Business takes your money then abruptly shuts down; now what?

May 10, 2022, 6:15 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 10:01 pm

BLUFFDALE, Utah — Imagine paying a deposit for expensive furniture, only to have the company vanish before you get your stuff. It has become a familiar experience for several Utahns who bought furniture from a Bluffdale store.

For months and months, the business owner pleaded for patience. Now, she has gone silent. So, what do you do if it happens to you?

“It’s just really frustrating,” said Drake Turner.

His dining set is still incomplete. Of the six chairs he says he ordered in November 2020, he only got two.

“They told us supply chain issues and all that,” Turner said. “And during the COVID pandemic, that’s totally fine.”

Turner has messages showing that, for several months, he had been communicating with the store, The Furniture Lady. But more than a year later, the store is now ghosting him.

“I was just like, blunt. ‘Did you guys go out of business?’” he said. “No response.”

Turner is not alone in his frustrations with The Furniture Lady. The KSL Investigators heard from others with similar stories, including a viewer saying, “They have run off with our money and we’re not getting anything.” Another viewer wrote, “I just need to know if they are still in business, and if not, if we’ve lost our money that we gave them.” And another, “It has been very frustrating, especially when I saved up money to buy this custom couch and now may very well be stolen from.”

We tried to reach The Furniture Lady by phone but our messages were not returned.

And no luck at the company’s business address. The Furniture Lady’s showroom has been re-rented. The current tenant told us they are glad we are doing this story cause they are growing tired of angry Furniture Lady customers barging through their doors looking for answers.

Searching online, we found the Better Business Bureau has not had any luck tracking down The Furniture Lady, either. The consumer watchdog organization has slapped the company with an F rating, saying the company has “failed to respond to 11 complaints.”

“They are most likely closed down and are not going to be sending out any of those orders,” said Britta Clark, spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau of Utah. “If the business hasn’t filed for bankruptcy, they’re still obligated to fulfill your order for goods and services or issue you a refund.”

We asked Clark what customers could do if they paid the Furniture Lady in advance but have not received the furniture they ordered.

“Call your credit card company and ask to get that money returned to you put in a chargeback,” Clark said. “Dispute the money that you’ve spent on it because they should be able to do that if you’re paying with a credit card.”

If you paid with cash or your debit card — or the time limit for a credit card dispute has run out — it can be more complicated to get your money back.

“While it can be a time consuming and expensive option, you can choose to take the company to court,” Clark said. “You can contact your local law enforcement if you find that you’re not able to get in touch with the company.”

And it may be somewhat of a long shot. Clark recommends people who bought a warranty with their order from the shuttered store to contact the manufacturer.

“Sometimes you’re able to contact the manufacturer and get a refund issued from the warranty,” she said.

“I don’t want to be mean, but it sounds like they’re just trying to steal money from customers,” Drake Turner said of his situation.

It is now too late for him to dispute the charges with his credit card company. He is stuck between either waiting for the Furniture Lady to respond or to file a lawsuit.

The Utah Division of Consumer Protection also takes complaints from jilted customers. They cannot legally tell me if they have received any complaints about the Furniture Lady or if an investigation is underway. To date, they have not cited the company for any wrongdoing.

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Business takes your money then abruptly shuts down; now what?