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- April 13, 1994: I took my 93 Caravan to Smyly Dodge (Malden, MA) for an oil change and
minor warranty work. (Yes, this is the same Caravan that went to Alaska in
Travels with Samantha.)
- April 15, 1994: When I picked up the van, there was a
coil of wires where the Alpine cassette/tuner used to be in the
dashboard. I asked them "may I please have my radio back" and they
said "What radio? There was no radio in the car when you brought it
in." I replied that "I must have imagined listening to that tape as I
- April 19, 1994: Alec DeSimone, a Vice-President of Smyly called on
Tuesday and said "I'm sorry, but everyone I talked to said there was
no radio in the car when you brought it in." I suggested that
settling our differences in a 93A (Massachusetts Consumer Protection
Act) lawsuit might not be the most enjoyable experience for them.
"93A doesn't cover this kind of thing. Besides, I go to court all the
time. And we ALWAYS win," he said.
- April 19, 1994 (later): I sent Smyly a
93A demand letter (the
statute prevents you from recovering treble damages unless you give
the business 30 days to make you a reasonable settlement offer).
- May 23, 1994: I filed a
in Malden District Court against Smyly.
- August 5, 1994: I'd received no answer to the Complaint from Smyly
despite their having been served by a Sheriff and despite two reminder
phone calls on my part. The Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure
give a defendant 20 days to answer a Complaint so I sent the court a
Request for Default Judgment.
- August 9, 1994: The Clerk at Malden District Court sends Smyly and
me an Entry of Default.
- August 16, 1994: A lawyer named Thomas Burns calls me and
tells me that he represents Smyly. Motors Insurance, which is Smyly's
liability carrier, called him to ask why there was a default and why
didn't he answer the Complaint? He told them that he never got the
Complaint and they checked their files and found that they never sent
it to him. He said he was all set to file a motion to remove the
default and then an Answer but discovered that he had a conflict
because his firm was representing somebody in litigation with Smyly.
- August 16, 1994: I spoke with Karl Drews, Smyly's lawyer of the
moment, and he asked me to assent to a removal of the default, which
he claimed was routinely given because judges don't like to let
defaults stand, preferring to give people their day in court. I
refused so we agreed to a hearing on September 8. Drews files an
Answer and a
Motion to Remove Default.
- August 30, 1994: Greenspun sends his
memo opposing Drews's motion to remove the default
to Drews. This motion is accompanied by an
affidavit because it isn't enough to assert facts in a motion; one must have
somebody swear to them (even if it is the same person who writes the motion).
- September 8, 1994: Greenspun and Drews show up at 9 am to do
battle in Malden District Court. There is only one judge and he is
busy with a heavy criminal docket. Just about the time I'd finished
reading the Wall Street Journal, a clerk comes out to
announce that the judge won't appear until 2 pm. Drews offers to
settle the case for $700 or $800, implying that this would be a big
favor to me and very gracious of Motors Insurance's part. I told him
that my pre-litigation settlement offer to Smyly was $2500 and that I'd
certainly not take less than that. It turned out that I couldn't show up
at 2 pm so Drews got the judge to himself. According to a conversation
I had with Drews later, the judge took the matter under advisement and
did not rule from the bench, so he might have read my brief. Smyly's
motion to remove the default was allowed and now we're back to ordinary
- September 14, 1994: Drews calls to offer $750 and says he is going
to file an "offer of judgment" for that amount with the court. This
will make me liable for Smyly's' costs, but not their legal fees,
should I ultimately win a judgment of less than $750 from a judge or a
jury. Drews says that this is all I'll ever get from a court, that I
can't get lost wages or other damage, but he is overlooking 93A. I
refuse the offer.
- September 15, 1994: Drews files Smyly's answer, the promised offer of judgment, and begins
discovery with a request for
production of documents plus a set of interrogatories.
- November 1, 1994: Greenspun files four documents:
answers to Smyly's interrogatories,
a response to Smyly's document request,
some of his own interrogatories to Smyly, and
finally his own request for documents from
- December 27, 1994: Greenspun files a request with the
court for final judgment for relief for failure to answer
- January 12, 1995: Smyly files its answers to plaintiff's
- January 13-February 2, 1995: Greenspun goes on awesome
trip to Costa Rica.
- March 16, 1995: Greenspun moves the court to compel production of documents and
further answers to interrogatories from Smyly. Smyly for its part
moves to compel further answers and documents from Greenspun,
including my tax returns to show that I didn't lose $2400 worth of
- March 31, 1995: Judge Brian R. Merrick of the Malden District
Court denies both motions to
compel and schedules a trial for the following Friday. With a
little research, I discover that dozens of Smyly customers and the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts have filed suits against Smyly.
- April 5, 1995. Greenspun files a motion to compel Smyly to at
least let him take photographs of the premises. It is not judge
Merrick this time, but a judge with a kinder, gentler manner. He
denies my motion. Smyly moves to continue the trial because Alec
DeSimone, their star witness in many previous lawsuits, won't be
available. Judge Merrick allows their motion.
- May 5, 1995: The trial before Judge Merrick. I am awarded $760 on
Claim I, just enough to put me over Smyly's "offer of judgment".
Judge Merrick denies my other claims, including my 93A claim that
could have gotten me treble damages.
- If I had been a real man (instead of a wimp with a
personal philosophy regarding dispute resolution), I would have appealed for a jury trial.
Because I claimed less than $25,000 in damages initially, I could not
file in Superior Court. My right to the jury trial that I demanded is
preserved by giving me an automatic right to appeal for a jury trial
if I don't like the results of my district court trial. I would have
had to pay a $110 removal fee and post a $100 bond. Instead of going
through this, I settled with Smyly for $1000. I cashed the check and
went back to my research.
- February 1998: donated minivan to Southern Animal Rescue
Guide to other Boston-area auto mechanics
What a bunch of pricks these Smyly people are.
-- N. Hopper, April 29, 2000
Not _ALL_ Smyly's are like this! <g>
-- G Smyly, July 9, 2000
Mr Greenspan, clearly you feel very aggrieved. It doesn't help you to feel bitter. It ruins your enjoyment of life. You may or may not ever say The Lord's Prayer, but if you do remember that you ask for forgiveness as you forgive.
In the meantime you are ruining my enjoyment of looking up 'Smyly' on the internet by filling it with your unhappy experiences !
With best wishes from an honest Smyly.
-- Robert Smyly, March 9, 2001
I absolutely love this site and the details of the Smyly case. You may save dozens of people from buying from Smyly and in turn they will (and probably have) lost $thousands. Buying Smyly.com was a GREAT move. Thanks again for this site.
-- Chris Papas, April 10, 2001
I think we should all go to Smyly's to to pretend to be interested in buying their products and then after using up an hour of their time, hand them a print out of this forum and say something like "It's not nice to steal from photographers!"
If everyone who read this forum offered one hour of their time to help Phil get even we could in effect close the place down!
-- Scott Bourne, July 22, 2001
Well bravo for winning, and sticking at it. I really cannot beleive how difficult it was - in the UK I filled out one form, attended court for one hour, won judgement. Filled out another form and collect dues via the bailiffs.
We cannot get treble damages though!
-- Chris Street, September 28, 2001
Reading from CO and not even sure how I ended up on this page, but kudos to you! It's great that you can keep others informed with websites like this. Hopefully your DREADFUL experience will help others not to service or buy vehicles from crooks like this!!
-- H Sileo, November 18, 2001
I work with one of these damn Smyly's at my Dodge Garage and he keeps stealing my tools!
-- Billy Bob Smith, December 28, 2001
I came across this site while wondering around looking for ACS information. Having read the Ford and Smyly stories, I laughed when I realised that Smyly.com points to your pages. I thought that was brilliant! Well done!
-- Kirstyn Ockford, May 22, 2002
While surfing through endless web pages looking to purchase a used auto, I realized I had forgotten about the Smyly dealership near my home (I live in Saugus). Knowing the Smyly name for years I considered their dealership for my purchase. However, after reading your comments I will NOT set foot on their lot. Thank you for your time creating this informative site. Smyly will not get my business. I will advise everyone I know to "steer clear" of Smyly :-) WTG!!
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-- Carole Condon, October 21, 2002
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