BANGOR — A Waldoboro woman and a couple from Farmingdale have sued the former owner of a notorious, now-closed used car dealership in Bangor, My Maine Ride, claiming they were duped into buying faulty vehicles from him in 2013.
The lawsuits were filed this fall against Glenn A. Geiser Jr., 49, of Brewer.
In July, Geiser surrendered his dealer license for seven years and agreed to pay $30,000 for repairs to vehicles he sold as part of a settlement with the Maine attorney general over unfair and deceptive trade practices by My Maine Ride.
So far, however, Geiser has not responded to these newest court claims, which led to default rulings being entered against him. Geiser, contacted by the Bangor Daily News, said he hasn’t responded because “there is no fight left in me.”
“I lost [by default] because I didn’t respond, but I know that. Fighting is not important to me anymore,” he said.
“To me, it’s a repeat story. The state did essentially what they are doing,” Geiser added, referring to the attorney general’s office. “To me, we already concluded this. That’s why I didn’t go forward with [filing a response].”
The plaintiffs in the case claim they were sold uninspected vehicles, were refused requests to test drive the vehicles before purchasing them, the dealership charged illegal documentation fees and failed to provide proper buying information, among others.
These allegations mirror those made against Geiser by the attorney general, which alleged he and his dealerships — My Maine Ride and another he owned, Bumper2Bumper — targeted consumers with poor credit who needed financing, pressured them to buy cars that were not roadworthy and did not respond to customer complaints.
Karena Parker, a single mother of three from Waldoboro, called Pine Tree Legal Assistance after the 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer she bought from Geiser’s dealership in September 2013 continuously stalled out and its guages didn’t work, according to her suit, which was filed in Penobscot County Superior Court.
“I don’t have that great of credit,” Parker said in an interview about why she traveled 80 miles to purchase a vehicle from My Maine Ride in Bangor. “It’s not like I can go without.”
She said she just wanted a four-wheel drive vehicle to replace her 2004 Pontiac Grand Am because winter was coming. She previously purchased a vehicle from Geiser and knew she could obtain credit through his company.
But when Parker asked to drive the Trailblazer at My Maine Ride in September 2013, she was told she could not test drive it because it was not inspected. She also asked to start the vehicle, but the salesperson “refused to allow” her to do so, her lawsuit states.
“Because she was not allowed to start up the engine Ms. Parker could not know whether the engine ran correctly or even see on the dashboard the vehicle’s mileage,” the complaint states. “Ms. Parker paid the defendants’ considerably more than the Trailblazer was worth.”
Parker said she paid $595 for gap insurance, $100 documentation fee and a $300 down payment, which brought the total cost of the 10-year-old Trailblazer to $13,715, which she financed with a 18 percent interest rate, according to her suit.
Once she drove the Trailblazer, which eventually was delivered to her home in Waldoboro, Parker said the motor shook, was noisy, weak and had difficulty climbing hills.
“Once I started it, it stalled,” Parker said. “If I turned on the heat, it stalled.”
“Ms. Parker would not have purchased this vehicle on September 19, 2013 if on that day she had been able to turn on the engine and test drive it,” her complaint states.
Krista Day and Joseph Ingalls of Farmingdale also drove 80 miles to Bangor to buy from My Maine Ride but in March 2013, their complaint states.
“Their reason for shopping at [My Maine Ride] was because they had poor credit and, based on the [My Maine Ride] advertisements, they believed that [My Maine Ride] specialized in customers with poor credit records,” the court document states.
Day and Ingalls purchased an uninspected 2005 Dodge Neon with 136,865 miles for $9,099, and paid a $100 “Document Admin.-Filing Fee” and $298 for an unexplained item titled “VSI,” the complaint states. The couple signed purchasing paperwork for the uninspected car on March 27 and picked up the vehicle, which had a new inspection sticker, several days later.
“On the drive back to their home the vehicle shook badly,” their complaint states.
In addition to Geiser and My Maine Ride, both suits also named the financing company that gave loans to Parker, and Day and Ingalls to purchase the cars. James McKenna, attorney for Parker and Day and Ingalls, said those claims have been settled.
“They granted us default [against Gieser,] and now we have to file a motion for default judgment, which is where the court determines what is owed,” McKenna said about the two civil lawsuits.
He said he expects to file the motion within the next couple of weeks.
In the Sept. 5 request for default in the Parker case, which was filed in superior court at the Penobscot Judicial Center, McKenna states Geiser has “failed to answer” any of the complaints and even declined an offer by attorney Eugene Coughlin to mediate pro bono.
“[Geiser] stated that plaintiff would be at the end of the line of a long line of people waiting for money,” the request for default filed by McKenna stated.
Parker said Friday “the bank paid me for everything I paid out — they were really good about that.” She is just waiting to see what the court decides about the default.
She is asking for all the money she paid My Maine Ride at the time of the purchase and for the trade-in price of her Pontiac in the complaint, which might be modified in the request for default judgment, McKenna said.
McKenna said he has two goals with the lawsuits.
“One, I want to try to get an order for some money,” the volunteer attorney said. “If we can collect is another issue. And two, we want an order saying the defendant, Glenn Geiser, and My Maine Ride can’t continue to do the practices we allege in my complaints, in case in the future he plans to sell cars again.”
In an interview, Geiser did not deny the allegations against him in these latest lawsuits. In addition to losing his license and paying restitution to past customers, Geiser said he’s also paying daily in humiliation.
“I know what the truth is. I made mistakes and I’m paying for it,” he said. “I can’t change anything about the past, but I can do the best for my children and that is what I chose to do.”