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January 26, 2010
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley announced on January 25, 2010 that a settlement has been reached with defendant Maurice Irving Glad who owns and operates 22 California Midas Auto shops, some of which are located in Alameda County. The settlement brings to an end a “bait and switch” operation designed to defraud consumers. “The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office remains vigilant in protecting its citizens from predatory and unscrupulous business practices,” says Ms. O’Malley.
The complaint, naming the People of the State of California as the plaintiff, was filed jointly by the Alameda and Fresno County District Attorney’s Offices and the California Attorney General. The settlement prohibits defendant Glad from owning or operating any automotive repair business in California. He is also required to pay investigation costs, damages and attorney fees in the amount of $1,800,000 to the State of California.
The case originated through an investigation by the Bureau of Automotive Repair, prompted by consumer complaints. As part of its investigation, the Bureau conducted an undercover operation to expose the “bait and switch” scheme. “Bait and switch” scams occur when a business lures customers in with a low rate or “special rate” for goods or services, but then charges a higher rate or manipulates the consumer into paying for a more expensive item. Glad’s Midas shops advertised brake specials for $79.95 to $99.95, but customers ended up paying more than $200 for unnecessary repairs. Glad’s shops also charged customers for repair work that was never done.
Midas Inc. intends to purchase the franchises back from defendant Glad and operate them until new owners can be found for the repair shops. Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Scott Patton stated that his office was very satisfied with the settlement. “This resolution by local and state law enforcement serves our community and the public interest. Maurice Glad is paying a substantial penalty for his wrongdoing and these individual Midas shops can now be operated under new management utilizing the best industry practices.”
Consumers who believe that they have been cheated by an automobile repair facility should file a complaint with the California Department of Consumer Affairs online at www.autorepair.ca.gov or by calling 1-800-925-5210.
Contact: Scott Patton, Deputy District Attorney
Alameda County District Attorney’s Office