N.C. AG to company: Fill existing orders before taking new ones

Bryan Cohen Sep. 27, 2011, 1:44pm


RALEIGH, N.C. (Legal Newsline) - North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced a court order on Monday against a Cary-based online furniture sales company barring it from taking new orders until it fulfills existing orders or provides refunds.

Grand Furniture Gallery and its owner Max Robert Godfrey Jr., allegedly took advance payments for orders from consumers without delivering the furniture on multiple occasions. Cooper filed suit against the company last week based on 13 complaints made to his Consumer Protection Division and 51 consumer complaints made to the Better Business Bureau.

"Companies that take your money need to be prepared to make good on your order or they shouldn't be in business," Cooper said. "Our goal is to make sure consumers get what they paid for or help them get their money back."

Wake County Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith agreed to honor Cooper's request to temporarily bar Godfrey and his company from taking any new payments or orders until all existing orders have been filled or consumers have gotten refunds. Cooper is also seeking to permanently bar the company and its employees from deceptive or unfair business practices.

The lawsuit alleges that Grand Furniture Gallery, since late 2010, required consumers to pay for orders in advance, required payment by check or encouraged it by offering discounts. Consumers who place orders with the company are usually told that their items will arrive in four to 16 weeks, but the items allegedly don't arrive as promised. Under federal law, mail order companies must tell consumers if their orders will be delayed and offer them a new delivery date or a refund.

Cooper alleges that Godfrey, the owner of Grand Furniture Gallery, previously owned and operated two other furniture companies. At least one of those companies, NC Home Furniture, had problems delivering orders as promised. Between 2004 and 2006, 74 consumers complained about NC Home Furniture. The company filed for bankruptcy on December 6, 2006.

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