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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
October 6, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Consumer Affairs
- Kimberly Ricketts, Director

 

Jeff Lamm, Kara Wood
973-504-6327

 

Monmouth County Furniture Store Agrees to Pay Customer Restitution and Penalty to Settle Lawsuit

NEWARK — A Monmouth County furniture store has agreed to pay $27,618 to consumers and $75,000 in civil penalties to settle a lawsuit that alleged non-delivery of merchandise, sale of defective merchandise and pricing misrepresentation, State Attorney General Peter C. Harvey and Consumer Affairs Director Kimberly Ricketts announced.

The defendants in this case are William Neumann, Cabbage Rose Ltd. store in Fair Haven, and Chelsea Manor Unlimited, which sells furniture on the Internet at www.chelseamanor.com, www.classichousefurniture.com and www.cabbageroseltd.com. Neumann, who is the owner of the Cabbage Rose Ltd. store and Chelsea Manor Unlimited, agreed to specific actions governing the conduct of his business, under the Consent Order to resolve the State’s lawsuit. Those actions include advertising, furniture delivery and refunds.

"We brought legal action to help consumers who allegedly were wronged and this agreement sets things right, both for these customers and for future shoppers," Acting Governor Richard J. Codey said. "Bottom-line, retailers who aren’t honest and above-board with their customers had better rethink how they do business."

Under the Consent Order, the defendants agreed to:

  • Not engage in any unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of their business;
  • Provide consumers with an estimate containing all material provisions of the transaction including the price for each item, complete description of each item and a date for delivery, prior to entering into a sales contract;
  • Not depict special offers on the web site without clearly and conspicuously posting any limitations or exclusions on those offers;
  • Not make false or misleading representations of fact about the reasons for, existence or amount of price reductions;
  • Not make any false or misleading representations in advertisements about the availability of a warranty;
  • Include in invoices a statement which includes a date for delivery approved by the consumer;
  • Not inform customers who received defective or non-conforming merchandise that their policy is ‘no refunds’; and
  • Respond to a customer who requests a refund within one business day and provide a refund within 30 days of the consumer‘s request;

"The laws governing the sale and delivery of furniture in New Jersey are clear," Attorney General Harvey said. "Merchants must be honest about their prices and must deliver the goods promised on the date promised. We will not tolerate companies that fail to follow state laws."

The defendants will have to pay an additional $100,000 penalty if they do not comply with the terms of the Consent Order, fail to pay restitution to the identified customers, or in the future violate the State’s Consumer Fraud Act, Advertising Regulations, Furniture Regulations, Refund Policy Act or other consumer protection statutes.

"Whatever happened to the customer is always right?" asked Director Ricketts. "In New Jersey, we demand that businesses adhere to the law and serve the consumer, and Chelsea Manor certainly didn’t meet either of these standards. Under this agreement, future customers will get what they pay for, or there will be additional consequences for this company."

Any consumer complaints received by Consumer Affairs through May 20, 2007 will be forwarded to the defendants. Within 30 days of receipt of the complaint, a written response is required to be sent to the consumer with a copy going to Consumer Affairs.

Deputy Attorney General Jonathan D. Rudolph represented the State in this matter. The Somerset and Monmouth County (Consumer Affairs Local Assistance (CALA) offices also assisted with the investigation.


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