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Post date: December 9 2003

Bankrupt Specialty Home Improvement Retailer Agrees To Consumer Protections In Liquidation Sale

Attorney General Spitzer today urged consumers who have valid gift certificates and credit slips from Woodworkers Warehouse, Inc. to begin redeeming them immediately. The retailer - which operates 24 stores across the state recently commenced a bankruptcy liquidation sale.

The high-end home improvement retailer of wood-working tools, power tools and accessories filed for bankruptcy on December 2nd and commenced its court-ordered liquidation sale last Friday, December 5th.

"This office will continue to protect consumers' rights against companies that conduct bankruptcy liquidation sales," Spitzer said.

In a hearing last week, Spitzer's office joined with the attorneys general of New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts to demand better consumer protections in the Woodworkers Warehouse liquidation sale such as the redemption of gift certificates and merchandise returns.

As a result of these efforts, consumers will be able to redeem gift certificates and credit slips issued within the past four months throughout the duration of the liquidation sale. Without such efforts, consumers would have been forced to file claims with the bankruptcy court.

It is estimated that there are approximately $680,000 worth of outstanding gift certificates and credit slips.

Woodworkers Warehouse's liquidators also will accept the return of merchandise purchased within 30 days prior to the commencement of the liquidation sale providing a consumer furnishes a cash register receipt.

Woodworkers Warehouse also agreed to notify all consumers who have merchandise in for repair or those individuals who have special order merchandise to pick-up their merchandise as soon as possible.

The attorneys general also obtained important privacy protections for customers and employees of Woodworkers Warehouse. The company cannot sell or abandon any computer or cash register unless all personal information of customers and employees has been deleted from the equipment.

As a result of Friday's court order, the attorneys general maintained their rights to enforce their "police powers" with regard to any violations of laws related to the environment, consumer protection, public safety, health, and privacy.

The sale is scheduled to end on January 31, 2004; however, if the sale at a particular store will end prior to that date, the liquidators of Woodworkers Warehouse agreed to provide consumers seven days notice.

Woodworkers Warehouse has retail stores in the following counties: Albany, Broome, Clinton, Chautauqua, Chemung, Cortland, Dutchess, Erie, Fulton, Jefferson, Monroe, Onondaga, Orange, Queens, St. Lawrence, Suffolk, Ulster, Warren, Wayne, and Westchester. An address list for all of Woodworkers Warehouse retail outlets is attached.

Spitzer's office has recently intervened successfully on behalf of consumers in a number of bankruptcy cases, including "The Wiz," K-Mart, Ames, the Museum Company and Quality Stores, a large agricultural retailer. Spitzer also is currently involved in the pending bankruptcy cases of Bob's Stores, Inc., FAO Schwartz and Zainy Brainy.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Nancy Hershey Lord of the Civil Recoveries Bureau and Thomas Conway, Assistant Attorney General In Charge of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau.