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MIDAS SHOP RECOMMENDED UNNEEDED REPAIRS, COURT AGREEMENT ALLEGES

 MIDAS SHOP RECOMMENDED UNNEEDED REPAIRS, COURT AGREEMENT ALLEGES
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The operator of company-owned Midas Muffler shops in Pennsylvania will pay $10,000 to settle allegations that one of its shops recommended $452 in unnecessary repairs during an undercover consumer protection investigation in the Philadelphia area, Attorney General Ernie Preate Jr. announced today.
 Preate said the probe was conducted by the Philadelphia office of his Bureau of Consumer Protection in cooperation with State Police and the Department of Transportation's Bureau of Motor Vehicles as part of his recently announced crackdown on "car repair shops that take consumers for a ride by doing unnecessary or sloppy work."
 The Attorney General said the Philadelphia investigation was separate from a similar probe of franchised Midas shops in the Pittsburgh area that last week resulted in the filing of suits by Preate's office against the operators of 12 Pittsburgh-area Midas shops.
 Preate said that as part of the Philadelphia investigation, a consumer protection agent posing as a consumer drove a state-owned vehicle to four company-owned Midas shops in the Philadelphia area, described "noises" the car was making and asked for safety inspections.
 "In each case, specific minor malfunctions causing the noises had been created under the supervision of State Police at the Belmont Barracks before the vehicle was driven to a service center," Preate said.
 "I want to stress that in three of the four cases, the Midas shops did not -- I repeat, did not -- suggest unnecessary repairs. But at the Midas shop at 2300 Castor Ave. in Philadelphia, we allege that shop personnel recommended various unneeded repairs, including brake work, costing a total of $452."
 The Attorney General said all four of the shops visited as part of the investigation are operated by Cosmic Enterprises Inc., Chicago, a Midas International-owned corporation that runs 14 Midas shops statewide.
 Under terms of an "assurance of voluntary compliance" filed today in Commonwealth Court, Cosmic Enterprises doesn't admit wrongdoing but agrees to pay a $5,000 civil penalty and $5,000 in costs of investigation.
 Cosmic also promises that its shops will not "knowingly misrepresent that services, replacements or repairs are needed if they are not needed," according to the assurance.
 Preate said that as a result of the investigation, State Police have applied for suspension of the inspection license of the Midas shop at 2300 Castor Ave. The inspection station will remain open pending a hearing before the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, he said.
 The Attorney General said the investigation was conducted under the direction of Deputy Attorney General John E. Kelly, attorney-in-charge of the Bureau of Consumer Protection's Philadelphia office.
 Preate said his crackdown on vehicle repair shops will continue to emphasize undercover shoppings.
 /delval/
 -0- 2/7/92
 /CONTACT: Jack J. Lewis of the Office of Attorney General, 717-787-5211, or at home, 717-657-9840/ CO: Office of Attorney General; Midas Muffler ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


JS -- PH003 -- 8049 02/07/92 08:30 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 7, 1992
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