ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Jan. 14, 2003)—Merchant's Inc. will offer cash reimbursements to some customers at its 26 tire and auto repair centers in Maryland to settle charges from the Consumer Protection Division of the Maryland Attorney General's Office.
The division accused Merchant's, which operates 110 retail tire stores in the Mid-Atlantic region, of failing to replace transmission filters during transmission service and brake hardware during brake service that called for hardware replacement.
Through the consumer protection division, Merchant's will give $60 to all brake customers and $64.26 to all transmission customers after Jan. 1, 1998, who didn't get an invoice reflecting replacement of the filters or parts. The company also will pay the division $150,000 in civil penalties, $100,000 for consumer education and $65,000 in costs and attorneys' fees.
A Merchant's spokesman said this was mainly “a documentation issue,” with only “a remote possibility” that the parts weren't replaced. The Manassas, Va.-based company also conducted its own internal audit of the issue, he said, and dismissed one store manager and two technicians.