Furniture company at center of KY3 investigation ordered to pay nearly $1.2 million to former customers
NORWOOD, Mo. (KY3) - A furniture company KY3 has been investigating for more than three years has now been ordered by the state of Missouri to return customers’ money.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Rough Country Rustic Furniture and its owners, Joseph and Ashley Ross, have been ordered to pay back 1,422 customers who filed complaints with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. The hand-crafted gun concealment furniture will have to pay nearly $1.2 million dollars. According to a news release from the BBB, the business owners denied any wrongdoing, but have agreed to the judgment in order to avoid the expense of future litigation.
The BBB says it took its first complaint against the business in November of 2015 and has since received more than 1,800 complaints. The business has an “F” rating, the lowest on the BBB’s scale. Three years ago, KY3 first told you about the backlog of customer complaints against Rough Country Rustic Furniture and its owners. Hundreds of customers said they placed orders – but never got the furniture they were promised. At the time, we spoke with the owner who promised us he was working to fill all the orders, but also admitted to us that while he was behind, he was still taking new orders. In July 2018, The Missouri Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit say the business violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. The state said Rough Country Rustic Furniture used “deceptive and unfair business practices” and took payment for furniture, but either didn’t provide the products to consumers, or provided defective products. The business closed in July of 2018, and filed for bankruptcy later that same year.
After Rough Country Rustic Furniture closed, Joseph Ross opened a new business in October 2019, in that same building, called Farmhouse Store Company. That business now sells homemade wall signs. As part of this state judgment – the Rosses cannot take any upfront payments for any product unless they have it already in stock. They also have to ship all orders within 10 days or offer a refund if it’s not. The court also fined the Rosses 50-thousand dollars – but that is suspended if they follow the other rules. In a statement, Michelle L. Corey, BBB St. Louis President and CEO says, “we applaud the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and its efforts to help customers of this business.”
We called Joseph Ross to get his side of the story and he said “I don’t really need a chance to talk to KY3 viewers about something that has already been settled by a court of law in the state of Missouri.” KY3 plans to continue reporting on this story today as we get more information and speak with former customers of the business.
The BBB offers these tips on how to avoid online shopping problems:
- Research any business and its owners before paying any money. Check the company’s BBB Business Profile at bbb.org or by calling 888-996-3887.
- Be wary of sales or prices that seem too good to be true. In many of these cases, the items do not exist or are of poor quality.
- Read all terms and conditions before completing a purchase. Make sure to understand expected delivery dates and refund polices. Know your options in case you receive an item that was not as advertised.
- Pay by credit card whenever possible in case you need to challenge the payment.
- Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with “https://.” You also may see a picture of a small closed lock in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.
HISTORY OF OUR STORIES:
2015: Business Opens
December 2017: Business works to fulfill orders
January 2018: Backlog of orders
August 2018: Missouri attorney general files lawsuit
November 2019: BBB issues new warning
December 2019: New business opens
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