Dow settles with auto repair chain

Nick Rees May 3, 2010, 3:19pm


NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow announced a $250,000 settlement on Monday with an auto repair chain alleged to have charged consumers for repair work that was not actually performed.

In addition to the $250,000 payment, Brake-O-Rama, under terms of the consent judgment, will revise its business practices. The company had allegedly advertised and sold motor vehicle inspection services despite not being licensed to perform inspections by the state Motor Vehicle Commission.

"We will act, as we did in this matter, when we believe New Jersey consumers have been taken advantage of and our consumer protection laws are violated," Dow said. "Particularly, in these tough financial times, every dollar matters to the consumer."

As part of the settlement, Brake-O-Rama will pay the state $125,000 in civil penalties as well as reimburse the state for attorneys fees and investigative costs. The remaining $125,000 balance, which represents civil penalties, is suspended for a one-year period.

During the one-year payment suspension period, the state may seek payment of the suspended penalty if Brake-O-Rama fails to comply with terms of the settlement.

Brake-O-Rama made no admission of liability or wrongdoing upon entering into the settlement.

Under terms of the consent judgment, Brake-O-Rama will not engage in the advertisement and/or sale of automotive repair services including, but not limited to, wheel alignments, transmission flushes, power steering flushes and coolant flushes, as Brake-O-Rama lacks the necessary equipment or is unable to perform them.

A notice of consumer rights will be posted in all Brake-O-Ramas under terms of the settlement and all reasonable steps will now be taken to ensure that each and every motor vehicle presented for repairs is evaluated and repaired in a manner consistent with all industry standards.

The settlement follows a lawsuit filed in August against Brake-O-Rama following a series of inspections by investigators from Consumer Affairs.

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