State accuses Cary furniture firm of deceptive practices
Posted September 26, 2011
A Superior Court judge has ordered a Cary company that sells furniture online not to take any new orders or payments until it fulfills existing orders or provides refunds.
Attorney General Roy Cooper filed suit last week against Grand Furniture Gallery and its owner, Max Robert Godfrey Jr., based on numerous complaints from consumers who paid the company money but never received their furniture.
Judge Osmond Smith agreed late Friday with Cooper’s request to temporarily bar Godfrey and his company from taking any new orders or payments. Cooper is also seeking to permanently bar the company and its employees from unfair or deceptive business practices.
“Companies that take your money need to be prepared to make good on your order or they shouldn’t be in business,” Cooper said in a statement. “Our goal is to make sure consumers get what they paid for or help them get their money back.”
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.
Cooper contends that Godfrey has previously owned and operated two other furniture companies and that at least one of them, NC Home Furniture, had problems delivering orders as promised. The Consumer Protection Division was investigating the company when it filed for bankruptcy in December 2006.