WILMINGTON, Del. (Legal Newsline) - Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden announced on Wednesday that an administrative hearing officer sided with his office and fined the owner of a Wilmington-area furniture store $23,000 for alleged Consumer Fraud Act violations.
The Amish Mill and Michael Wharton, the store's owner, allegedly promised customers that furniture would be ready by a certain date but never delivered. The Amish Mill also allegedly charged additional, undisclosed fees if they complained about the store's business practices or called to check on the order.
Biden's Consumer Protection Unit filed an administrative complaint against Wharton last year for allegedly committing 23 violations of the state's Consumer Fraud Act. In an opinion signed on Monday, an administrative hearing officer agreed with the allegations.
The hearing officer ordered Wharton to pay $23,000 and extended a cease and desist order Biden's office issued against Wharton. The order subjects Wharton to stiff penalties if he retains customer deposits for items he fails to deliver in a promised timeframe or if he assesses undisclosed fees.
Since Biden's office brought the action against Amish Mill, several customers received their long-delayed orders and other customers received refunds after allegedly waiting as long as 14 months for furniture that was never delivered.