EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 6, 2013

Used-car dealer avoids discipline over customer complaints

Police: Consumers didn't follow through on concerns

By Shawn Regan

---- — HAVERHILL — A used car dealer with a history of customer complaints has avoided discipline by the city’s License Commission.

The commission concluded its latest probe of complaints against Robert Kalil by deciding not to hold a discipline hearing against him.

Police Captain Alan Ratte told the commission that one of two customers who complained to the commission last month about Kalil contacted police recently to say he has resolved his dispute with Kalil. Police were unable to contact a second customer who complained about Kalil, Ratte said.

Kalil’s 495 Car & Truck dealership at 1175 Main St. was formerly known as Fenway Auto Park.

Stefan DiGregorio filed a police report last month and complained to several consumer agencies after he said Kalil threatened to have him fired from his job at a local ambulance company during their dispute. DiGregorio said the dispute happened over his attempt to use the state’s Lemon Law to return a vehicle he bought from Kalil.

The other customers, Randy and Tammy Duquette, said they bought a 2005 Dodge Ram truck from Kalil earlier this year and, at the time of the sale, were given an “IOU” for a replacement chrome rim and four new tires. The deal also included a promise that certain repairs would be made before the Duquettes took delivery of the vehicle, they said. They said Kalil replaced the original tires with other used tires, failed to replace the rim and did not make other promised repairs. They said Kalil avoided their phone calls and emails as they sought to resolve the matter.

At a meeting last month, Kalil told the commission he resolved his dispute with the Duquettes by sending them a check for $297. He told the commission he had been unable to resolve his dispute with DiGregorio because DiGregorio refused to return the vehicle to Kalil’s shop so he can repair it.

At last month’s meeting, the commission agreed to ask police to contact the consumers and take up their complaints again at a meeting last week. Commission Chairman Joseph Edwards said that since neither of the consumers showed up last week, the matter is closed.

Kalil has a history of problems with customers, the commission and various consumer protection agencies.

In June 2011, the commission warned Kalil they would revoke his license if they received one more complaint against him during the next year. At that meeting, Haverhill police said they had responded to Kalil’s dealership numerous times to investigate disputes between Kalil and his customers.

Police said problems have included failure to return deposits, issues with sale contracts and possible violations of the Lemon Law. In 2009, the car dealership was cited by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation for violating the Lemon Law.

At that time, Kalil said he recently made many policy and personnel changes at his dealership, including firing the store’s manager and hiring a second mechanic, to eliminate problems.

In his recent letter to the commission, Kalil said the “adjustments to the company” made in 2011 have worked great and that the dealership has sold more than 500 vehicles since the last time he was in front of the commission.