I purchased a TV Lift Cabinet. I was not satisfied, and they refused to refund the purchase price. I am convinced that they never intended to refund
On January 22, 2015, my wife and I purchased by credit card over the phone a TV lift cabinet from TVLiftCabinet.com (2295 NW Corporate Blvd., Suite 221, Boca Raton, FL XXXXX. My vendor is related to the above-named entity). We paid $3,148. The cabinet was delivered to our condo on April 24, 2015. The purchase included a service that would install our TV into the cabinet. On April 30th an installer attempted to install our TV; he failed. The vendor sent a second installer on May 1st. Later on May 1st I sent an email to the vendor cancelling the purchase.
By email dated May 4th I was informed that they would refund the purchase price only if the cabinet was returned to their warehouse no later than 21 days of its delivery to my condo, i.e., May 14th. I was taken aback by the 21-day requirement. I had relied upon the description of their Guaranty on their website that does not refer to this requirement. If you click on the word "Guaranteed" on their website, the following statement pops up: "We realize how difficult it can be to order products online. . . . This is why we back our customers' purchases with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you're not completely satisfied with your purchase, you may return your TV Lift cabinet for a 100% refund using the following guidelines: We must be notified of the return within 7 days from the date of delivery and freight must be professionally packaged, shipped prepaid, and insured." When I questioned them about the new requirement, their response was that I had been looking at the wrong part of their website. I should have looked at that portion of their site entitled "Policies" rather than the portion entitled "Satisfaction Guaranteed"
Nevertheless, rather than fighting I paid for expedited delivery and had the cabinet professionally packaged and shipped prepaid and insured to a warehouse in Ohio at an address provided by TVLiftCabinet. In spite of all of this TVLiftCabinet has refused to refund any portion of the purchase price I paid. The reason given for their refusal was that the cabinet was delivered to their warehouse on May 15th, one day late.
I asked my shipper to explain why the delivery was one day late. The answer was simple. An employee of my shipper, Ashley Woods, the shipper's appointment clerk, called Ivan Miller, a representative of TVLiftCabinet on May 12th to arrange the delivery, and Miller told Woods to deliver the cabinet on May 15th .
*** *****, the owner of TVLiftCabinet, immediately denied that the conversation had taken place. He insisted that my shipping company had not called the warehouse on the 12th as asserted by Woods, but had called on the 14th. I asked ***** to provide me with the contact information for Ivan Miller, so that I could discuss when he and Woods had spoken, and what was said. ***** refused my request.
In an email to me dated May 20th ***** denied that he had denied that the May 12th conversation had taken place. In the May 20th email ***** asserts that Miller acted reasonably on the 12th when he told Woods to delay the delivery one day because (a) the warehouse was to be closed at least part of the day of the 14th because of an Amish holiday, and (b) the warehouse had limited ability to accept deliveries and was fully booked on the 14th for the period it was open. I believe he is saying that, although it was allegedly impossible for the delivery to be made on May 14th, the failure to deliver on that day excuses TVLiftCabinet's duty to honor its Guaranty.
*****'s assertion has caused me to review a whole set of facts and statements that have led me to the conclusion that TVLiftCabinet fraudulently misrepresented on their website that they would "guaranty a full refund" if the purchaser of a cabinet was dissatisfied in any way with his or her purchase. Upon request I will provide full details of the facts and statements I reviewed and the basis for my conclusion.
A refund of $3,148 and a binding agreement by the vendor to remove all reference on its website to a full payment guaranty.
Customer purchased a custom cabinet that is non refundable.
We performed and in home service of TV mounting and equipment which was signed for by Mr. ******* as being completed to his satisfaction. His follow up calls stated he was not satisfied so we sent the technician back to his home at no charge where Mr. ******* again accepted the completed product.
Customer used the cabinet and we do not accept used merchandise as a return.
Customer did not like the cabinet and requested a return. We agreed to accept the return even though we do not accept returns on custom and or used cabinetry.
Our policies are very clear on our website: http://www.tvliftcabinet.com/policies. Also printed and attached.
Customer chooses to omit portions of the return policy for his own benefit: "...Simply call or email TVLiftCabinet.com within 7 days from the date of delivery for a return authorization and return the item to our warehouse in brand new, unused condition, freight pre-paid & insured within 21 days of delivery..." The 21 day clause continues to be omitted. Communication with Mr. ******* attached detailing the facts of the 21 day return policy and the $800 refund we offered him.
Customer states we do not agree to refund any portion of his return. Again, that is NOT factual. We have offered to refund $800 of his purchase and we will sell the used custom cabinet through clearance. See attached written communication with Mr. *******.
Cabinet is in the customers possession. All of the facts are in writing and document can and will be produced.
We have communicated in a timely fashion with Mr. ******* and maintain our position. The customer has been verbally abusive for weeks (attached: "fight", "draw swords", ..."difficulty understanding written English"). We have offered to speak via phone but the customer continues to email false facts rather than reading our policies in FULL and listening to our position.
See attached as proof of timely communication and the facts stated above (Our responses are in blue font and Mr. ******* in black). Our flawless reputation speaks for itself and we continue to keep the lines of polite communication open. Our offer to accept the return for an $800 refund is still being offered as long as the customers shipper returns the merchandise in perfect condition.
This site is created and controlled by TVLiftCabinet.com staff in the State of Florida, USA. As such, the laws of the State of Florida will govern these disclaimers, terms and conditions, without giving effect to any principles of conflicts of laws.
*All false statements and or libel will be defended to the fullest extent of the law. Govern yourself accordingly.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
1. In its response TVLiftCabinet ("TVLC") implies that the terms of its guaranty are very clear on its website. However, note the use of the word "policies" in its response. There are two different descriptions of its guaranty on the website: one is on a page entitled "Satisfaction Guaranteed", the second is on a page entitled" "Policies". I relied upon the first description, and I clearly returned the cabinet as required by that description.
I was unaware of the second until May 4th after I cancelled my purchase. Their "policies" include additional limitations to their obligation to refund, including:
(a) The cabinet has to be returned within 21 days of the date of delivery. To TVLC this means that it is not available even if TVLC tells the shipper not to deliver the returned cabinet until the 22nd day,.
(b) The Guaranty is only available to purchasers of "stock" items. To TVLC this means it is not available to purchasers of custom-colored cabinets. I think that this is a strained interpretation of the word "stock", and at no time prior to May 4th did TVLC state, orally or in writing, this interpretation of their "policy".
(c) The Guaranty is only available to purchasers who return "brand new items in unused condition". To TVLC this means that it is not available to purchasers who return cabinets in which a TV has been installed, even if, as is true in my case, the installation was done by installers designated by TVLC. I ask you, how could I judge whether the cabinet worked properly without installing a TV?
As stated in its response, TVLC has waived the application of its "policies" (b) and (c) above. This leaves "policy" (a) as the sole basis for its refusal to refund my purchase price.
2. In its response TVLC asserts that I did not return the cabinet within 21 days (It was delivered on May 15th, the 22nd day.). However, it does not deny that part of my Complaint in which I state, "I asked my shipper to explain why the delivery was one day late. The answer was simple. An employee of my shipper, XXXX , the shipper's appointment clerk, called YYYY, a representative of TVLiftCabinet on May 12th to arrange the delivery, and YYYY told XXXX to deliver the cabinet on May 15th ." In fact in an email to me dated May 20th the owner of TVLC states, "At no time did I deny a conversation took place."
3. In its response TVLC asserts that it offered to refund $800. Nothing could be further from the truth.
(a) In an email dated May 19th I wrote, "I have rejected the cabinet and do not wish to have it returned to me in California. I interpret your email . . . to say that TVLC refuses to take possession of the cabinet. Unless TVLC agrees to take possession of the cabinet, or purposes some other solution, I appear to have no alternative other than to dispose of it in Ohio. Please let me know ASAP what you suggest be done with the cabinet."
(b) *** *****, the owner of TVLC responded, "I have spoken with our manufacturer and they have agreed to accept the cabinet back and sell it through their clearance outlet in PA. The best I can offer you is to accept the cabinet back and offer you a credit of $800 . . ." Thus, TVLC proposed a solution to my problem of what to do with the cabinet. I could sell it to TVLC's manufacturer for $800.
(c) Then TVLC added a wrinkle. In order for me to receive the $800 I would have to sign a receipt. When I reviewed the "receipt" I found that it was a full release of TVLC rather than an acknowledgment to the manufacturer that I had received payment.
4. I do not know why an employee of TVLC told my shipper to deliver the cabinet on a day that TVLC could claim was one day too late, but the fact that he did has caused me to review a whole set of facts and statements that have led me to the conclusion that TVLC fraudulently misrepresented on their website that they would "guaranty a full refund" if the purchaser of a cabinet was dissatisfied in any way with his or her purchase. The bases for my conclusion are:
(a) Unilateral changes to the Guaranty that limit its scope. As stated above, I relied upon the Guaranty set forth on TVLC's website page entitled "Satisfaction Guaranteed",. Neither my wife nor I ever received a writing, let alone signed a writing, that in any way modified that language of the Guaranty upon which we relied we purchased the cabinet on January 22, 1015. It was not until May 4th that I was informed by TVLC that their Guaranty had more limitations than those stated on the part of their website I had been relying upon. I was told that I should have looked at that portion of their website entitled "Policies" rather than the portion entitled "Satisfaction Guaranteed". Thus, they attempted to unilaterally modify the Guaranty.
In addition to the three additional "policy" limitations described above, the Policies page stated that, before a purchaser can return a cabinet, he must receive a "return authorization" within 7 days of delivery of the cabinet.
In various email messages to me TVLC has referred to other unilaterally imposed limitations. These include:
(i) In the event a purchaser elects to receive the Premium Tech Install service offered by TVLC, the purchaser will not be reimbursed for the cost of that service even though it is part of the purchase price.
(ii) TVLC will refuse to pay for the cost of repairs to, or for the replacement of, a purchased cabinet or its lift mechanism if the damage occurred during its delivery to the purchaser, unless the purchaser personally signs the freight bill of lading and either (A) notes the defect thereon, or (B) states thereon that the cabinet had not been inspected.
(b) Efforts to delay a purchaser's decision to cancel an order. Anything that delays a purchaser from making a decision to cancel his or her purchase reduces the number of refunds it must make. As stated above, in order to receive a refund a purchaser must receive a "return authorization" within 7 days of delivery of the cabinet and must return the cabinet within 21 days of its delivery,
Immediately after I emailed on the 7th day after its delivery my decision to cancel my purchase, rather than accepting my decision, TVLC sought to change my mind. They responded to my notice of cancellation, "Let us send the tech back to . . . re-adjust the lid." They did not say that May 1st was the last day I could cancel. Had I accepted their offer, according to their "policy" it would have been too late for me to cancel!
In my case TVLC included in its sale a service that would install our TV set into the cabinet. However, TVLC did not coordinate the installation with the delivery. That was left to me, and, even though I requested the installation on the day of delivery, the installation firm did not appear until 6 days after the date of "delivery". This left me with at most 2 days to decide whether to cancel, and reduced the time I had to return the cabinet to 15 days, rather than 21 days. Coupling the purchase with installation is intended to negate the possibility of a purchaser timely giving notice of cancellation, and/or timely returning the cabinet. In either case it negates the need to provide a refund under the so-called Guaranty.
In an email sent to me an employee of TVLC stated that many customers find that the size of the cabinet is "shocking", but that "9 out of 10 of such customers find they simply needed time to get used to the change." Thus, it is the practice of TVLC to tell dissatisfied customers to delay their decision to cancel, without telling them that the delay will negate the so-called Guaranty.
4. Continued efforts to hide relevant facts. As described above TVLC has asserted that it "cannot be held responsible for the cost of repairs or replacement of damaged items if there is no notation on the freight bill of lading". My wife was informed of this unilateral amendment to the Guaranty by an email dated April 9th. I interpreted this language as meaning that, if the lift mechanical mechanism didn't work properly, TVLC was off the hook to repair the mechanism unless the problem had been noted on the bill of lading. This in turn caused me to think that perhaps many of the mechanisms had started to fail and TVLC didn't wish to pay for their repair. This brought me into the discussion and I replied to the email in part as follows: "Have you grown concerned about the quality of the purchased cabinet?" TVLC never answered my question. I asked the question several times thereafter. At one point I even said that a simple "Yes" or No" would be sufficient. I have never received an answer to that simple question. What are they trying to hide?
In a similar vein I asked TVLC for the contact information of their employee who told my shipping company to delay the delivery date to May 15th. I asked so that I could enquire as to when they spoke what they said. TVLC refused. What are they trying to hide?
Final Business Response
Mr. ******* failed to return the cabinet as per our agreement and the terms and conditions he purchased under. His shipper did not call for a delivery appointment and therefore the mention of the 22nd day is not valid. His shipper called for delivery hours but never called to make an appointment to deliver.
Mr. ******* has reported us to numerous agencies such as the Department of Consumer Affairs that quickly closed the case in our favor due to the same evidence provided to the BBB.
We are not "hiding" anything nor do we have any reasons to do so. All written communication has been willfully sent to the BBB.
This is the FIRST incident in company history that a customer was denied a refund for failure to return a product. First time in 12+ years.
Finally, We are now unable to negotiate a return with Mr. ******* as he requested that his purchased cabinet be DESTROYED/DISCARDED by his shipper. The shipper has told me that the cabinet was indeed destroyed/discarded.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
The first paragraph in *****'s latest response to my factual allegations is strange. He admits that my shipper called the warehouse and asked for "delivery hours". ***** then adds a "however" clause. He states that my shipper failed to "make an appointment to deliver". He appears to be arguing that, had my shipper on May 12 made an appointment to deliver the cabinet at, say, 2:00PM on May 15, and, had my shipper attempted to make the delivery at that appointed time, ***** would have accepted the delivery and paid me a full refund. Let us put his argument into context.
1. It is clear from previously submitted emails that I was told I had to deliver the cabinet to the warehouse no later than May 14. In an email dated May 4 Marisa Berinati, one of *****'s employees, told me. "Please note that your return must be received in our warehouse no later than May 14, 2015 Bold face in the original". In a later email dated May 18th she confirmed that she had provided those instructions. She says, "The last day that our warehouse was to accept the return was May 14th ". It is explicit in her instructions that I would be able to have the cabinet delivered on May 14.
2. ***** has admitted that my shipper called the warehouse on May 12. There is no agreement as to all that was said during that call. ***** admits that he was not privy to the call.
3. Finally, it is clear from previously submitted emails that the warehouse was closed on May 14. In an email dated May 9 ***** states, "Our manufacturing facility was closed on the 14th."
Thus, ***** is arguing that although he said I could deliver the cabinet on May 14, the fact that the warehouse was closed that day making it impossible to deliver it on that day, does not provide me an excuse for delivering it the next day, May 15. I think he is saying that although he said I had 21 days to deliver the cabinet, he meant to say that I had only 20 days. Using his logic had the 21st day fallen on Memorial Day, which was Monday, May 25, since the warehouse was closed on that day and the preceding Saturday and Sunday, I would have had only 18 days to deliver the cabinet!
***** apparently recognized that his position was untenable, so he added a twist. He states in his latest response that the problem is that during the May 12 phone call my shipper did not tell the warehouse employee the hour of the day on which the delivery would be made on the 15th.
Thus, the only disputed issue is what was said on May 12 by my shipper to *****'s warehouse employee. I have said repeatedly that for some reason ***** refuses to give me the contact information for this employee. Well, I decided to hunt the employee down by myself and to call him. The shipping instructions provided by ***** said that the cabinet should be shipped to "CVW, Attention: Ivan Miller". CVW is Country View Woodworking, Ltd., a company in Ohio that manufactures furniture. I called CVW's warehouse and asked for Ivan Miller. Miller got on the phone and spoke to me. Miller is a nice guy.
Miller confirmed that CVW's facilities were closed on May 14, because it was an Amish holiday, Ascension Day. He recalled the May 12 telephone conversation with my shipper. I asked him whether my shipper had told him the hour of day that my shipper would deliver the cabinet on May 15, and he said that he could not recall that. Score one for *****. I then asked him whether when a delivery is made at CVW's warehouse the delivery person calls in advance to schedule the time of delivery. He replied that they do not. He said that delivery people do not schedule a time for delivery, they simply come to the warehouse during the time the warehouse is open and make their delivery. I have attached an email that I sent to Miller confirming our conversation. Miller called me and said that my email correctly summarized our conversation.
Thus, it doesn't matter whether my shipper scheduled the time of day for the delivery of the cabinet; delivery persons never do that when making a delivery to CVW.
In view of Miller's statements, *****'s assertion that he is excused from refunding my purchase price because my shipper "did not call for a delivery appointment" is ludicrous.
In an effort to change the subject ***** mentions the claim I made to the Florida Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services and then lies. He states that the Dept "quickly closed the case in his favor". I was taken aback by his comment, because I had not received any such communication from the Dept. I emailed the Dept and quickly received a response. They said that the case was not closed, and that they were awaiting my response to *****'s allegations. The added that they had no authority to rule in favor of either ***** or me. Our relevant email exchanges are attached.
In his response to the BBB ***** asserts my claim is "the first incident in company history that a customer was denied a refund for failure to return a product." This has no relevance to my claim. However, I am interested in: A. How many customers returned a purchased product and received a full refund? B. How many time has a customer requested a refund for any reason, and he refused the request? And, C. How many refunds in total has he made? Absent an answer to these questions his assertion is meaningless.
***** ends his response with the hint that he would have been willing to negotiate a settlement with me if I hadn't donated the cabinet to a charity. He is attempting to use his failure to accept the return of the cabinet as an excuse for his failure to pay the refund. After he failed to accept the return of the cabinet, I was faced with the problem of what I should do with it? (1) I didn't want it. (2) I didn't want to spend another $1000 to have its shipped back to California. (3) I didn't want to pay storage fees while I was deciding what to do. (4) I could donate it to a charity and write off the donation on my taxes. I asked ***** for a suggestion and told him that I was considering donating it. His suggestion was that I sell it to his manufacturer for $800. I quickly determined that it was more economical for me to donate the cabinet than to sell it for $800, so that is what I did. He is now asserting that my decision to take the only reasonable route under the circumstances relieves him from his obligation to provide a refund.
It is interesting to me that ***** once again failed to contradict any one of the list of facts I provided in my several responses that led me to the conclusion that he has fraudulently misrepresented on his website that he would "guaranty a full refund" if the purchaser of a cabinet was dissatisfied in any way with his or her purchase. His failure has led me to conclude that he agrees that my statements are all accurate. My conclusion is further strengthened by his lie described above about the matter being considered by the Florida Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Let me end my response by stating that I am willing to accept as settlement an amount equal to a full refund less the amount my taxes will be reduced by my donation of the cabinet to a charity.