Framingham Online News

Framingham Used Car Dealer $925,000 Deceptive Sales Practice Judgment

Filed under: Business,Legal Notices by News Staff at 7:53 pm on November 20, 2019

[photo] MA Lemon Law CarFRAMINGHAM, MA - A used car dealership based in Framingham and its owner have agreed to a $925,000 judgment that includes restitution to consumers to resolve allegations that the business engaged in unfair and deceptive sales practices that violated Massachusetts consumer protection law.

According to the AG’s complaint, filed along with a consent judgment that was entered in Middlesex Superior Court last week, New England AutoMax Inc., AutoMax Preowned Inc., and Auto Max Inc. (AutoMax) and their owner Howard J. Wilner allegedly violated the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act by misrepresenting important information about the condition, origin, and history of used cars it sold, selling add-on service contracts to consumers that did not cover the cars they were purchasing, falsifying down payments, and adding undisclosed fees onto car sales transactions.

“AutoMax and its owner purposely kept their customers in the dark about the condition and history of the cars they sold and charged customers illegal and unnecessary fees,” said AG Healey. “As a result of this settlement, customers who were misled by AutoMax will get money back and the company will stop its illegal practices.”

The AG’s Office began its investigation after receiving several complaints about unfair sales practices at AutoMax, including selling cars with invalid add-on warranties and padding sales with undisclosed fees or charges. The AG’s Office also alleges the company and its owner engaged in unfair and deceptive acts, including:

  • Failing to comply with mandatory requirements to disclose when cars were previously used as a lease, rental, or taxicab in advertisements and on purchase contracts.
  • Misrepresenting that cars manufactured for the Canadian market were covered by a manufacturer’s warranty and selling additional add-on service contracts at a cost of up to $3,000 that were invalid due to the foreign origin of the cars.
  • Adding hidden charges of $100 to $200 for customers seeking to trade in vehicles and payoff their existing loan as part of a sale.
  • Falsifying down payments on financing applications.
  • Charging document preparation fees for the preparation of documents that the company used to implement its deceptive schemes.

Under the terms of the consent judgment, AutoMax and Wilner will pay $750,000 in restitution for affected consumers and agreed to significant injunctive terms, including that the business comply with prior use disclosure regulations, disclose the foreign origin of the cars they sell and the implications on any warranty or add-on products, and ensure accuracy when completing consumer loan applications. The business is also prohibited from charging customers undisclosed or inflated fees. Additionally, the consent judgment includes a $175,000 suspended penalty for any violation of the settlement’s injunctive terms within three years.

Massachusetts consumer protection law requires used auto dealers to disclose prior use as a lease, rental, or taxicab on the purchase contract for all automobiles and in advertisements for automobiles. Used auto dealers must also disclose all material information that could impact a consumer’s decision to purchase a vehicle, and dealers have a duty to be transparent with consumers about the terms of a deal or sale.

The AG’s Office has handled several cases of unfair and deceptive practices in the auto industry in recent years. In December 2018, the AG’s Office settled a lawsuit with F&R Auto, a Westport used auto dealership that sold unsafe and defective vehicles to unsuspecting customers, and Sensible Auto Lending, a lender that facilitated deceptive sales at F&R Auto. The Office sued JD Byrider for misleading consumers and selling them high-priced, low-quality cars financed with high-cost loans, a package that consistently leads to repossession. The AG’s Office has also shut down a dealership, Auto Number One, for selling unsafe cars and obtained restitution and injunctive relief from another dealership, Auto Drive One, for routinely selling defective and unreliable cars.

Consumers who are eligible for restitution as part of this settlement will be contacted directly by the AG’s Office.

For tips or questions about the auto industry, consumers may call the Attorney General’s consumer hotline at 617-727-8400 or file a complaint with the office.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Kimberly McDonald, Ann E. Lynch, and Lisa Dyen, and Deputy Chief Shennan Kavanagh, all of the AG’s Consumer Protection Division; Investigator Anthony Crespi of the AG’s Civil Investigations Division; and Senior Digital Evidence Analyst Brenna Casey of the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab.


Moody's Assigns Framingham "AA" Bond Credit Rating

Filed under: Business by News Staff at 7:49 pm on November 9, 2019
PHOTO: Framingham, MA, Town Hall / Memorial Building

Framingham's City Hall, locally known as The Memorial Building, is located at the corner of Union Ave and Concord St.

FRAMINGHAM, MA - On November 06, 2019, Moody's Investors Service assigned a Aa2 rating, (also noted as "AA"), to the City of Framingham, MA's $27.5 million General Obligation Municipal Purpose Loan of 2019 Bonds.

The rating Aa2, is the third highest possible rating, (the best is "Aaa" or "AAA", followed by "Aa1" or "AA+", then the rating Framingham was assigned: "Aa2" or "AA").

Moody's maintains the Aa2 rating on the city's issuer rating and outstanding general obligation limited tax bonds. The issuer rating is equivalent to the city's hypothetical general obligation unlimited tax rating; there is no debt associated with this security. The outlook is stable.

The outstanding general obligation limited tax bonds (GOLT) are considered limited tax because the entire amount of debt service has not been excluded from restrictions under Massachusetts law on the city's ability to increase the property tax levy to pay debt service, referred to as Proposition 2 1/2.

RATINGS RATIONALE - The Aa2 issuer rating reflects the stable financial position, sizeable tax base with a large local economy, above-average but manageable debt burden, and average unfunded pension liability.

The absence of distinction between the GOLT rating and the issuer rating reflects the city's ability to override the property tax cap and its pledge of its full faith and credit.

RATING OUTLOOK - The stable outlook reflects the healthy growth in the tax base that is expected to continue over the near term as well as expectations that the city will maintain the current financial position with no material changes in reserves or liquidity.


  • Material growth in reserves and liquidity
  • Significant decline in the debt burden
  • Sustained trend of higher resident income levels


  • Continued growth in the debt burden
  • Decline in reserves and liquidity

LEGAL SECURITY - The bonds are secured by the city's full faith and credit, general obligation limited tax pledge as debt service has not been excluded from the tax levy limits of Proposition 2 1/2.

USE OF PROCEEDS - Proceeds will be used to finance various capital projects of the city.

PROFILE - Framingham has a population of 70,743 and is primarily residential with a large commercial presence. The city is located in Middlesex County, approximately 20 miles west of Boston.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.  Please see for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

(Nicholas Lehman, Lead Analyst, Regional PFG Northeast, Moody's Investors Service, Inc., One International Place, 100 Oliver St Suite 1400, Boston 02110, US)


Framingham Based Ameresco Completes Third Ashland Solar Project

Filed under: Business by News Staff at 2:02 am on November 9, 2018

FRAMINGHAM, MA - Framingham based renewable energy company Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC), has completed it's third solar photovoltaic (“PV”) facility for the Town of Ashland at it's capped landfill on Howe Street.

The Town partnered with Ameresco to develop the solar PV projects under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Ameresco will operate and maintain the systems for the term of the contract to ensure optimal energy production.

"We were happy to have a comprehensive service partner in Ameresco to help us identify and implement a diverse set of meaningful clean energy projects in our community. These projects not only combat the continuing global impacts of climate change but do so by virtually eliminating the Town’s electric bill." Michael D. Herbert, Town Manager, Ashland MA.

Ashland's solar projects at the Middle School Roof, the High School Parking Lot, and the Howe Street Landfill are comprised of more than 5,500 photovoltaic panels totaling 1,800 kW DC and designed to generate over 2.2 million kWh of renewable electricity each year. The annual CO2 emissions reduction of 1,632 metric tons is equivalent to taking 350 cars off the road and annual electricity usage of 176 homes.

"This project will contribute to the Town of Ashland realizing its goals, under the Green Communities Program, to reduce energy consumption and costs through the implementation of clean energy projects in its municipal buildings, facilities, and schools," said David J. Anderson, Executive Vice President, Ameresco. "The three solar projects represent a complimentary component to the larger sustainable initiative across the municipality that included a $3.6 million comprehensive energy efficiency program, providing more than $250,000 in annual savings in its building portfolio."


Framingham Firm Receives Cannabis Testing License

Filed under: Business by News Staff at 12:42 am on October 20, 2018
marijuana plants

Cannabis / Marijuana products sold in Massachusetts will be labeled with a seal certifying it has passed testing for contaminants.

FRAMINGHAM, MA - The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, ("CCC"), has voted in favor of issuing MCR Labs of Framingham its license to operate as an Independent Testing Laboratory ("ITL") for the state's Adult Use Marijuana Program.

While some have complained that the State has been to slow to roll out recreational marijuana sales, the CCC regulations were designed with consumer safety in mind and specify that all retail cannabis product must be tested for and free of contaminants in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, (M.G.L. c. 94G).

MCR Labs is accredited to perform compliance testing "and has been inspected to meet all general operation and security requirements for marijuana establishments" as outlined in the Commission's draft regulations, but there's still a few steps that must be completed before full commercial operation of the lab, (a walk-through and "seed-to-sale" software training).

MCR is setup to perform safety screening of marijuana including testing for heavy metals (arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury), dozens of pesticides, microbial contaminants, (bacteria, yeast, molds, salmonella, E. coli, etc) as well as testing for volatile organic compounds, residual solvents, terpenes and other chemicals which should not be found in cannabis sold for human consumption.  MCR Labs will also provide cannabis potency and quality profile testing.

Once the few final steps are completed, Massachusetts marijuana growers, cannabis product manufacturers, and others will be able to have their products tested for quality control and potential contaminants at MCR Labs, 85 Speen St. in Framingham, MA.

About MCR Labs: Established in 2013, MCR Labs is an ISO-17025 accredited independent testing lab providing analytical cannabis product testing and R&D services to medicinal and adult use RMDs, patients, caregivers, home growers and entrepreneurs. For more information, visit


Framingham Based Staples, TJ Maxx, Marshalls to Close Stores for Thanksgiving Day

Filed under: Business by News Staff at 2:41 pm on October 13, 2018

Framingham area stores that are closed on Thanksgiving Day

FRAMINGHAM, MA -This year Framingham based Staples, TJ Maxx and Marshalls, along with other major retailers will be joing the growing trend to not open their  stores on Thanksgiving Day.

"We know that the holidays can be a hectic time but Staples is here to ensure shoppers and businesses of all sizes have the tools they need for a successful season," Steve Matyas, Chief Executive Officer, Staples Retail was quoted in a press release. "Our priority as an organization is to ensure that our store associates have the dedicated time they deserve to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends on Thanksgiving Day, so they’ll be ready to support customers on Black Friday and throughout the holidays."

Starting in 2015 Staples joined the growing trend in retail -- something that appeals to those who don't like the over-commercialization of holidays, and of course the employees who would rather have the day off.

Other Framingham area stores that won't be open Thanksgiving day include BJ'S Warehouse, many large stores in Shopper's World including DSW, Barnes & Noble, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx , Pier 1 Imports, Petsmart, Guitar Center, Burlington, Jo-Anne Fabrics, REI, Home Depot and Lowe's.


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