At­tor­ney gen­eral pur­su­ing ac­tion against speed shop

In­junc­tion and penal­ties pos­si­ble

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JOHN WHAR­TON jwhar­ton@somd­

The Mary­land At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s of­fice an­nounced Wed­nes­day its pur­suit of an ad­min­is­tra­tive in­junc­tion and penal­ties against a St. Mary’s speed shop and its pro­pri­etor, who said he’s work- ing to re­solve any is­sues with his cus­tomers.

The at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice al­leged in a re­lease that Mary­land Speed LLC, an on­line re­tailer based in Hol­ly­wood that

spe­cial­izes in the sale of auto parts, ac­cepted “pay­ment for parts that it failed to pro­vide to its cus­tomers, and … re­fus[ed] to is­sue re­funds to pur­chasers.”

The ad­min­is­tra­tive ac­tion fol­lows an ear­lier alert posted on the web­site of the Bet­ter Busi­ness Bu­reau, stat­ing in part that its “files in­di­cate that Mary­land Speed LLC has a pat­tern of com­plaints con­cern­ing a fail­ure to is-

sue re­funds, re­turn calls, pro­vide ef­fec­tive cus­tomer ser­vice, and/or pro­vide or­dered parts. Mary­land Speed’s re­sponses to these com­plaints of­ten re­ferred the con­sumer to its terms and con­di­tions of pur­chase on its web­site with ex­cuses for de­lays.”

The trade mon­i­tor­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion’s “staff con­tacted the busi­ness on July 20, 2018, re­gard­ing the na­ture of com­plaints filed with our of­fice and the lack of ef­fec­tive re­sponses,” the BBB’s web­site states, “how­ever, they have not pro­vided

a re­ply to our re­quest.” This week, BBB’s web­site posted the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s re­lease, de­scrib­ing its claim as al­leg­ing that the parts shop en­gaged in “un­fair and de­cep­tive prac­tices, … which put them in vi­o­la­tion of the Mary­land Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act.”

On Thurs­day morn­ing, Bran­den Farthing, the owner of Mary­land Speed, said, “We’re work­ing to do ev­ery­thing we can to make our cus­tomers happy,” and to re­solve con­cerns in­volv­ing the busi­ness or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“We have been work­ing with the Bet­ter Busi­ness Bu­reau,” Farthing said. “We’re do­ing our best to re­solve com­plaints, … to make sure we don’t have this mov­ing for­ward.”

The at­tor­ney gen­eral’s re­lease al­leges that “af­ter ac­cept­ing cus­tomers’ pay­ments, Mary­land Speed of­ten failed to or­der the pur­chased parts from sup­pli­ers or man­u­fac­tur­ers, failed to ar­range for the de­liv­ery of the pur­chased parts to cus­tomers, and re­fused to re­fund cus­tomers’ pay­ments when re­funds were re­quested.”

In ad­di­tion, the re­lease states that the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion “Di­vi­sion al­leges that Mary­land Speed rep­re­sented that it was an au­tho­rized dealer for sup­pli­ers who, in fact, did not do busi­ness with Mary­land Speed. The Di­vi­sion fur­ther al­leges that Mary­land Speed of­fered false ex­cuses for the de­layed or un­ful­filled or­ders to its cus­tomers, or com­mu­ni­cated to cus­tomers that the prod­ucts were de­layed by the sup­plier when, in fact, Mary­land Speed had failed to place the or­ders with its sup­pli­ers.”

Mary­land Speed’s web­site states that the com­pany “does not im­ply or rep­re­sent it­self as hav­ing any kind of re­la­tion­ship/ af­fil­i­a­tion with the man­u­fac­tur­ers of parts sold on this site un­less ex­pressly stated.”

The at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice’s claim of al­leged vi­o­la­tions of Mary­land’s Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act is set for a hear­ing in early De­cem­ber, the re­lease states, be­fore the Of­fice of Ad­min­is­tra­tive Hear­ings in Bal­ti­more County.

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