Dusty Old Cars files Chapter 11 amid investigation; owner says company will stay open and reorganize
NASHUA – The classic car dealership under investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office is seeking bankruptcy protection as it faces the prospect of paying numerous unhappy customers.
Dusty Old Cars, located on Airport Road, filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manchester last week, listing 100-199 creditors. Owner Stephan Condodemetraky said Wednesday that customers who made complaints about the business are among the creditors.
“Some number of people we’ve done business with, whether consigning a car or (to whom we) sold a vehicle, that are one that list,” Condodemetraky said.
The bankruptcy filing papers indicate that Aftokinito Rally, the company that operates Dusty Old Cars, has from $1 million to $10 million in assets and from $500,000 to $1 million in liabilities. The figures in the filing are not exact, and bankruptcy filing paperwork typically has people seeking protection check a box to indicate a wide range of assets and liabilities.
Dusty Old Cars has been the subject of an AG’s investigation for more than a year, as close to 90 people have filed complaints with the state about the company’s business practices. Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti said his office’s investigation into the company will continue despite the Chapter 11 filing.
The AG’s office lists 89 complaints filed against Dusty Old Cars going back to 2010. The frequency and number of complaints took a dramatic upturn starting in 2015, with 82 complaints filed since March 2015. Of the total 89 complaints filed so far, the AG’s office shows that 24 of the complaints have been closed.
“I know that kind of looks like a big number,” Condodemetraky said.
Condodemetraky said his company has worked with a large number of customers to settle the complaints. He said a small number of the complaints have been from people who purchased cars and were unhappy, and the rest of the complaints are from people you consigned a car with his company and dispute the money they received for the car when it was sold, and who have yet to be paid for the consignment sale.
Condodemetraky denies that his company has done anything wrong, despite the complaints and the investigation.
Customers who previously spoke to The Telegraph said Dusty Old Cars sells vehicles that are not as advertised on the company website, and they say that Dusty Old Cars refuses to give refunds.
A frequent complaint made against the company is that Dusty Old Cars does unnecessary repair work on cars consigned with the company, leaving people who sell their cars through Dusty Old Cars with little or nothing to show for the sale. Some have said the company does not disclose to them when their consigned cars have been sold, and they wait months for payment, which is usually less than initially promised.
Scorned customers have also said the company tried to scare them into silence with a nondisparagement clause in their contracts.
Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Telegraph_DF.