North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper received a court order last week that bars Fat Sound Guitar and Musical Company, Inc. and its owner from doing business in the state after it allegedly failed to deliver purchased products.
The musical equipment supply store in Cary, North Carolina, is owned by Stuart Vries Carter, Jr. In addition to operating a brick-and-mortar business, Carter also sold merchandise online under the store's name.
Carter and the store's employees allegedly collected deposits or the full purchase price from customers for items, but then failed to tell them about delivery delays. In several cases, the store never placed orders for merchandise despite receiving payment from customers. It also allegedly would resell customers' equipment without paying them a portion of the proceeds.
“When you spend your hard-earned money, you deserve to get what you paid for,” Cooper said. “Taking money and then giving consumers the run around isn’t the way to do business in North Carolina.”
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division received 18 complaints against the business.
As part of the court order issued by Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens, Fat Sound also must pay $38,631 in refunds to customers. The company is barred from further advertising or selling in the state, and can not collect additional payments. It also is prohibited from transferring assets or destroying records.
“Be careful about paying a large amount upfront,” Cooper said. “If you must pay in advance, consider using a credit card for extra protection in case something goes wrong and you don’t get what you paid for.”