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PITTSBURGH — The sign on the building at Home Décor Outlets Mattress & Furniture store on Liberty Avenue says “open to the public” but that’s not what customers find when they try to get in.
“I tried to open the door. Nothing. I tried calling and calling and calling, and nothing,” said Home Décor customer Stacey Dorsey of Pittsburgh’s Brighton Heights.
Dorsey contacted 11 Investigates for help when she discovered the store closed down without warning, after she’d been paying them for months to get new furniture on layaway.
Customer complaints are piling up against the store, but no one at the company is responding. That’s leaving customers, like Dorsey, with no furniture and no way to get a refund.
“I was shocked. It was like getting hit in the face,” she said. “I was starting to cry. I was literally starting to cry.”
11 Investigates goes in search of answers and advice on what to do about it.
New furniture hopes dashed
Stacey Dorsey has to sleep on a mattress on the floor because her bedframe broke, and her couch has a bent frame, also, making it uncomfortable to sit on.
She is in serious need of new furniture, but it’s hard for her to afford, because she’s on disability and has a fixed income.
So, she was excited to find the Home Decor Outlets store on Liberty Avenue has free “no limits” layaway, making it possible for her to pay slowly over time.
“This is where the full-size bed was gonna go,” she said, taking 11 Investigates on a tour of her home.
Dorsey put several items on layaway at Home Decor Outlets and has been paying them off faithfully for months.
She has a receipt for every payment. The last one, $50 on February 1, 2021. A total of $385.75 invested, so far.
“It’s not much to people, but those people have money to lose. I don’t,” she said showing her stack of receipts.
Unfortunately, her hope of getting that new furniture or a refund is now looking dim.
Doors locked without warning
When she tried to make her march payment, she discovered the store was unexpectedly closed during regular business hours.
“I tried to open the door. The door was locked, nobody there,” she said. “There was actually somebody else there, as well, trying to get in.”
Dorsey tried calling and calling, both the local store and its headquarters in Duluth, Georgia, but no response.
“No matter where I turned, nothing. I even sent them an email saying I want my money back. They never responded,” she said.
When you call the store’s local number today, it still provides hours, saying the store is open seven days a week, but that’s clearly not the case.
In the summer of 2021, the store appeared to be having some issues, posting paper signs on the door multiple times. One sign posted in August said, “Home Décor Outlets will be temporarily closed due to emergency. We are sorry for the inconvenience.”
This week, 11 Investigates visited the building. Once again, the door was locked, but there wasn’t even a paper sign on the door anymore, offering an explanation.
Complaints piling up
The Better Business Bureau says they’ve gotten nearly 250 customer complaints about the company in the past three years, leading to a consumer alert for a pattern of complaints.
The BBB gives Home Décor Outlets one star and an F rating. The company has stopped responding, even to the BBB.
“F rating is the lowest rating we have,” said Western Pennsylvania BBB Executive Director Warren King. “The company is not being responsive to them (customers). That certainly puts up a red flag.”
At one point, Home Decor Outlets had as many as 17 different locations throughout the eastern United States, but a check of their website now shows just six locations left; and the Pittsburgh store is not one of them.
11 Investigates put in a call to Home Décor’s local number and its headquarters in Georgia but could not get through to a real person.
We left a message with the company’s president, Christopher Prescott, telling him about Dorsey’s situation, but have yet to hear back.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office has received 8 complaints against the Home Décor’s Liberty Avenue location in Pittsburgh.
The AG’s office won’t confirm or deny if the store is under investigation, but a spokesperson told Channel 11 in an email, “If a business is actively and knowingly misrepresenting itself as being open to the public when it is not, that could be a violation of the PA Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.”
Unfortunately for Dorsey, that doesn’t mean much, right now. She has no furniture and no refund.
“I want them to know, you shouldn’t be taking advantage of people like that, especially people that have a disability and are low income. It’s wrong,” Dorsey said.
If you have furniture on layaway or made a deposit but didn’t get your merchandise and now can’t get ahold of anyone at Home Décor Outlets or any other furniture store, you can file a complaint with the PA Attorney General’s office at this link.
And here are tips from the BBB on what to do if a business suddenly closes before you get your merchandise.
11 Investigates will keep you posted on whether the AG takes any action against Home Décor Outlets.
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