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Canadian car buyers file complaint in U.S. federal court against automakers

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A Canadian couple filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court claiming they are being illegally discriminated against by car companies that turn down their business because they're from Canada, their lawyer said Friday.

Rhonda Chancey and Allan Coombs, a married couple from Newfoundland, filed the complaint Wednesday, according to Stephanie Jazlowiecki, a lawyer in Topsham.

The complaint says General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Honda and Toyota have rules forbidding U.S. dealers from selling their cars to people from Canada, where car prices are much higher, Jazlowiecki said. Denying Canadians the right to buy cars in the United States is a blatant form of discrimination based on their country of origin, she said.

There's no telling how many people will join the suit, she said.

``There are thousands of people who have been affected,'' she said.

Chancey and Coombs earlier filed a discrimination complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission before filing the federal court lawsuit.

The couple claims that more than 80 car dealerships in New England, including 61 in Maine, refused their business when the tried to buy a new car.

They finally got a new vehicle when a relative in New Hampshire purchased it at a local dealership and then sold it to them. Even after paying a transfer tax and a sales tax twice, the vehicle was still cheaper than it would have been in Canada.

Auto industry representatives earlier had no comment on the specifics of the complaint filed with the Maine Human Rights Commission.

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Canadian car buyers file complaint in U.S. federal court against automakers
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