Bryan Cohen Oct. 22, 2012, 6:30pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (Legal Newsline) - North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced a consent judgment on Oct. 12 against the owner of a Cary furniture company that allegedly took advance payments and failed to deliver.

Under the terms of the consent judgment, Max Robert Godfrey, Jr., the owner of Grand Furniture Gallery, is banned from operating or owning any business that takes advance deposits for furniture. If Godfrey violates the order, he will owe civil penalties totaling $100,000.

"North Carolina has long been known for its furniture industry, but sellers that don't come through for consumers tarnish that reputation," Cooper said. "The bottom line is that if you take people's money for furniture, you need to deliver."

Godfrey filed for bankruptcy in July 2011, dissolving the company in June.

In September 2011, Cooper sued Godfrey and Grand Furniture Gallery based on 23 consumer complaints. The complaints alleged that the consumers paid the company money and never received their furniture in return. The Better Business Bureau, which gave the company an "F" rating, also received multiple complaints about Grand Furniture Gallery.

Grand Furniture Gallery required consumers to pay for orders in advance. Beginning in late 2010, the company either required payment in advance by check or encouraged it by offering discounts. Consumers were told the items would arrive in four to 16 weeks, but the items allegedly never arrived as promised. Mail order companies are required by federal law to tell consumers if orders will be delayed and must offer a new delivery date or refund.

Godfrey was the owner and operator of two other furniture companies. One of the companies, NC Home Furniture, was the subject of 74 consumer complaints between 2004 and 2006. Cooper's Consumer Protection Division was looking into the company when it filed for bankruptcy on December 6, 2006.

"Always check out a company before you make a big purchase, especially if you're placing your order online," Cooper said. "Doing some research first can save you time, money and frustration."

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