Ken Paxton

Monday, June 4, 2007

Attorney General Abbott Charges Houston Auto Parts Dealer with Selling Defective Products

HOUSTON Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today charged a Houston automotive parts dealer with selling faulty used engines and transmissions to consumers nationwide in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). According to documents filed with the Harris County District Court, ASAP Motors and Parts Systems, Inc. and its principals, Brian McCutcheon and John Scott Sandell, falsely advertised on various Web sites that they sold high-quality, low mileage replacement motors and transmissions imported from Japan.

Although the defendants claimed their products had been thoroughly tested and inspected, hundreds of ASAP customers, including mechanics, complained about rusted, mismatched or cracked motors and transmissions that failed to perform as advertised. Bank records obtained by the Attorney General’s investigators revealed that ASAP actually purchased the motors and transmissions from local Houston junkyards.

Texans will not tolerate vendors that sell defective products to unsuspecting victims, Attorney General Abbott said. By advertising junkyard scrap as legitimate, inspected, overseas products, ASAP Motors and Parts defrauded their unwitting customers. Consumers can rest assured that the Office of the Attorney General will hold ASAP accountable for violating the law.

Average losses to consumers range from $1,000 to $1,500 for the purchase of engines and transmissions. Although ASAP price quotes purported to include shipping costs, the company deceptively demanded extra shipping fees from their customers. Many consumers were also charged an unjustified 20 percent restocking fee when they returned defective or mismatched engines.

Because of ASAP’s refusal to provide refunds, many consumers cancelled their payments or sought credit card chargeback refunds. In response, ASAP filed hundreds of lawsuits in Harris County small claims courts against those customers. The Attorney General’s enforcement action seeks full reimbursement for consumers harmed by the deceptive scheme; civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act; and an additional penalty of $250,000 per violation against McCutcheon and Sandell for consumers over the age of 65.

Texas consumers who wish to file a complaint against ASAP Motors and Parts, Inc. may contact the Office of the Attorney General at (800) 252-8011 or do so online at Out-of-state consumers may file a complaint online or by calling (512) 463-2100.