BANGOR — A vehicle purchased from My Maine Ride in August that had an inspection sticker but was deemed defective by Maine State Police investigators led to suspensions and charges against Glenn Geiser Jr., 48, of Brewer, the dealership’s owner.
Geiser’s license to inspect vehicles was under suspension when he illegally purchased inspection stickers from an auto shop in Winterport and put them on defective cars he sold at his dealership, a state police investigator said Wednesday.
“One of my inspectors looked at that vehicle and agreed it should not have passed inspection,” said Sgt. Bruce G. Scott of the Maine State Police’s motor vehicle inspection unit, explaining why the used car dealer’s license to issue inspection stickers was originally suspended. “You can’t put a vehicle inspection sticker on a defective vehicle.”
Geiser and the dealership he owns in Bangor both were issued a one-month suspension from issuing inspection stickers on Aug. 13. During the suspension, police discovered Geiser’s dealership continued to inspect vehicles on their lot.
“During the term of inspection license suspension at My Maine Ride, we learned they were still performing inspections,” Scott said. “Knowing they didn’t have inspection stickers because they were under suspension, an investigation was started and we learned he was purchasing inspection stickers from another source and using those at his [inspection] station.”
The auto shop that supplied the inspection stickers also broke the law, according to Scott. He declined to provide the name of the business due to the ongoing investigation. “They received a six-month suspension because of this,” in September, Scott said.
Wigs Auto, at 1516 North Main St., is the only inspection station in Winterport under a six-month suspension, which started in September, according to the state’s motor vehicle inspection unit’s webpage. Regan Young is listed as the owner of the business, according to the town. Attempts to reach Young on Wednesday were unsuccessful and the Main Street property now has several no trespassing signs posted on it. The Winterport business was first allowed to issue inspection stickers in June 2009 and has no prior violations, the motor vehicle inspection unit website states.
“It’s a real inspection sticker but because it was issued not in accordance with the law — because they were suspended — it makes that sticker counterfeit and illegal to put on a vehicle,” Scott said, explaining how My Maine Ride allegedly broke the law. “The number of counts was based on the number of stickers he obtained.”
Geiser was charged with 80 counts of using counterfeit inspection stickers, a Class E crime. He is scheduled to be tried April 9 at the Penobscot Judicial Center. If convicted, Geiser faces up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 on each count.
Because Geiser was charged with a vehicle inspection violation while under suspension, his and the My Maine Ride licenses to issue inspection stickers were revoked in September, Scott said. Because neither appealed the revocation within the 30 days allowed by law, “He’s revoked, the station is revoked and they can’t get it back,” Scott said.
The evidence collected by Scott and other motor vehicle inspection unit officers led the Secretary of State to issue Geiser a 180-day suspension of his license to sell cars on Dec. 20.
Geiser asked the Secretary of State to review its six-month suspension, which was to go into effect on Jan. 6, but the scheduled hearing on Monday was postponed. He will be allowed to continue to sell vehicles at least until the rescheduled suspension hearing on Feb. 26 at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles office at the Airport Mall.
Maine’s attorney general is also suing Geiser for alleged unfair and deceptive trade practices. Attorney General Janet Mills wants 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 attorney general’s 10-count complaint, filed Jan. 31 against Geiser, alleges that he and his three dealerships targeted consumers with poor credit who needed financing, pressured them to buy cars that were not roadworthy and did not respond to customer complaints, according to a press release issued by Mills’ office.
Other complaints over the last 11 years the used car dealerships have been in business in Bangor, Brewer and Lewiston have led to a long list of state-issued penalties, Scott said.
“There have been several sanctions applied against his licenses. There are several suspensions showing over the years,” the state police sergeant said of Geiser and the three used car dealerships with which he has been affiliated. “We have taken disciplinary action that is appropriate. This course of conduct led to the revocation [and subsequent charges].”
Geiser’s and Bangor Car Care’s license to inspect vehicles were suspended for six months in August 2009 and again for a year in March 2011, according to the state’s motor vehicle inspection unit’s webpage. My Maine Ride’s license to issue inspection stickers also was suspended for a month in August 2011, it states.
Bangor Car Care went out of business in June 2012.
The Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s office received 86 complaints in the last 13 months about My Maine Ride, 159 complaints about Bumper2Bumper since 2011, and 539 complaints about Bangor Car Care since 2003.
The Bureau of Motor Vehicle’s investigations office received 514 complaints in 2013, with 96 involving one of the three used car dealerships affiliated with Geiser.
“My Maine Ride comprised 33 of those complaints, eight of which were consumer complaints,” Raphaelle A. Silver, secretary of state spokeswoman, said in a Tuesday email. “The majority of complaints were for ‘warranty of inspectability.’ Basically, the allegation is that My Maine Ride sold unsafe vehicles to consumers with false inspection stickers.”