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AG Nessel Warns Ionia Driver Education Provider of Intended Action for Alleged Consumer Protection Violations
June 05, 2023
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and her Corporate Oversight Division (COD) have issued a Notice of Intended Action (NIA) to iDrive Academy, LLC to secure student refunds following iDrive’s surrender of its driver education provider certification.
The Michigan Department of State (MDOS) requested the assistance of the Department of Attorney General and COD after a number of driver complaints filed with MDOS that described iDrive’s deceptive business practices, misleading marketing tactics, and failure to make refunds for driving classes that were paid for but never provided. iDrive is also accused of offering driver instruction to adult students whom it was not certified to instruct, as well as misrepresenting or falsifying course completion records. As a result, adult students face additional challenges stemming from the company’s misrepresentation of its certification.
"Having properly trained drivers on Michigan roads is vital for the safety of everyone who lives in this state," Nessel said. "And consumers have a right to get the services they pay for. The allegations against iDrive suggest the company may have failed on both fronts. My consumer protection team is committed to ensuring that Michigan consumers have guardrails against bad faith business practices."
These actions implicate several sections of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act (MCPA), including:
- Causing a probability of confusion or misunderstanding as to the source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of goods or services.
- Representing that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, [or] characteristics . . . that they do not have or that a person has sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation, or connection that he or she does not have.
- Failing to reveal a material fact, the omission of which tends to mislead or deceive the consumer, and which fact could not reasonably be known by the consumer.
- Failing, in a consumer transaction that is rescinded, canceled, or otherwise terminated in accordance with the terms of an agreement, advertisement, representation, or provision of law, to promptly restore to the person or persons entitled to it a deposit, down payment, or other payment[.]
- Making a representation of fact or statement of fact material to the transaction such that a person reasonably believes the represented or suggested state of affairs to be other than it actually is.
- Failing to reveal facts that are material to the transaction in light of representations of fact made in a positive manner.
In its April 2023 Provider Closeout Agreement, iDrive admitted to 21 or more serious violations of the Michigan Driver Education Provider and Instructor Act (MCL 256.621 et seq.). In the same Agreement, iDrive surrendered its provider certification for no less than five years and agreed to “make all consumers whole and provide a full refund to students enrolled in courses they were unable to complete.”
The Attorney General alleges iDrive has reneged on its obligation in the Closeout Agreement to financially restore students impacted by its closure. It is believed iDrive has not yet refunded many of its students, and the total number of impacted students cannot be confirmed due to iDrive’s fragmented business records.
The Department’s intended action outlined in the notice is to file suit seeking all available remedies to protect consumers’ rights, including injunctive relief, imposition of civil fines, and appropriate compensation, should iDrive not provide assurance of voluntary compliance.
The Attorney General’s concerns relate solely to iDrive Academy, LLC, located in Ionia County, Michigan. If you believe you have been victimized by iDrive Academy, LLC, or a different Driver Education Program in Michigan, you can file a consumer complaint here or you can contact the Consumer Protection Team at 517-335-7599.