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Tucson Furniture Store Abruptly Closes; BBB Offers Advice for Customers
August 26, 2008
The Abrupt Closing of a Tucson Furniture Store Leaves Consumers Up in Arms

A northwest Tucson furniture store has closed its doors, leaving at least two customers with either no furniture or damaged furniture, and no way to get a refund.

Shadow Furniture, Inc., 3696 W. Orange Grove Road, closed earlier this month, apparently giving no notice to its customers. All attempts to contact company owners Craig and Renee O’Connor have so far been unsuccessful, says BBB spokesperson Kim States.

“One customer said he went to the store to pick up his furniture Aug. 22 and found it locked and the showroom empty,” States said. “He paid $1,500 for a living room set with his bank debit card and tells us he us unable to get a refund because his bank’s policy does not allow him to dispute the charge.”

The company’s phone number is disconnected. A BBB employee went to the location and verified that the store is closed and a “Notice of Landlord Lien” is posted on the door. BBB has left messages at what it believes to be the O’Connor’s Tucson residence, but has not received a return phone call.

“With our current economy, it’s possible we will see more businesses closing, leaving customers wondering what to do next,” States says.

She says the two Shadow Furniture customers who contacted BBB are taking the proper steps in responding to the situation.

“These customers went to the location after failed attempts to call the company, which is the first step to take,” States says. “In this case customers found the sign posted on the door and were able to contact the landlord.” This can be helpful because the landlord might have a forwarding address or a different phone number for the owners, but not so with Shadow Furniture.

What else can consumers do if a business closes? BBB suggests the following:

· Send a registered letter to the company’s last known address asking the owner to contact you. Even if the business is closed, the mail may be subject to a forwarding order. You can also pay a visit to your Post Office to see if the company has a forwarding address.

· If you don’t know the name of the principals, check with your city or county clerk’s office, or the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), www.azcc.gov. The ACC has a free public access system that allows consumers to search for information on corporation filings in the state.

· If the business is regulated, such as attorneys, doctors, engineers, employment services, new car dealers, etc., contact the licensing agency. If you’re not sure whether the company is regulated or by which office, contact your BBB at 520-888-5353. BBB staff can tell you how to contact the appropriate regulatory authorities.

· Contact the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court in the area where the company was located (www.azb.uscourts.gov or 520-620-7500) to see if the company may have filed for bankruptcy.

· If you are successful in locating the owner and the business is not in bankruptcy, you are still owed your services, product or money. Closing a business does not relieve the owner of his or her obligation to you. If you cannot obtain an appropriate settlement from the company, file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office (www.azag.gov), with Small Claims Court or seek the help of an attorney.

· If the company has filed for bankruptcy, you should file a claim with the Bankruptcy Court. The Court will suspend the company’s obligation to creditors and customers until it approves a plan to reorganize or liquidate the company. Under the plan, you as a claimant, may or may not get all or part of what you are owed.

· Stay in touch with your Better Business Bureau. Its own investigation and contact with consumers means it receives information daily on a number of changes in business location and ownership and may be able to help you.

BBB reminds consumers to pay with a credit card when purchasing items such as furniture, electronics or shopping online. Unlike debit cards, credit card charges can often be disputed and, in some cases credited back to you if goods or services are not delivered.

For additional tips and the latest news alerts, please visit our BBB "For Consumers" page.