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Furniture store saying my paid for item is abandoned after 7 weeks, won't refund money

Discussion in 'Consumer Law, Contracts, Warranties' started by tigerlily74, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. tigerlily74

    tigerlily74 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    I purchased a large piece of furniture (an armoire) from a family owned small business on Dec 17th. I paid for them to deliver it. Shortly after I got a new iPhone. I did not realize I was not getting voice mail messages on my new iPhone until a coworker asked me if I had received a message from her. When I realized that there was a glitch with my phone and got it fixed, I had two (and two only) voice mails from this business attempting to set up delivery of this piece. Now, I had not previously been too concerned about the lack of contact because we are having a terrible winter and we had multiple episodes of snow not lending itself to furniture delivery, and also because said business had posted on their Facebook page that they had a death in the family and would be temporarily closed. Just to explain that part.

    That being said, when I did finally realize I had missed their messages it was Feb 1st. I drove there in person to apologize as I thought that was the appropriate thing to do, and to arrange delivery. I also planned on buying two additional pieces. When I walked in the store I was met with one of the family members informing me they had just sent me a certified letter that morning to inform me they had placed my item back in their inventory to sell as they had "tried to contact me multiple times, by text and phone, half a dozen times at least" which is absolutely untrue. I had no problems whatsoever with my text messages. I pointed out that I would be able to pull my phone records if needed to verify this and that it was easily verifiable. They never once offered me a refund, and instead just kept arguing about how they couldn't reach me all these times, told me they consulted an attorney which cost them $25 and sent the letter which cost and additional $7. I again apologized for any inconvenience I may have caused them and offered to pay for these fees as well and told them I still wanted my piece of furniture, at which point they asked if I was going to pay a $25 storage fee as well since they "had to move it to storage and back". At this point I finally lost my cool because the piece of furniture was sitting in the exact same place I left it when I purchased it 7 weeks prior and said "No, forget it." and left. She still never offered a refund at any point during this several minute conversation. I posted on their FB page later that night (very civilly) asking for a refund and they deleted it. I did get a certified letter from them a few days later that stated they put my piece back in their inventory. It had the carbon copy of the original receipt in it where they documented calling me THREE times only on the receipt in their own handwriting. There was not refund check included in the letter. The letter stated my item was considered abandoned after 30 days. It was there for 7 weeks. What can I do about this? Do they really only have to keep it for 30 days? Am I owed a refund at least? I am told by other small business owners locally that she does most of her business with college kids in the immediate area- I'm concerned she's doing things like this to them and they don't know any better. Thank you in advance for your help.
     
  2. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    how did you pay? By CC? if so immediately file a dispute with the CC company - usually there are 60-90 days SOLs on disputed transactions....wait much longer and you might lose that option too..
     
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  3. tigerlily74

    tigerlily74 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I paid with my debit card unfortunately.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You could bring a small claims lawsuit against them seeking a refund of the monies you paid.

    I suggest you read all of the documents you were given when you purchased the item.

    Why?

    You need to know what you agreed to, other than purchasing a piece of furniture.


    Read all of the documents you possess related to the purchase in an effort to what you are bound by contractually.

    If the documents are silent, your next best option is to bring a small claims lawsuit.

    Here is how and where you do that in Illinois:

    Illinois Attorney General - Small Claims Court


    Your bank might still be able to assist you in disputing the charge.

    Call or visit your bank and inquire.
     
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  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    My advice: Fill out a small claims complaint form, take it to the store, hand it to the owner and say "I want a refund right now or my next stop is the court house."
     
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  6. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    Most debit cards are backed by Visa/Mastercard....does yours have any major logo on it other than the banks?
     
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  7. tigerlily74

    tigerlily74 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes it’s Mastercard.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    There are some branded with Discover.
    We have one from our Credit Union that bears the Discover logo.
     
  9. tigerlily74

    tigerlily74 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I stand corrected, it was a Visa debit card. My bank just changed from Visa to MC and it was my old one.
     
  10. tigerlily74

    tigerlily74 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I was given ZERO documents when I purchased the piece of furniture. They simply ran my card through their Square card reader and texted me a receipt through the Square system. (which I have a screenshot of). I never signed anything other than my signature for running my card.
     
  11. tigerlily74

    tigerlily74 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I have also tried to find the answer to the question of how long is it before merchandise is considered “abandoned” in Iowa? I can see that it’s 30 days for a landlord/tenant situation which is what I think they are trying to base their thought process off of, but clearly this is not quite the same.
     
  12. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I graduated from one of the two Iowa law schools many decades ago.

    Your property wasn't abandoned.

    Your property was what the law considers a bailment, which in your case required the merchant to protect with extraordinary care.

    As there are no documents other than the sales receipt, I don't see why you couldn't receive the item your purchased, or a full refund.

    Small claims is probably your best route, maybe even the fastest route to resolve it to your full satisfaction.
     
  13. tigerlily74

    tigerlily74 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    They are saying in their certified letter that I “abandoned” it. I planned to decorate an entire room around it, I can assure you I didn’t abandon it. I’m pretty upset and disappointed with this entire situation. It’s a one of a kind piece. I figured small claims would be my best bet as they don’t seem to be rational people. Thanks for your advice. I hope you enjoyed the wonderful Iowa winters while you were here for law school. You probably graduated from the same law school as my uncle who is a judge. I don’t ask him things like this because well, conflict of interest and all. :)
     
  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Always ask your uncle.
    I am a judge, too.
    I get bombarded by relatives with questions I am always happy to answer.
    Yes, if the merchant does not want to be reasonable, seek satisfaction via small claims.

    That way ypu will get your money back, satisfied the unreasonable thieves will not get to keep your hard earned dollars.

    It will take time, but it will be worth it.
     
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