Cary, N.C. — When you buy furniture, you sometimes have to expect to wait a while to get it – weeks, even months. But an Apex couple has been waiting eight months for a custom bedroom suite from a relatively new furniture company in Cary, Carolina Farmhouse Furniture.
“So far, this is what we’ve got: a bed that was delayed in delivery and this is the rest of it,” Bill Nelson told 5 On Your Side, gesturing to an empty bedroom.
He and his wife ordered a bed, dresser, chest of drawers and nightstand last May. It was their 15th anniversary gift.
The total cost was $4,100 and they put down about $2,400.
“It’s kind of a nightmare waiting for it,” Nelson said.
Carolina Farmhouse Furniture got national attention when their woodwork was featured in an Extreme Home Makeover TV show filmed in Fayetteville. The exposure helped grow the business, which is probably part of the reason for the delays the Nelsons have experienced.
According to their invoice, delivery would happen sometime between July 9 and Aug. 20.
On July 19, after the Nelsons say they inquired about their furniture, they got an email from owner Kelly Utt-Grubb, saying the order wasn’t ready but that it “will not go beyond Aug. 20.”
The delivery never came.
The next email from Carolina Farmhouse, again in response to one the Nelsons sent, promised the bed and nightstand would be delivered Sept. 9. That didn’t happen either.
The bed, alone, finally arrived on Sept. 24.
“It will be eight months now and still no definite delivery for any furniture at all,” Nelson told 5 On Your Side.
He says the company’s response to his many phone calls and emails has been almost as slow as the delivery.
When he did talk with Utt-Grubb, “she made a point of telling me how there’s hundreds of people who are pleased with their product, which I said is good for them, but I am 100 percent not.”
A quick Internet search found plenty of other unhappy customers.
One wrote about countless emails and calls unanswered, empty promises and an extremely high frustration level.
Another complained about quality, saying one leg was too short. Carolina Farmhouse Furniture promised a replacement, but only gave excuses.
The one that caught Nelson’s eye involved a $1,200 desk ordered last July. As of late December, the customers still didn’t have it.
Nelson read the headline from that customer’s complaint: “Carolina Farmhouse does not deliver on time. Tons of lies, broken promises and bullying."
When 5 On Your Side asked what Nelson thought after reading that headline, he told us that it summed up his entire experience.
After calling Carolina Farmhouse Furniture and getting nothing but multiple voicemails, 5 On Your Side went to their new showroom in Cary late one morning. No one was there.
Soon after we left, Utt-Grubb returned our calls. She says Carolina Farmhouse is an accidental business that started out of her and her husband’s garage. She said they have zero experience running a business and described the many delays as the growing pains of a small business.
Utt-Grubb agreed to give the Nelsons a full refund.
The couple decided to keep the bed, but get their money back for the rest of the order.
We will keep you posted about the status of the Nelson’s refund. As for other customers, Utt-Grubb says Carolina Farmhouse Furniture just partnered with another shop and hopes to get caught up on orders next month.
Everybody needs to know that if you order online or over the phone, you’re protected by the Federal Mail Order rule. Under the law, if what you order isn’t delivered by the estimated date, you have the right to either reschedule delivery or get a refund.
Buying with a credit card also gives you protection because you can dispute a charge.