"These Midas shops were running a massive bait-and-switch scam, in which customers were lured in with the promise of cheap brake specials and then charged hundreds more for unnecessary repairs," Brown said in a statement. "This investigation revealed a shady and deceptive operation that violated the trust of its customers."
During the four-year investigation, agents found shops owned by Maurice Irving Glad regularly advertised sub-$100 brake specials to lure customers into paying for hundreds of dollars of work that was not needed or, sometimes, not even done.
The lawsuit, filed was filed by Brown along with Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff and Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth A. Egan.
This isn't Glad's first brush with the law. He ran afoul of the state in the 1980s and was under a 1989 injunction prohibiting the practices being alleged.
Shops charged agents an average of almost $300 in unnecessary brake rotor resurfacings, brake drum repairs, brake adjustments, brake cleaning services and other services, the Attorney General's Office said.
UPDATE: Midas spokesman Bob Troyer said the company had no specific comment on the lawsuit.
However, he noted that Glad has been franchisee for 32 years and has been committed to training his workforce in technical and customer service areas. Since learning of the California investigation, the company has been working with those shops.
And, Troyer added, "We do not control the day-to-day in-shop operations of franchised shops."