• Report: #30821

Complaint Review: The Roomstore

  • Submitted: Mon, September 23, 2002
  • Updated: Mon, February 03, 2003

  • Reported By:Desoto TX
The Roomstore
3305 N Central Expressway Plano, Texas U.S.A.

The Roomstore Deceptive Advertising Discrimination Fraud Plano Texas

*Consumer Comment: Questions, questions, questions... Tom and Brian, I'm disappointed by your lack of rebuttal or response to my questions.

*Consumer Comment: Enron...Worldcom...Roomstore. BEWARE! They're Bankrupt.

*Consumer Comment: And out come the shills... & Brian. Why didn't you identify yourself as a staff attorney when you presented your rebuttal?

*Consumer Comment: not an EMPLOYEE as you must believe

*Consumer Comment: response to customer service manager's commentary

*UPDATE Employee: Two sides to every story

*Consumer Comment: Roomstore Staff Attitude

*Consumer Comment: Discrimination?

*UPDATE Employee: Ask Questions BEFORE You Shoot

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September 23, 2002

Mr. Donald Shaffer
President, CEO, COO
Heilig-Meyers Company
12560 West Creek Parkway
Richmond, VA 23238

Mr. Shaffer:

This letter is in reference to an incident which occurred Saturday, September 21, 2002 at The Roomstore located at 3305 North Central Expressway in Plano, TX. The incident is as follows:

My wife and I recently moved into a new home. Having bought from The Roomstore in the past, we visited the Frisco, TX location and placed an order for approximately $4800 in furniture. Last Saturday, we decided to purchase an entertainment center in addition to the items already on order. My wife had received a promotional offer from your company which clearly stated she was entitled to 40% off the most expensive item she purchased. The offer came in the form a birthday card, and contains no caveats about the number of items to be purchased, only that the purchase be made on a Roomstore credit account, which we intended to do.

We made the mistake of going to the above referenced Plano, TX location to do so. We entered the store Saturday afternoon, and then the fun began. After selecting an entertainment center, we informed the salesperson of the coupon we had. He examined the card and stated that the way we do this here is to apply the discount to a piece of the entertainment center. In this instance, he wanted to apply the discount to one of the shelves on the center. I pointed out that the item had two prices, one for the unit with a TV stand, and one without. There was nothing indicating that the entertainment center was a five-piece item. Who would buy only the shelf of an entertainment center?

At this point the salesperson took the offer your firm sent us to his manager. After twenty minutes of waiting, the manager came out with a completely new story. The offer, he claimed, was from a different company. The offer we had was from Roomstore Furniture and Accessories. The manager emphatically denied that his store was a part of that company. When I pointed out that the sign on the door clearly read Roomstore Furniture and Accessories, he became agitated and began raising his voice as he mindlessly repeated That's not from our company! As we left the store, I made sure to obtain videotape of the front of the store with the logo reading Roomstore Furniture and Accessories. I compared the logo from the store to the one on the offer we received, and they are AN EXACT MATCH. Your firm had the nerve to send my wife an offer in the form of a birthday card, and then deny to our face that it was from you. You insulted my six-month pregnant wife to her face with your deceptive advertising. She was upset to the point of tears as we left, as this was clearly a race issue. It appears that your Plano employees feel they can treat Hispanic customers however they please without consequence. While that may have been true circa 1930, my wife and I are active members of the League of United Latin American Citizens, and I can assure you there are going to be consequences to this fraud and these discriminatory practices.

When the Attorney General's office in this state sees the evidence I have collected in this case, they aren't going to hesitate to pursue action against your firm for deceptive advertising and trade practices. The same goes for the Federal Trade Commission. And the BBB and LULAC, and the Plano Chamber of Commerce, and every consumer reporter in this state I can contact.

We'll be canceling the $4800 order we placed with your company, needless to say. I'm confident that the ensuing lawsuit we will be filing shortly against your company will more than cover the cost of new living room and bedroom furniture and even an entertainment center. Only we'll purchase it from a reputable company who does not practice and condone discrimination and deceptive advertising.

This is my only attempt at settling this matter before litigation and bringing in all of the referenced agencies. You have my contact number at the top of this letter. This issue will either be resolved this week, or we will be filing suit next Monday. Believe me when I tell you that it makes absolutely no difference to me.

Dallas, Texas

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on RoomStore

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/23/2002 11:12 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/The-Roomstore/Plano-Texas/The-Roomstore-Deceptive-Advertising-Discrimination-Fraud-Plano-Texas-30821. 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.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Questions, questions, questions... Tom and Brian, I'm disappointed by your lack of rebuttal or response to my questions.

AUTHOR: Josh - (U.S.A.)

You know, when Roomstore corporate lawyer Brain suggested I Ask questions before you shoot, I really took his advice to heart. I was looking at the website of a local consumer reporter in the Dallas area, www.martygriffin.com, and ran across this little gem. This is taken from his 7/10/02 show on Unsatisfactory Furniture Stores in the area. These companies were cited by the BBB for, (1) a record of failure to respond to one or more customer complaints presented by the BBB, or (2) a record of failure to comply with an arbitrator's decision, despite an agreement to do so. Scroll down to just past the middle of the page on the site to find this. Also note that out of all of the other furniture stores cited, Roomstore is singled out for the purposes of the report. Coincidence, Im sure.

One company, The Room Store, has a pattern of complaints alleging unsatisfactory or defective merchandise, or delays in delivery. During the Better Business Bureau's 3-year reporting period, the BBB in Dallas has processed 63 complaints on The Room Store, which has several locations in the Metroplex. Of these complaints, 39 are closed as unanswered, 19 are resolved, and 5 are closed as unresolved.

A Garland, TX, woman states: "My husband and I purchased two rooms of furniture for our two sons [later] I spoke with [Mr. H.], who asked if anyone had given me a call to let me know that one of the bedroom suites had been discontinued and I said no, he said that he would check and call me back. I did not hear from him and then a delivery truck showed up. Not all of the furniture arrived we received a chest that was scratched and we sent that back to be exchanged, we did not receive the other chest" This complaint is unanswered.

As one woman in Sachse, TX, describes in her complaint on The Room Store, some complaints also allege difficulties in getting the company to address problems. She says, "I sent two letters [and] I have called The Room Store's customer service number several times and still there is no resolution to the following problems: Headboard on bed broken. Buttons missing on loveseat." This complaint also is unanswered.

Where have we seen these complaints before?

Lets see, as of 8/9/02, the Roomstore had 63 complaints lodged with the BBB against them. They managed to resolve a whopping 19 of them, with 44 that they didnt even bother to answer or were closed as unresolved. They were also noted for failing to comply with an arbitrators decision, despite an agreement to do so. If you closely examine your contract with them, youll note they have a clause forcing you to binding arbitration in the event of a dispute. It would seem, from the BBBs report, that they have an established history of ignoring the arbitrators decision WHICH THEY FORCED YOU TO SUBMIT TO IN THE FIRST PLACE. Im willing to bet their corporate counsel moves without delay to enforce arbitration decisions found in their favor, huh, Brian?

My favorite response from their bevy of shills is Tom, from their regional headquarters in Grand Prairie, TX. Tom suggests that in my case, I was unwilling to compromise. What was there to compromise, Tom? I had a coupon from your company, though apparently, through the magic of legal double talk, I did not. Lets disregard the fact that the logos on the front door of the Plano Roomstore and the logo on the birthday card you so tastefully sent my wife are a complete match, theyre two completely different companies you say. If they are two different companies, isn't your store violating their rights by utilizing their logo? I took video of the door, should I send it to the "other" Roomstore to advise them of your trademark infringements? But again, its my duty to compromise with you. Never mind the laws in this state against bait and switch advertising, I need to compromise with you. Were the 44 other people who complained to the BBB unwilling to compromise, Tom? Is that why you were cited for not responding to their complaints, or disregarding an arbitration decision? People are just so unreasonable when they refuse to be compromised, eh? In effect, Tom seems to be suggesting that his company shouldnt REALLY be expected to honor their advertisements or warranties, or be held to the standards of the laws of this state. Their customers should be willing to WORK with THEM. In my opinion, the pattern that is apparent in their employee rebuttals is that the customers owe some service to THEM. Hmmmmm.I wonder how their parent company (and by extension, they) went bankrupt?

I must say, Tom and Brian, I'm disappointed by your lack of rebuttal or response to my questions. After all, you're the ones that suggested I ask them. Here's another one for you. As a contract customer of your firm, how does your company's Chapter 11 status affect the Truth-In-Lending disclosure requirements of my contract?

Im reminded, for some reason, of another master of double-talk from our recent past. Take it away, President Clinton:

My responses, while legally accurate, were not entirely truthful.

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#2 Consumer Comment

Enron...Worldcom...Roomstore. BEWARE! They're Bankrupt.

AUTHOR: Josh - (U.S.A.)

In his initial response, corporate lawyer type Brian suggested that I "Ask questions before you shoot". Fair enough, Brian, here are some questions for you.

Question #1. Given that Roomstore does not practice discrimination against minorities, per your rebuttal, whats the deal with this lawsuit? Or is this the mysterious and enigmatic other Roomstore? This is from the Maryland Daily Record Online:

Volume: 3 Number: 97_friday October 25, 2002

PJC putting pressure on RoomStore
Daily Record Legal Affairs Writer

A group of Latino workers are claiming that their former employer violated labor relations laws by firing them from a furniture warehouse in Jessup for requesting to meet with a supervisor to discuss alleged discrimination.


Question #2. Shouldnt your current and prospective customers be made aware of the fact that YOURE BROKE? Banko...Chapter 11? Or is that yet again the "other" Roomstore. Whats the deal with this story, Brian? I love the way they listed it under their Scams sections.

Furniture retailers who don't tell customers they're bankrupt

"Many furniture retailers have gone bankrupt in the last year: Sears HomeLife, Heilig-Meyers, Krause Furniture, Castro Convertibles, RoomStore, Bedroom Superstore, Dekor, Grand Furniture Warehouse, Nationwide Mattress and Furniture Warehouse, and Sun Valley Furniture.

Unfortunately, the general public is not aware of some of these bankruptcies. Some of these furniture chains still have stores operating all over the US, and are not telling their customers that they are in severe financial trouble.
For instance, although RoomStore is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy through their parent company Heilig-meyers, RoomStore's Website makes no mention of this at all. Presumably, the majority of RoomStore's customers have no idea that they may never get their furniture and that their legal rights to a refund are seriously curtailed if their furniture never arrives.

Advice to consumers: Check "Industry News" on our Website before shopping at any furniture retailer. We keep up with bankruptcy filings and report them immediately, so the average consumer has the same information as the industry insiders about what is really going on at various furniture retailers.

If a store is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but is still taking new furniture orders, consumers are well advised not to buy anything they can't take with them immediately. Don't end up like the thousands of customers of bankrupt furniture stores who were cheated out of their furniture and their money."

As an attorney, Brian, don't you feel the Roomstore has an obligation to disclose your financial condition before entering into contracts with customers? Customers who will have to stand in line with your creditors at a BK hearing when you fold up shop? Are you going to honor their contracts, Brian? Or will they be stuck with a big bill and no furniture. C'mon, Brian. I want to hear you assure us that corporate America would NEVER do such a thing...

You wanted questions, Cowboy. There ya' go...
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#3 Consumer Comment

And out come the shills... & Brian. Why didn't you identify yourself as a staff attorney when you presented your rebuttal?

AUTHOR: Josh - (U.S.A.)

Ahhhhh, Brandon...you should learn from Brian in Virginia if you really want to be a lawyer. And until you learn the difference between slander and libel, you should really stop embarrassing yourself in so public a forum. You're never going to make it out of the Roomstore's paralegal / internet shill department until you get the lexicon down.

I'll give you the help you so desperately need here and enlighten you to the fact that libel is the applicable term to matters in print. Feel free to pretend you knew that. And feel free to keep pretending you dont work for the Roomstore.

Hell, thats the funniest part of your semi-literate tirade! Sure, Brandon, its just a coincidence that you wrote in from the same area of the mysterious other Roomstore who sent out the bait-and-switch coupons. So lets see, theres the other Roomstore, real Roomstore, fake Roomstore, evil-twin brother who comes back from the dead Roomstore Whod I miss?

On to you, Brian. Why didn't you identify yourself as a staff attorney when you presented your rebuttal? You did so in the letter you sent me in response, why not in public? Is it because you don't want your policy of "siccing the lawyers" on your (former) customers who complain about your illegal and deceptive practices to come to light? I think that's the worst kept secret in town there, Brian, judging from the amount of complaints your firm generates on this site. And why retrain your staff if they did nothing wrong? Why did the manager of the store call me after the incident to apologize, admitting that we dropped the ball here, and Im sorry. I recorded that onto my hard drive when he called, this being a one-party consent state and all. That, in conjunction to the videotape evidence I collected and the eyewitnesses to the even make your veiled threats of suing me laughable, Brian, but feel free to try.

Heres the part that makes me warm and fuzzy, Brian. Sooner or later youre going to have to respond to the complaint I filed with the Attorney Generals office. They, in turn, will forward me a copy of your response. I really, truly, honest to the Little-Baby-Jesus-In-The-Manger cant wait to see what you tell them. It wont be the threats of legal action you made against me, will it? Youll actually have to try and justify a clear-cut case of deceptive trade practices and bait and switch advertising. Good luck to you, Brian. Youre a badmamajamma lawyer if you pull that off, given the fact that I sent them all of the evidence I collected. Keep swingin, slugger
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#4 Consumer Comment

not an EMPLOYEE as you must believe

AUTHOR: Brandon - ()

Shannon, apparently you didn't notice at the top of my CONSUMER COMMENT than I am a CONSUMER and not an EMPLOYEE as you must believe. I myself have posted a complaint on here about the RoomStore and therefore can understand where the person was coming from. However, as a law student I can also advise what the laws are, and, unfortinately, the laws in this country are written to protect large corporations, not the consumer as most people would like to believe. So, before you go making off the wall accusations and judgements, get YOUR facts straight!
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#5 Consumer Comment

response to customer service manager's commentary

AUTHOR: Shannon - ()

As my trouble with the Roomstore was referenced in the last commentary, made by a Customer Service manager from the Roomstore, I feel I need to clarify. I was credited with partial blame for the delayed "resolution" of my business deal. Truthfully, I sent letter after letter and made many calls. If I'm to blame at all, it's because I insisted on getting what I paid for.

The resolution is, that the Roomstore gave me a credit on my final bill and I paid it because I wanted this to be over. I have a couch now that has 5 pillows that are the wrong color and along with attorney's fees, I've paid more than the original price of the couch. I'm NOT a satisfied customer and I maintain the Roomstore has problems with customer service, as well as the quality of their merchandise.

To top things off, I received a notice from the Roomstore that my credit was being rescinded. I was assured later that this was in error, but it certainly was a problem and didn't do anything to help me warm up to this business.

I'd like to hear that the Roomstore has invested in some excellent customer service training...."give them the pickle"...........
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#6 UPDATE Employee

Two sides to every story

AUTHOR: Tom - ()

Like most stories, there are always 2 sides. In many cases, a refusal to meet a customer's demands seems to portray The RoomStore as unconcerned about a customer's complaint. This is far from the truth. The RoomStore will listen to a customer's complaint and work to resolve this matter, many times exceeding our service guidelines to resolve this matter. However, many times the customer will not accept anything less than what they are demanding from The RoomStore. This leads the customer to think that we are not working with them, care about their situation or we are attempting to belittle them or their complaint. This simply is not the case. The employees for The RoomStore will listen to your complaint but we are human also. We try to empathize with the customer and try to satisfy them but some demands are just not able to be fulfilled.

Regardless of the demand or complaint, The RoomStore will listen and then discuss the matter to attempt to resolve the complaint. Remember, when resolving situations, it takes compromise by both parties. Mr. Burrows wasn't willing to compromise, while Shannon's case was resolved but the resolution was delayed by actions on both parties. It takes both parties to work things out.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Roomstore Staff Attitude

AUTHOR: Shannon - ()

Although the letter from the Burrows may have been premature, I've had enough contact with Roomstore staff, to know that the condescending and insulting comments that Brandon makes are more common than not.

He references this multi-million dollar company and their education, which leads me to believe he has no respect for his customers, another trait I've found commonplace amongst Roomstore staff and even customer service officials from this highly unethical business.

Do yourself a favor Brandon and don't respond to articles like this. Intelligent shoppers can sort out what is credible from what is not.

Having recently been treated terribly by the Roomstore in a "business-deal-gone-bad" that lasted almost two years, and paying them, even though I've still not got what I paid for, just to get it over with, I enjoy watching employees like Brandon dig a deeper whole for the Roomstore...hope you're on your way out....we won't miss ya!!!
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#8 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Brandon - ()

I'm just curious how you came to the conclusion that the company is discriminating against Hispanics? Did you personally see the same store and the same two employees honor the same exact offer to a white or African American customer? Did you personally hear them say "Don't honor that offer because they're Mexican!?" I hardly doubt it, so those acusations could actually be construed as slander, which my friend, could turn around on you.

You see, as much as I dislike dealing with the RoomStore, there are also laws that protect not only individuals like yourself, but also companies. Slander is a very large issue in this coundry. Slander can be construed as any comments, actions, or accusations that are not true that cause monetary damages to a person or company such as loss of wages or loss of income or casue a negative reputation.

So, you see Sir, if you pursue this is court I'm almost positive that this multi-million dollar company has enough lawyers who have far more education that you could dream of having, will pursue a slander suit, will counter-sue you, and will more than like win. Which means that the nice house you and your six-month pregnant wife just bought will have to be sold to pay the judgment to the RoomStore.

I would highly advise that next time something like this happens you allow the company to deal with it first. Give them a bit longer than 15 minutes as I'm sure you're not the only customer sending in letters to the corporate office, and most importantly, don't make false accusations!
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#9 UPDATE Employee

Ask Questions BEFORE You Shoot

AUTHOR: Brian - ()

I love the internet. It is a wonderful medium for exchanging information with a large audience at a very low cost. This website is a perfect example.

A downside to the internet, however, is that people can make reckless accusations and false statements with relative impunity. Mr. Burrows has made a number of accusations against The RoomStore. If he had simply contacted someone at our corporate offices before he posted his letter on the internet, we could have helped him understand that this is another side to the story.

Mr. Burrows was upset because he received a promotional offer from The RoomStore in Arizona and was then informed that he could not use this offer at The RoomStore in Texas.

As it turns out, The RoomStore of Phoenix, LLC is a completely separate company from HMY RoomStore, Inc. The RoomStore of Phoenix operates 8 stores in Arizona only. HMY RoomStore operates 66 stores in Texas, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The problem is that both companies use the same name and logo "The RoomStore." This problem started around 10 years ago when some related individuals first started the two companies. Today, none of these individuals work for HMY RoomStore, Inc. anymore. The Burrows are not the first customers who have been confused by the problem.

HMY RoomStore, Inc. and The RoomStore of Phoenix, LLC recently entered into an agreement that should help reduce cross-state customer confusion. In print media advertisements, The RoomStore of Phoenix will now insert language stating that Phoenix RoomStore is "locally owned -- locally operated" and "the RoomStore of Arizona is not affiliated with any other RoomStores." The RoomStore of Phoenix also agreed that it will not advertize or promote its stores in media originating outside of Arizona. We hope that this will help clear up any confusion.

On behalf of HMY RoomStore, Inc., I wish to apologize to the Burrows. Their understandable confusion led to a negative shopping experience. We will improve our sales staff training on this issue.

On the other hand, I am upset and saddened that Mr. Burrows chose to post on the internet his letter to our company before allowing The RoomStore any time to respond. He apparently posted his letter on this site 15 minutes after he faxed the letter to us. His public accusations were therefore made without any attempt to verify the accuracy of his statements. In the future, I would ask that Mr. Burrows and all readers of this site allow companies to an opportunity respond before
firing off letters that may contain false and reckless statements.

Thank you.
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