News release from state attorney general’s office:
Three family members who ran two Nashville furniture stores and were alleged to have taken orders for furniture but failed to deliver the items purchased have agreed not to engage in future illegal business practices, Attorney General Bob Cooper and Gary Cordell, director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, announced today.
The State of Tennessee filed suit last year against Amanda Lee Drew, Timothy Bryan Drew and Anita Renee Drew, who did business as WOW Furniture, formerly at 726 Gallatin Road in Madison until it closed in 2009, and also against Timothy and Anita Drew doing business as Drew’s Furniture Depot (also known as Drew’s Furniture at 3854 Dickerson Pike from 2001 to 2008).
Some consumers complained that they ordered furniture from the companies’ store catalogs and made advance payments but did not receive the promised furniture or full refunds.
The agreement provides for significant injunctive relief that bars the defendants from similar illegal conduct in the future. The defendants gave sworn financial statements confirming that they have no money or other assets to make restitution to consumers, but the agreement does require the defendants to make minimal quarterly payments that will be used by Consumer Affairs for consumer education. The agreement further sanctions defendants with significant civil penalties and attorneys’ fees, but those amounts will not be collected as long as the defendants abide by the terms of the injunction and the consumer education payments are made.
“We know this is disappointing for the consumers who received neither what was promised nor refunds,” Attorney General Cooper said. “The settlement requires defendants to annually update my office regarding their financial status, and we intend to ensure that they comply with the settlement terms and refrain from future illegal activity. Furthermore, if we determine defendants acquire the financial means to pay restitution in the future, we will take legal action to obtain it for consumers.”
All defendants previously filed for bankruptcy, but none of the debts associated with the furniture stores were discharged.
To date, 89 consumers have filed complaints against these two furniture stores with the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs.
The Consumer Affairs Division (within the Department of Commerce and Insurance) acts as a clearinghouse of complaints for the Attorney General’s Office. “Anyone who has problems with a business is encouraged to contact the Division of Consumer Affairs division at 615-741-4737 or toll-free within Tennessee at 1-800-342-8385 as soon as possible,” Director Cordell said, adding that complaints also may be filed online at
http://tn.gov/consumer/consCompFrm.shtml. To see recent filings involving this company, visit the Tennessee Attorney General’s website at: http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/cases/wow/wow.htm.