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Post date: July 30 2003

Ithaca Computer Store Sued For Fraud

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against a Tompkins County computer store that accepted payments from consumers for merchandise that it failed to deliver.

In a lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court in Tompkins County, SDI Concepts, Inc., which does business as PC Shop Computer Center, and its owner, Steven D. Irvin were accused of repeated acts of illegality and fraud.

"Whether it is a multinational corporation or a local independent business - duplicitous business practices will be met by aggressive law enforcement action by my office," Spitzer said.

Specifically, Spitzer's office alleges that PC Shop has failed to deliver ordered merchandise or to provide refunds, failed to return telephone calls and e-mail messages left by customers, and has engaged in deceptive business practices.

Over 50 consumer complaints have been filed with Spitzer's office and the Better Business Bureau against PC Shop. Many consumers complained that they paid in full for computers, computer equipment, or accessories, but never received their merchandise or a refund. When consumers purchased items on PC Shop's web sites - PC-Shop1.com, PC-Product.com, and Ideal-PC.com - consumers were left with the impression that all items were available because no notice was given that an item was not in stock . Because its web page indicates that most items are shipped within 1 - 5 business days, consumers awaited the delivery of products that never arrived.

When customers contacted the company, they received confirmation for their orders and messages that provided specific delivery dates. PC Shop, however, repeatedly failed to ship items by such dates.

Further, PC Shop repeatedly represented to consumers that customer service representatives are available to assist consumers, which is rarely the case.

Despite claims on the retailer's website that consumers may cancel an order and receive a full refund, PC Shop has persistently refused to do so.

Spitzer's lawsuit seeks a court order barring PC Shop from engaging in any further fraudulent and illegal practices, and banning the computer retailer from operating in New York State unless it posts a $100,000 performance bond. In addition, the Attorney General is seeking an order requiring PC Shop to provide a full accounting of consumer transactions and enjoining the company from destroying or disposing of any business records.

The lawsuit also seeks restitution and damages for injured consumers, plus civil penalties for each violation of the law and costs.

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

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Michael Danaher, Jr. of the Binghamton Regional Office.