New York attorney general announces US$100,000 settlement with Home Depot for allegedly selling trailers that weighed more than 1,000 pounds without brakes
SYRACUSE, New York
March 12, 2012
– As part of National Consumer Week, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with Home Depot USA, Inc. for selling trailers that did not comply with NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law. Specifically in 2011, Home Depot sold overweight 6' x 12' trailers without any brakes, in violation of New York State Law. The law requires trailers that weigh more than 1,000 pounds be sold with an adequate braking system. Home Depot sold trailers that weighed more than 1,000 pounds without any brakes, while misrepresenting to the public that the trailers only weighed 995 pounds. As part of the settlement, Home Depot agreed to pay $100,000 in penalties, fees and costs.
Under New York State Motor Vehicles Law § 375(c), trailers and semitrailers with an “empty” weight of more than 1,000 pounds, or with a gross weight in excess of 3,000 pounds, must be equipped with adequate brakes in good working order.
"Home Depot, not only misrepresented the integrity of their trailers through false advertising, but also gambled with public safety,”Attorney General Schneiderman said. "Resolving this violation has averted some potentially serious accidents. Our message to consumers is clear, the laws of the state will be followed and corporations will be held accountable when the safety of New Yorkers is at risk."
The Attorney General's investigation began in June 2011, after the Syracuse Regional office received a complaint about unsafe trailers. The certificate of origin provided to Home Depot by the manufacturer identified the Pace American Worksport 6’ x 12’ enclosed cargo trailer as weighing 1,060 pounds. However, Home Depot falsely represented the trailer's weight as 995 pounds through in-store and online advertising. Further investigation by the Attorney General’s Office revealed that these trailers actually weighed 1,080 pounds.
As a result of the Attorney General’s investigation, Home Depot immediately ceased sales of the Worksport trailer at all locations across New York State. In addition, as part of the settlement agreement, Home Depot mailed recall notices to consumers who purchased these trailers, notifying them that their product exceeded 1,000 pounds and that overweight trailers require an adequate braking system under New York State Law. Home Depot informed consumers they had the option of a) returning the vehicle to Home Depot for a full refund of the purchase price of the trailer, or b) receiving, upon documentation, a full refund for the cost of a brake system installation.
Twenty of the Worksport trailers were in stock at Home Depots throughout the state, and seven were sold. They were sold in Cicero, Patchogue (2), Ithaca, Corning, Olean, and Watertown.
Attorney General Schneiderman acknowledged the cooperation of the Department of Motor Vehicles in the investigation and the assistance of Senior Automotive Facilities Inspector, Tim Furlong. The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Judith Malkin of the Syracuse Regional Office under the supervision of Martin J. Mack, Executive Deputy Attorney General For Regional Affairs. Supervising Investigator Christopher Holland of the Rochester Regional Office also assisted with the investigation.