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AG Cooper wins order against Internet furniture company

Release date: 2/21/2007

National Furniture of High Point ordered to stop taking money without delivering goods

Raleigh: A furniture distributor based in High Point must stop collecting money from consumers upfront and then failing to deliver furniture as promised, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.

“Companies like this are hurting consumers and the reputation of our furniture industry,” said Cooper. “We’ll continue to go after bad apples like this one to make sure consumers get what they pay for.”

On Friday, Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway agreed with Cooper’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop National Furniture of High Point and its owner Myron Savage from deceiving consumers. Under the order, the company is barred from taking upfront payments for furniture orders unless they place the money in an escrow account, place the order within five days, and give a realistic delivery time that the company either sticks to or allows customers to get a refund. Cooper is also asking the court to permanently stop the company’s bad practices and order National Furniture to pay refunds to consumers and civil.

Cooper filed a suit against National Furniture February 6 after receiving 34 complaints from consumers in several states, including North Carolina. The Better Business Bureau of Greensboro has also received 74 complaints against the company in the past 3 years.

According to Cooper’s complaint, National Furniture has been offering furniture for sale via the Internet for several years. National Furniture took orders by telephone and accepted only checks and money orders as payment, not credit cards. The company required consumers to pay a fifty percent deposit when they placed an order and then pay the rest when the order arrived at the distribution center, before it was delivered to their home. Most customers were told their order would arrive in four to ten weeks. However, sales agents claim Myron Savage often told them to tell consumers their orders would be delivered in two to four weeks when he knew it would take longer, and even told them to say orders had arrived when they had not. Many consumers didn’t receive their furniture by the due date and weren’t notified of a delay.

As alleged in the complaint, the company has failed to deliver furniture to many consumers including some who have been waiting for their items for as long as a year. The federal mail order rule requires companies like National Furniture to give customers the option of a full refund if their order doesn’t arrive on time, which the company failed to do. Many consumers tried to call the company about a refund or to check the status of their order but couldn’t get a response.

“Check out a company carefully before you give them your hard-earned money,” warned Cooper. “When you’re making a large purchase, doing business with a place that takes credit cards can give you added protection if there’s a problem down the road.”