RALEIGH, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — A Cary company that sells furniture online is under court order not to take any new orders or payments until it fulfills existing orders or provides refunds, Attorney General Roy Cooper said Monday.
“Companies that take your money need to be prepared to make good on your order or they shouldn’t be in business,” Cooper said. “Our goal is to make sure consumers get what they paid for or help them get their money back.”
Wake County Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith agreed late Friday with Cooper’s request to temporarily bar Godfrey and his company from taking any new orders or payments until all existing orders have been filled or consumers have gotten refunds. Cooper is also seeking to permanently bar the company and its employees from unfair or deceptive business practices.
Cooper filed suit last week against Grand Furniture Gallery and its owner Max Robert Godfrey, Jr. of Cary based on numerous complaints from consumers who paid the company money but never received their furniture. Thirteen consumers filed complaints about Grand Furniture Gallery with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, and 51 consumers complained to the Better Business Bureau, which gave the company an “F” rating.
As alleged in the lawsuit, Grand Furniture Gallery requires consumers to pay for orders in advance. Since late 2010, the company has either required payment by check or encouraged it by offering discounts. Consumers who place orders with the company are usually told that their items will arrive in four to 16 weeks, but the items don’t arrive as promised. Under federal law, mail order companies must tell consumers if their orders will be delayed and offer them a new delivery date or a refund.
According to their complaints and affidavits, most consumers who’ve complained about Grand Furniture Gallery say they’re still waiting to receive their furniture or get their money back. For example:
· A Guilford County consumer ordered $618.70 worth of furniture on February 4, 2011. After sending several emails asking when his order would arrive, he was told that most orders are delivered within 4-8 weeks, but that it sometimes takes as much as 10-12 weeks. More than 30 weeks later, he still hasn’t gotten his furniture or a refund.
· A Georgia resident paid Grand Furniture Gallery $2,249.51 for furniture on November 26, 2010. The company gave him a five percent discount for prepaying by check. After he repeatedly tried to contact the company, he was told that they were working on his order and would deliver it in another few weeks. Neither his furniture nor his refund has ever arrived.
· A New York consumer paid $2164.17 by check for his furniture order on November 15, 2010. His check was cashed four days later, but 10 months later he has yet to receive his furniture or a refund.
Cooper contends that Godfrey, owner of Grand Furniture Gallery, has previously owned and operated two other furniture companies, and at least one of those companies, NC Home Furniture, had problems delivering orders as promised. Between 2004 and 2006, 74 consumers complained about NC Home Furniture. The Consumer Protection Division was investigating the company when it filed for bankruptcy on December 6, 2006.
“Check out companies before you place your order, and make sure you get the details on the delivery date, total cost and return policy in writing,” Cooper said. “Whenever possible, pay by credit card instead of check to protect yourself in case your order doesn’t arrive.”
Consumers can call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM to check out and company and can get more tips on ordering furniture or file a complaint at www.ncdoj.gov.