Sue over a negative review? NH1 News Investigates Dusty Old Cars of Nashua

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Celine McArthur introduces the story on Stephan Condodemetraky, owner of Dusty Old Cars in Nashua, New Hampshire

Stephen Kelly: “I’ve been had.”

Celine McArthur: “Do you think you’re ever going to see your car?”

Stephen Kelley: “No, I am sure it’s gone. It’s gone. But I don’t want others to feel this way, so let’s see what we can do.”

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Celine McArthur and Stephen Kelley

Stephen Kelley of Medford Massachusetts says he’s been scammed by a classic and vintage car dealer in Nashua. In October of 2015, Kelley handed over his 1970 Cadillac Deville convertible to Stephan Condodemetraky, owner of Dusty Old Cars, to sell on consignment.

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Picture of Stephen Kelley’s car on Dusty Old Car’s website

“The pitch that was made to me from them was, we get a lot of traffic on our website for people who are looking for exactly what you’re selling, so if someone is looking for an antique car, they’ll come to us first,” says Kelley. He adds, “I was thrilled that they came and did all the work. They came, they got the car… and there were literally hundreds of pictures of that car on their website. I thought, these people really have their act together.”

In February of 2016, the convertible—priced at 8 thousand dollars—was listed as sold on Dusty Old Car’s website.

For months, Kelley emailed and called to find out when he would get the paperwork required to transfer the car to a buyer and when he’d get paid.

“About 30 emails back and forth going into March, April, May—always the same thing. Let me check the sales report and get back to you,” says Kelley.

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One sample of the email chain between Stephen Kelley and Dusty Old Cars

In response, Kelley filed a report with the Better Business Bureau, which gave Dusty Old Cars an “F” rating.

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The BBB review of Dusty Old Cars: F

He filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office and quickly discovered he was NOT the first to do so.

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“One of 43 outstanding complaints with this particular car dealer,” says Kelley.

Kelley also sent a warning email to Dusty Old Car’s customers using addresses listed on a mass email.

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Stephen Kelly’s email to Dusty Old Car customers. Addresses retrieved from a mass emailing from the business

That’s when Kelley got a response from Condodemetraky.

Condodemetraky on voicemail: “You know, it took about five minutes five minutes for me to locate you, sir. So, it’s going to take about five minutes for my attorney to locate you too. And then we’re going to come after you personally. That’s after we file the criminal charges with the police departments.”

We went to Dusty Old Cars to find out what’s going on with Kelley’s car.

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Celine talking to Stephan Condodemetraky at the front window of his business. He wouldn’t come out of his office. During this call, I asked him about the status of Kelley’s car. He refused to answer.

The owner was inside the building, but wouldn’t speak to me in person. By phone, he told me to call his lawyer.

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Stephan Condodemetraky’s attorney: Ron Caron, Manchester

We did—for a week – with no response. So we went back.

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An employee approaches us as we search for Stephen Kelley’s car. We ask him about the convertible. He doesn’t have an answer.

He said no. As we looked for the car, an employee approached us.

Employee: You can get the microphone out of my face. I’d appreciate it.

Celine: We are here simply to get a very simple answer. Where is this car?

Employee: The car… is… uh… Well, I’m not sure where it is. I don’t know which car you’re talking about. I’d have to look into…

Celine: [pulling up a picture of  the car on iPhone]: Here, let me show you.

Employee: I actually have a job to do so you guys… [Employee walks away]

Because Kelley has NO IDEA where the car is and who may be driving it, he’s been paying the insurance, just in case.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s still my car and I’m still responsible for it,” says Kelley.

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Jim Steiner, Concord Attorney

“Until he has an actual bill of sale, and the title is transferred, if there was any damage to the car, he would be—he as the owner and seller—would be responsible for the damage that occurs,” says Jim Steiner, Concord Attorney.

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Lt. Nicole Armaganian, New Hampshire State Police

“And then to know that it could potentially belong to somebody else, they could do anything with it from committing crimes to selling pieces of it,” says New Hampshire State Police Lieutenant Nicole Armaganian. She adds, “If you have a valid inspection sticker you could sell that, the valid registration you could sell that. If someone has a stolen vehicle, and they need just the VIN plate on a valid vehicle that looks to be the same, they could do something like that.”

This is just the beginning of the story. We are committed to helping Kelley find his car or get paid.

If you’re an unhappy customer of Dusty Old Cars, you need to read the fine print of your contract. There’s a non-disparagement clause, also known as a gag order, in it that prevents you from saying anything negative about Dusty Old Cars—even if it’s true.  Our legal expert Jim Steiner says it’s far from a slam-dunk in court, but you may want to contact your own lawyer.

Senior Assistant Attorney General & Consumer Protection Bureau Chief James Boffetti tells us that they have nearly 50 open and active investigations against Dusty Old Cars. Boffetti can’t share any details about the investigation but says *if his investigators find that Dusty Old Cars –or any NH business—violates Consumer Protection Laws, they can take pursue civil and criminal charges.

  • If an individual is found guilty of a civil Consumer Protection Act violation, he or she can face penalties of up to $10,000 per conviction.
  • If an individual is found guilty of a criminal Consumer Protection Act violation—a misdemeanor—the maximum penalty is 12 months in the New Hampshire House of Corrections and a $2,000 fine per count.
  • If a business is found guilty of a criminal Consumer Protection Act violation—a felony—the maximum penalty is $100,000 per conviction.

doc-graphic-for-the-endingIf you’ve been ripped off by Dusty Old Cars, please send me an email or a message on social media.

We will continue to investigate this story.

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