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For Immediate Release
January 28, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE SETTLES WITH MD INTERNET AUCTION SELLER WHO DIDN’T DELIVER COMPUTERS

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has reached a settlement with a Germantown man who offered computers through Internet auctions, but did not deliver the computers to consumers who paid him. Under the settlement, Michael Rymer will refund money to the consumers, be subject to a $20,000 penalty, and have to post a surety bond for any future Internet auction sales.

Rymer is a Maryland resident who conducts business via the Internet including, but not limited to, offering and selling computers in online auctions to consumers. The division alleged that Rymer violated the Maryland Consumer Protection Act by accepting payments for computers that he sold to consumers via online auctions and failing to actually supply the computers, and by promising but not providing refunds.

The settlement requires Rymer to make full restitution to consumers who paid him for computers they did not receive. The division estimates there are dozens of consumers who are owed an average of $1,800. Rymer is also prohibited from selling consumer goods via the Internet unless he either posts a $20,000 surety bond with the division or provides a letter of credit or cash deposit in the amount of $20,000, which would be used to compensate consumers harmed in the future.

Rymer also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $20,000, with the provision that if he fully complies with the terms of the settlement for three years, the penalty will be waived.

"I am pleased that we were able to get restitution for consumers in this case," Attorney General Curran said. "However, as always, I remind consumers that buying items from unknown individuals through Internet auctions can be risky."

Curran encourages consumers who are thinking of participating in online auctions to visit his website, www.oag.state.md.us, to learn how to avoid the potential pitfalls that exist.

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