Maine AG settles lawsuit against auto dealer

Bryan Cohen Jan. 23, 2012, 1:48pm


AUGUSTA, Maine (Legal Newsline) - Maine Attorney General William Schneider announced a settlement on Friday with Berlin City Auto Group of Portland to resolve allegations of unfair and deceptive warranty and remedy disclaimers.

The unfair trade practice consent decree was approved on Jan. 5 by the Kennebec Superior Court and prohibits the Berlin City Auto Group from telling customers that the manufacturer and not the dealer are responsible for a serious defect in a new car. While the company did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement, it did agree to inform past new car purchasers that the alleged implied remedy and warranty disclaimers have been retracted.

In addition, Berlin City Auto Group customers who were allegedly improperly turned down may seek reimbursement for the repair of serious defects. The company also agreed to pay a $5,000 civil penalty under the terms of the settlement.

"One of the most important consumer rights in Maine law says that if you are sold a seriously defective product, the seller or the manufacturer has to repair it," Schneider said. "The dealer is required to share the responsibility for repair if a new car sold to a consumer turns out to have serious problems."

The Maine implied warranty law protects consumers as long as four years after the purchase of all personal or household goods, excluding used cars.

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