- Report: #47859
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: Carolina Furniture Millerburns Online Design
Carolina Furniture Millerburns Online DesignPO Box 7506 High Point, North Carolina U.S.A.
Carolina Furniture Millerburns Online Design Ripoff of deposit and consumer fraud ripoff High Point North Carolina
*Author of original report: from the NC Attorney General's Office
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I order furniture online from a company called Carolina Furniture (www.carolinafurniture.com) back in Oct 2002. They took my order along with a 50% deposit of $662.50 via personal check. The contract states that the furniture will arrive in their warehouse in a minimum of 16 to18 weeks. After it arrives, it says they will contact me about a delivery date.
Date Februrary 13th 2003:
I called 1-800-340-0064 about the order and all I got was the voice mail system. My message was eventually returned with another message saying that they will check on the order and call me back. They even took my email address saying that they would send me status on the orders via emails. Two weeks have gone by with no answer on the delivery date. I have repeatedly called but I can only get the voice mail system.
I did a little digging online and I noticed that this company has had multiple names and phone numbers. It has also gone out-of-business/changed names as the owner Mr. Henry Lee Privette (a.k.a. H.R. Privette) has moved operations from South Carolina to North Carolina. Four years ago, Mr. Privette was arrested on fraud charges in South Carolina and a few months later he was out of jail on bail and back in business across the border in North Carolina. I guess he was recently arrested in Jan 2003 on 70 counts of fraud in NC. He is now out on bail and for some reason his business is still up and running.
The company has operated under several names and addresses, such as:
Carolina Furniture Factory Direct
3120-B Waccamaw Boulevard
Myrtle Beach, SC 29579
940 Carter Drive
Sunset Beach, NC 28468
Carolina Furniture Factory Direct
3120-B Waccamaw Boulevard
Myrtle Beach, SC 29579
P.O. Box 7506
High Point, NC 27264
There are also many different phone numbers for this business:
910-575-6403 (Mr. Privettes Private Line??)
Other names include Design Online and millerburnsfurniture.com. There are probably more.
Date Februrary 17th 2003:
Since I received no response from Carolina Furniture, I called Design Online at 910-575-7830. I talked to a gentleman and asked if they were affiliated with Carolina Furniture. He was very curious as why I called him. He asked me three times where I got this phone number from. I told him I got it off the internet. The truth is I got it off of a complaint registered online with the Better Business Bureau. After I told him I had placed an order with Carolina Furniture he said he would call someone over there and have them call me. I received a voice mail from Ruth Dodd, the woman who originally took my order, and she said my order was in stock and that I could go online to see when the order would be scheduled for delivery. Well the online order status window does not work. It only returns a comment saying that they just implemented this system and all orders may not be entered yet. I dont think this system works at all. It is probably only there to by more time from unsuspecting buyers for their shady operation.
I called the 800 number again but this time I left a message stating that I was aware of their shady business practices, and that I wanted a refund on my deposit. I informed them that my lawyer would be contacting them within the next few days. I also told them that I will be contacting the BBB and the NC Attorney Generals Office regarding the matter. After I hung up, I received an IMMEDIATE call back from Ruth stating that she was shocked and surprised. I told here that I have been doing some research on the company and that there are many dissatisfied customers that have never receiver their furniture or their deposits back. She said that the unsatisfied customers orders have been delayed because people change their minds on the furniture they want which delays orders etc. I then asked for an immediate refund of my deposit $662.50. She said she could not handle refunds but she would send the refund info to someone else. I them asked to speak with the president of the company. She became hostile and hung up on me. Before she hung up I told her I expect to receive my refund within two weeks. If I dont, I will be contacting the appropriate authorities.
I received a phone call later in the afternoon on Feb 17th 2003 from 910-575-6403. It was actually H.R. Privette himself saying that he will send out a refund check in 7-10 days. I asked him if he could guarantee my check will be here within 10 days. He said within +/- 2 days with the weekends etc. When I asked him if he could guarantee the refund check will be in my possession within 14 days, he said most likely. I have a mark on my calendar for the date March 3rd but I really do not expect to receive a check since other people have been promised refunds by H.R. himself and have never received anything.
I dont think any of this will do any good. I really dont know what to do. Reading about other peoples experiences at www.ripoffreport.com has concerned me. Even if I do receive a refund, it is amazing how many people have complained about this business. It also amazes me that this man is still in business.
As a note, please stay away from all web sites that promise some type of product or service at a "too-good-to-be-true" price. Also be leary of websites that do not have fixed addresses or actual showrooms or that require a cash deposit. Always use a credit card for protection.
Sites of Interest:
See The Ripoff Report for others who were ripped off by this company. Do a search on California Furniture
See WRAL Article for the Jan 2003 article of H.R Privett. Theree even a picture of him being taken away in handcuffs. How can this guy still be operating a business?
You can also check the Better Business Bureau web site. Do a search on "Carolina Furniture". There are 43 returns for this business some of which are run by H.R Privette. You can read about all of the unfavorable reports filed by his customers.
Update: March 3rd:
I have not received a refund yet. I just called Carolina Furniture at 910-575-7830 and the number is disconnected.
I have now called Cynthia Simmons at the NC Attorney General's Office . She apologized for Privette's business practices and said the only thing you can do is file a complaint under the Consumer Protection flag on the web site. She said it will take a year to actually file charges against this guy and it is very unlikely that you will recover any of your deposit. She also recommended not to call Carolina Furtiture anymore. It is her impression that H.R. Privette gets a good laugh when people call him asking about a refund.
I have also sent an email to NC State Senator Marc Basnight
I have also filed a complaint with the California Attorney General's Office (my home state). I also have filed a complaint with the U.S. Postal Service concerning mail fraud. Other people have called a woman at the U.S Postal Inspection Sercive named Grace at 1-312-669-5663 to file a verbal complaint.
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Carolina Furniture
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/04/2003 08:42 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Carolina-Furniture-Millerburns-Online-Design/High-Point-North-Carolina-27264/Carolina-Furniture-Millerburns-Online-Design-Ripoff-of-deposit-and-consumer-fraud-ripoff-H-47859. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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