Attorney General Cuomo Orders Affordable Furniture To Cease Pricing Scheme, Honor Delinquent Deliveries

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (October 24, 2008) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his office has ordered a Utica-based furniture chain to immediately stop a deceptive pricing scheme and make good on overdue deliveries.

The Attorney General's Office sent a "cease-and-desist" letter to James Castellano, owner of Affordable Furniture, which has locations in Utica, Watertown, Rome and Syracuse. The letter demanded that the store immediately stop listing fictitious usual pricing on the furniture as part of its "Remerchandising Relinquishment" sale, which is in violation of state law that prohibits deceptive business practices and false advertising. The letter also demanded that Affordable Furniture deliver - within two weeks - furniture that had not yet been delivered within the timeframes detailed in consumers' contracts.

"My office is committed to holding businesses accountable for the way they treat their customers," said Attorney General Cuomo. "This furniture retailer was delinquent in deliveries and artificially inflated the prices of its inventory as a way to dupe consumers into thinking they could bargain to get a good deal. When we learned about these practices, we immediately intervened to put a stop to them."

Attorney General Cuomo's Office found that Affordable Furniture's posted prices had no relation to the usual store prices of the merchandise, nor were they tied to any other comparable prices. The Office also found that the store's advertisements and pricing were misleading as they led consumers to erroneously believe they were being offered a discount from regular pricing.

The Attorney General's Office also notified Affordable Furniture that has received multiple complaints of furniture not being delivered within the time frames set forth in the contract.

Because of the Attorney General's intervention, Affordable Furniture is changing their sales tags to show the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), the store's customary price and the new sale price. The Attorney General's Office also demanded that Affordable Furniture deliver all outstanding undelivered pieces in accordance with contract terms or refund the customers' money within two weeks.

Consumers who believe they may have been victims of false or deceptive business practices are urged to contact the Attorney General's Consumer Help Line at 800-771-7755.

The matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General-In-Charge of the Watertown Regional Office Deanna Nelson.