Settlement With Long Island Mail Order Company Ensures That Customers Receive Timely Refunds
Attorney General Spitzer today announced a settlement that repeatedly failed to ship ordered merchandise within thirty days or offer refunds to consumers as required by law.
Under the settlement, Northport Marketing, Inc., d/b/a Beautiful Music Company, located in Northport, New York, and its president and owner Richard Huntley, will not advertise items for sale unless the merchandise is reasonably anticipated to be available for shipment within thirty days. In addition, they agreed to either ship merchandise within thirty days of receipt of an order or notify consumers that there will be a delay in shipping and offer refunds. Beautiful Music Company also agreed to maintain a toll free phone number through which customers may make complaints and provide return forms for unwanted items. The company will pay $2500 in costs.
In April of 2002, the Attorney General's office received about fifty complaints from consumers about Beautiful Music Company. The investigation found that the Suffolk County business, which advertises CDs and cassette tapes in catalogs, newspapers and magazines frequently read by senior citizens, failed to ship ordered merchandise within thirty days or notify customers of a shipping delay and offer them a refund as required under the General Business Law.
"Under New York consumer protection statutes, it is fraudulent to advertise merchandise for sale that is not available for delivery within 30 days of the advertisement unless it is otherwise clearly specified. This agreement ensures that consumers who use mail order companies receive the goods they pay for--or refunds--in accordance with the law," said Spitzer.
Prior to this investigation, Beautiful Music Company did not maintain a toll free hot line through which consumers could contact the business. Accordingly, this settlement not only provides refunds to aggrieved customers, but also ensure, that future customers will have the benefit of an 800 telephone number through which they can check on the status of their orders and make complaints.
The investigation was handled by Assistant Attorney General Alan Berkowitz under the supervision of Denis McElligott, Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Suffolk Regional Office and Juan Merchan, Assistant Attorney General in Charge of Public Advocacy for Long Island. Assistance was provided by Senior Investigators Tom LoFrese and Stephen Boyle.