerships dating back at least to 2011, according to previously published reports. The Better Business Bureau has logged 41 complaints against Geiser’s businesses within the last three years and rates the dealerships with an F.
Mills said customers at Geiser’s businesses are often shown cars that are not inspected and therefore cannot be test-driven. She said known mechanical defects are not disclosed to consumers, something that is required by state law for used cars. Many customers have had problems with vehicles but when they complain have been met with rude and abusive responses, Mills said. Those customers are often paying as much as 18 percent financing for their vehicles but have few other options because of bad credit or other financial hardships.
Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at: