Attorney General Janet Mills announced today that her office has filed a lawsuit against Bangor car dealer Glenn A. Geiser Jr. and his dealerships – Bangor Car Care, Inc., Bumper2Bumper, Inc., and My Maine Ride. Geiser is best known for his distinctive television commercials in which he invites the public to "Come Join the Party.”

AG Mills said on the state’s website today that the lawsuit filed in Penobscot County Superior Court cites unfair and deceptive trade practices in connection with the promotion and sale of used cars. The complaint alleges that the defendants target consumers with poor credit who need financing, pressure them to buy cars that are not roadworthy, and then don’t respond to customer complaints.

The state is seeking civil penalties and a permanent injunction to bar Geiser and any entity in which he has an ownership interest from promoting, selling, and/or financing cars.

"These kinds of practices give Maine businesses a bad name," AG Mills said on her website. "Targeting vulnerable people and duping them into buying cars that are not safe not only defrauds the consumer but puts every person traveling our roads at risk. We intend to put a stop to it."

As of press time, Geiser's attorney had not yet returned a request for comment.

Mills said typically, consumers at Geiser’s businesses are shown cars that didn't pass inspection so they can’t be taken out for a test drive. The sellers don’t disclose all that’s wrong with the car, which is against state law. Buyers are encouraged to fill out financing documents and then return at a later date, after the car has been put in the shop and given an inspection sticker. When the buyer returns, AG Mills said, they are unable to get their vehicles, as promised. And some are being required to make payments on cars they did not receive. The complaint also alleges that the defendants’ response to consumer complaints is rude and abusive and calculated to intimidate. These acts constitute an unfair trade practice.

Maine law requires used car dealers to post a conspicuous notice that a car is an unsafe motor vehicle if it does not meet Maine’s inspection standards and is displayed for sale. The dealer must also disclose certain information about the history of the vehicle, including any known mechanical defect, even if it’s been replaced or repaired. When purchasing a known unsafe vehicle, the buyers must tow it from the dealer’s lot, by state law.

For more information about the Used Car Information Act, or to file a complaint, consumers can contact the Consumer Protection Division by logging onto their website or by calling 1-800-436-2131.

You can read the full complaint below.