Four New Jersey furniture stores settled with the state following complaints they delivered defective or incorrect items and then did not give their customers refunds.
The deal announced today by the state Attorney General's office ends an almost year-old lawsuit against Spectrum Home Furnishings Inc.; Charles Serouya & Son Inc., aka Gallery; CS&S Inc. and Charles Serouya Inc., companies owned by Serouya.
The companies don't have physical retail stores, but sell through catalogs and 13 web sites -- including wholesalechandeliers.com and spectrumhome.com -- and have a warehouse in Farmingdale, N.J
The companies agreed to pay $104,657 in fines, fees and investigation costs, with no admission of liability or wrongdoing.
Another $112,281 in fines was suspended and will be forgiven if the companies comply within 18 months with the settlement terms, which include a list of changes to their business practices.
Among those are not advertising sale merchandise and then delivering different or inferior-quality items; not charging fees for replacement merchandise; and delivering goods within six weeks after accepting payment.
As part of the deal, any of 51 consumer complaints still unresolved will go through binding arbitration.
Online buyers should take a look at a web site's policies before making a purchase, says the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Look for restrictions, warranties and how the site protects private consumer information.
Make sure you also understand the company's refund policies, costs and terms for the sale. Get an email address or telephone number that you can call if there is a problem with the order.
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