Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro said his office filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit between the City of Lakewood, Ohio, and a Lakewood auto repair shop that involves a dozen violations of the state’s auto repair regulations and other consumer protection laws.
Petro’s Consumer Protection Section is pursuing the action in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court against Charles Calanni and Calanni Enterprises Inc. after receiving complaints from citizens that Calanni had failed to follow the terms of the Consumer Sales Practices Act (CSPA) and the Motor Vehicle Repairs and Services (MVRS) rule.
“Ohio consumer laws are clear: businesses must follow certain procedures when engaging in automotive repairs that ensure customers are aware of what the shop will be doing to their vehicles,” Petro said. “The laws serve to protect consumers and businesses alike, and I will not tolerate violations.”
The 12-count complaint alleges that Calanni violated the CSPA and the MVRS rule by:
* Failing to provide an estimate form at the initial contact with customers;
* Failing to gain authorization when a repair exceeds the estimate by 10 percent;
* Failing to disclose storage charges;
* Representing that repairs were made;
* Materially understating the estimated cost of repairs;
* Failing to provide a list of used parts;
* Failing to tender parts;
* Failure to provide a written, itemized receipt;
* Failure to provide copies of documents;
* Failure to provide repairs in a timely fashion;
* Making misleading statements of opinion that a consumer might rely upon to his or her detriment (an unconscionable act or practice).
In the complaint’s request for relief, Petro requested the court to issue a permanent injunction forbidding the defendants from violating the CSPA and administrative rules in the future, entering a declaratory judgment in favor of the state for the previous violations, impose a civil penalty of $25,000 for each violation, and to order the defendants to maintain records for the next five years and to allow inspection of those records by the Attorney General’s Office after reasonable notification.
Additionally, the Attorney General requested that the court order Calanni and his company to reimburse the consumers affected by the company’s illegal acts and practices, and to allow consumers to void any contracts upon filing a complaint with the Consumer Protection Section.
The office is also seeking reimbursement for all costs relating to the investigation and lawsuit.
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