(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a lawsuit against Columbus-based Golden Rod Auto, Golden Rod Wholesale, and the businesses’ owner for multiple violations of Ohio consumer law, including failure to deliver and violating a previous agreement with the Attorney General.
“We gave this seller a chance to correct the problems, but he failed to do so,” Attorney General DeWine said. “In most cases, the problems got worse. The seller lost his motor vehicle dealer’s license but continued to sell used cars on craigslist. He also accepted full payment for vehicles but failed to deliver titles to consumers.”
The lawsuit, filed in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, names Golden Rod Auto Wholesale, Golden Rod Auto, and owner Hogop Lee as defendants. Mr. Lee operated both businesses.
According to the Attorney General’s investigation, the business posted used vehicles for sale online, specifically on craigslist.org. Although Mr. Lee’s license to sell motor vehicles was cancelled in August 2010, Golden Rod Auto continued to sell motor vehicles. After selling the vehicles, the business failed to apply for a title to the vehicle in the name of the purchaser on or before the 30th day after the sale, as required by Ohio law.
In addition to selling vehicles, Mr. Lee also offered to repair the vehicles he sold. Golden Rod Auto accepted payment for motor vehicle repairs but failed to provide the repairs or to give refunds to consumers. The business also failed to notify consumers about their right to an estimate.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit charges the businesses and Mr. Lee with multiple violations of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act, including title violations, failure to deliver motor vehicle repairs, and violating a 2009 agreement with the Attorney General to comply with Ohio consumer law. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, consumer restitution, and civil penalties.
Attorney General DeWine offered consumers the following advice:
- Do your homework. Check a business’s reputation with the Ohio Attorney General, Better Business Bureau, Ohio Secretary of State, and/or Ohio Board of Motor Vehicles Collision Repair before making a purchase.
- Contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office if a used motor vehicle dealer does not provide you a title within 30 days of the purchase date.
- If a repair will cost more than $25, ask for a written estimate. Your permission is required if the cost is more than 10 percent above the original estimate.
- Save copies of purchase agreements, estimates, invoices, work orders, receipts, guarantees, and warranties.
Consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840
Eve Mueller: 614-466-3840
Copy of Lawsuit/Complaint (PDF)