The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs sued Maddy's Home Furniture, a chain of furniture stores in New York City, alleging that the company lures consumers to its stores with advertising that uses deceptive financing offers. The DCA's lawsuit, which was promoted by more than 100 consumer complaints, is seeking civil penalties and restitution.
DCA alleged that even though Maddy's made claims such as "24 MONTHS ZERO INTEREST - NO CREDIT CHECK" and "NO CREDIT? BAD CREDIT? NO PROBLEM YOU'RE APPROVED," various consumers weren't able to take advantage of these offers. DCA alleged that these claims were made on Maddy's website, in social media, and in other channels.
DCA also alleged that Maddy's delivered used or damaged furniture and delayed delivery of furniture for months, despite promises of fast delivery.
Only time will tell, but it does seem like DCA, as well as other consumer protection agencies, are increasing their enforcement, particularly in areas where consumers are more vulnerable. Here, DCA said that Maddy's tactics impacted low income and immigrant consumers. Earlier this month, we reported on another DCA enforcement action against a for-profit school.
"Consumers in the United States spend close to $100 billion annually at furniture stores. It's not a small investment and when you do go shopping for furniture, you expect what you pick out at the store to be what is delivered" -- DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas