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Post date: December 5 2001

Lawsuit Accuses Furniture Retailer Of Fraud

Attorney General Spitzer today announced a lawsuit against a Capital Region discount furniture store accused of unscrupulous business practices and a persistent pattern of broken promises to customers.

Economy Furniture, Inc. - based in Schenectady - is accused of fraud, deceptive business practices and repeated violations of a state consumer protection law regulating merchandise delivery.

"My office has received dozens of consumer complaints against Economy Furniture," Spitzer said. "Despite repeated customer problems and extensive mediation efforts, the company has refused to reform its business practices."

In the past three years, Spitzer's office has received approximately 80 complaints against Economy Furniture.

The lawsuit alleges that Economy Furniture repeatedly failed to give estimated delivery dates to customers ordering furniture - as required by state law. In the instances when the company provided a delivery date, consumers consistently experienced extended delays and numerous excuses before finally receiving their merchandise. Some consumers were left waiting at home all day for delivery only to learn of cancellation after having taken time off from work.

Customers who ordered furniture and arranged to pick it up themselves found that, on the pre-arranged pick-up date, their merchandise was out of stock or otherwise unavailable.

Economy Furniture often refused to provide refunds to consumers who attempted to cancel their orders because of extended delays - another violation of the state general business law.

Spitzer's lawsuit also alleges that Economy Furniture induced customers to make purchases based on representations that the items were warranted for 30 days. Not until after consumers paid and furniture was delivered did they discover it was damaged. Requests for repairs were met with more excuses and delays and, when the company finally did make the repair, it attempted to charge for a service that should have been covered by the warranty.

Spitzer's office filed the lawsuit to put a stop to the unlawful, deceptive and unscrupulous business practices of Economy Furniture. Although the company has resolved many complaints through the Attorney General's mediation program, it has failed to reform its business practices and continues to victimize consumers throughout the region.

Spitzer's lawsuit seeks a court order barring the company from future violations of consumer protection laws, restitution for any customers harmed by Economy Furniture business practices, civil penalties, and court costs.

Individuals with complaints against Economy Furniture are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at (800) 771-7755.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Barbaro of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau.