By Shereen Siewert
An investigation is underway at two additional locations of 199Ride, months after the Wausau dealership voluntarily closed.
The Wausau 199Ride.com had dozens of complaints alleging the dealership misled customers by hiding records of prior crashes and serious defects from customers, a review of Wisconsin Department of Transportation records shows.
WBAY reports the Division of Criminal Investigation and a top investigator with the Department of Motor Vehicles were at the Ashwaubenon location Tuesday, while unmarked police cars were spotted outside the Appleton location.
DCI officials have not released any details about the investigation.
As previously reported, Wausau Pilot & Review reviewed hundreds of pages of documents as part of an open records request detailing complaints against Wausau Auto, which for years advertised vehicles under the “199Ride.Com” slogan. Complaints range from allegations of fraud to deceptive business practices. Several customers told investigators they were sold vehicles that had such serious mechanical issues they were nearly inoperable.
Read our investigative report, which includes complaint details, here.
Several employees, who asked their names be withheld to protect them from retaliation, contacted Wausau Pilot & Review describing a hostile work environment at the dealership marked by lawsuits, threats and deceptive business practices.
“I am so sorry for what those customers, and probably others, have gone through emotionally and financially,” one employee wrote. “However, the emotional and financial struggles did not just occur with customers.”
Owner Scott McCormick did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Cynthia Pillar, a motor vehicle program specialist with the DOT’s field investigation unit, said Wausau Auto, LLC voluntarily closed in 2020.
“Wausau Auto was not subject to an administrative action on part of the Department of Transportation,” Pillar told Wausau Pilot & Review. “It appears to be a voluntary surrender of the dealer license.”
The business was warned in 2013 by the DOT about potentially deceptive advertising practices, according to state documents. The company regularly advertises $199 down with $199 payments, saying “everyone rides at 199ride.com.”
This is a developing story that will be updated.