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For Immediate Release
August 27, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

CURRAN'S OFFICE SETTLES WITH 18-YEAR-OLD INTERNET AUCTION SELLER WHO DIDN'T DELIVER VIDEO GAME SYSTEMS

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has reached a settlement with Jomar Saddler, of Cheltenham, Maryland, who offered goods through Internet auctions, but did not deliver the equipment to consumers who paid him. Most of the goods sold by Saddler were computer game consoles such as Playstation 2 and Nintendo GameCube systems. Under the settlement, Saddler will refund money to the consumers, pay a $5,000 penalty and $1,000 in costs to the Division, and he must post a surety bond before engaging in any future Internet auction sales.

The Division alleged that Saddler, 18, violated the Maryland Consumer Protection Act by accepting payments for the video game equipment and other goods that he sold to consumers via online auctions and failing to actually supply the purchased goods.

The settlement requires Saddler to make full restitution to consumers who paid him for goods they did not receive. The Division estimates that dozens of consumers throughout the United States and Canada are owed a total of approximately $10,000. Saddler 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 who may be harmed in the future. Saddler also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 and $1,000 for the Division's investigation costs.

"Consumers should be wary when buying from sellers with whom they are not familiar," Attorney General Curran said. "I am pleased that we were able to get restitution for the buyers in this case."

The Attorney General's Web site has information about how to avoid some of the potential pitfalls of online auctions at www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/edge99.htm.

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