PITTSBURGH — 11 Investigates has learned that the Pittsburgh Strip District furniture store that abruptly closed — leaving customers without cash or merchandise — filed for bankruptcy months ago but did not notify customers.
It’s particularly worrying because, as Channel 11 consumer investigator Angie Moreschi discovered, Home Décor gave the impression that its Liberty Avenue store was still open.
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“Whether or not it violates the law, it certainly violates human decency. It’s morally inappropriate,” Ira Rheingold, consumer attorney and executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, told 11 Investigates.
As Channel 11 has reported for the past two weeks, when you call the local number for Home Décor Outlet, the message still says the store is open, listing the daily hours, and the billing service has continued to send bills to Pittsburgh clients like Stacey Dorsey, as recently as this month.
“You always take advantage of people. How can you do that?” Dorsey said.
Dorsey called 11 Investigates when she could no longer reach the company, after paying nearly $400 for set aside furniture.
“I was starting to cry, I was literally starting to cry,” she told Us.
On disability on a fixed income, it was money she couldn’t afford to lose.
“The whole thing is quite appalling. It is clearly a deceptive practice to try to act as if you are in business when in fact you are bankrupt and will no longer be able to supply goods to the customer,” Rheingold said.
Warning from the Attorney General
11 Investigators tipped off the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office after finding that Home Décor was still acting as if the Liberty Avenue store was open, even though the company had filed for bankruptcy and closed the store months earlier.
The AG’s office had received eight complaints about the Pittsburgh location since 2021, but after our stories, that number doubled to 16 in less than two weeks.
A spokesperson told Channel 11 Home Décor also never informed the Attorney General’s office that the company had filed for bankruptcy.
Now, in response to our stories, the Attorney General will notify customers who filed complaints that the store has filed for bankruptcy.
“The Office of the Attorney General is contacting consumers who have filed complaints with our office to ensure that they are informed of their rights during these proceedings. Pennsylvania consumers who have paid for services not received should file proofs of claim with the bankruptcy court,” spokeswoman Molly Steiber told 11 Investigates.
Steiber says that because the bankruptcy was filed in Georgia, the case is no longer in their jurisdiction, but they want to warn customers in Pennsylvania to know their rights and to stop giving the company more money.
“Any consumers who are still being billed for layaway items should not make any additional payments,” Steiber said.
Unfortunately, bankruptcy is bad news for customers, who will now have difficulty getting reimbursed.
“The problem is that this company has a lot of other creditors, and consumers are lowest on the totem pole on this list, and the likelihood of getting some of that money back without legal representation is really limited,” Rheingold said.
No response from company
11 Investigates made several attempts to contact the parent company of Home Décor Outlets in Duluth, Georgia, but received no response.
As for customers, Channel 11 viewers stepped up to help Dorsey, donating to help him get a new bed and sofa.
“I’m so grateful, I’m so grateful,” Dorsey said. “These people didn’t have to do this, but they did it from the heart, and I really appreciate that.”
Unfortunately, with bankruptcy, other customers will probably not be so lucky.
Consumers who put down a deposit or paid for furniture on layaway with Home Décor are now essentially creditors who have given the business a loan. To collect anything on this, they will need to file what is called a “Proof of Claim” with the bankruptcy court and get behind any other creditors who are also trying to collect their money.
“The whole business model is pretty appalling to me and the fact that they’ve gone out of business and left these people dry is really disturbing,” Rheingold said.
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