Temporary Restraining Order Issued Against Online Furniture Company
Posted November 9, 2006 8:11 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper Thursday won a temporary restraining order against an online furniture company.
The judge ordered High Point-based N.C. Furniture Buy Direct to end unfair or deceptive trade practices and to stop collecting upfront deposits without ordering furniture.
On Wednesday, Cooper had filed suit against the company and its owners, Darrell Buck and Russell Buck, because of more than 320 complaints his office has on file. Of those, 170 are unresolved because the customers have not received furniture or refunds.
The company had required deposits of at least 50 percent. That recently changed to full payment.
The complaint alleges consumers were told that their orders would be delivered within four to 12 weeks, yet in many cases, the online furniture company waited three months to place orders with manufacturers.
When customers called to complain, N.C. Furniture Buy Direct often blamed manufacturers for delays. Some consumers told Cooper they were told their orders had been lost when that was not the case. Manufacturers canceled some orders because the company did not pay them.
N.C. Furniture Buy Direct did not offer consumers the opportunity to agree to a delay in shipping or to cancel the order, which is against the federal mail order rule.
The company recently changed its name to N.C. Furniture World. The complaint alleges employees were instructed to deny a connection between the two companies.
Cooper is asking the court to order N.C. Furniture Buy Direct to pay refunds to consumers and civil penalties to the state.
Consumers who have paid by credit card should dispute that charge with their credit card company, Cooper advised. That may be the quickest way to get a refund.