According to the Better Business Bureau, Fresno Business Abbey Floor Covering and Design Center has closed their doors leaving local consumers bilked of more than $23k in unfinished work.
A press release by the BBB reads:
At least two consumers have filed complaints in the past two days alleging the business has taken their money over a period of months and left them with incomplete work or undelivered products. These complaints are still pending.
When one consumer contacted the business, they were told the business was closing and they would not be getting their product. The other consumer, who has given the business more than $18k, has tried to contact the owners but all lines are disconnected.
BBB serving Central California sent a representative to the business location and found a sign in the front window stating they were closed for inventory. Upon further inspection he spoke with the owner, Glennyce Cropper, who confirmed that the business was in fact closing for good. She was however, unresponsive when asked about the consumer complaints. The owner would give no answer when the question was posed as to whether or not they would honor the outstanding contracts.
It is quite distressing to a customer when a company that owes them merchandise, service or a refund suddenly goes out of business. To avoid this predicament, the Better Business Bureau serving Central California suggests the following:
• Avoid paying for any products or services in advance whenever possible. If it is required, make sure you have a written agreement with the company that clearly spells out what they will do for you should they suddenly close or go bankrupt. However a company may require a down payment of 10% of the the bid or $1000, whichever is less.
• Regarding rebates and warranties, make sure this same information is also found in those written agreements.
• Keep meticulous documentation of all transactions. Invoices, receipts, names of employees you worked with and other documentation are extremely important in recovering refunds or products from a closed business.
• Pay using a credit card. If you pay by cash or check and the company closes, you will not likely be able to recover those funds. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act and certain credit card companies' rules, consumers whose merchandise was undelivered can usually get a refund on their credit card, (the process may take some time, however).
If you find yourself in a similar situation with a business who has closed, we offer the following advice:
• Go to the last known location to see if the company has posted any instructions or signs. If not, ask neighboring companies if they know what may have happened. If the business was located in an office building, you should try contacting the landlord of the building.
• Send a letter to the company's last known address asking the owner to contact you. Even if the business is closed, the mail may be subject to a forwarding order. You can also pay a visit to your Post Office to see if the company has a forwarding address.
• If you don't know the names of the principals, check with your city or county clerk's office. This may require a personal visit and you may be charged a small fee.
• If the business is regulated, such as attorneys, doctors, engineers, employment services, new car dealer, etc., contact the licensing agency. If you're not sure whether the company is regulated, contact your state's Department of Licensing & Regulations office. They will be able to tell you how to contact the appropriate regulatory authorities.
• Contact the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court in the area where the company was located to see if the company may have filed for bankruptcy.
• Contact your Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB does not trace companies, but it does receive information daily on a number of changes in business locations and ownerships and may be able to help you.
• If you are successful in locating the owner and the business is not in bankruptcy, you are still owed your services, product, or money. Closing a business does not relieve the owner of his or her obligation to you. If you cannot obtain an appropriate settlement from the company, file a complaint with the Attorney General's office, with Small Claims Court, or seek the help of an attorney.
• If the company has filed for bankruptcy, you should file a claim with the bankruptcy court. The court will suspend the company's obligations to creditors and customers until it approves a plan to reorganize or liquidate the company. Under the plan you, as a claimant, may or may not get all or part of what you are owed.
For more tips you can trust visit www.cencal.bbb.org or call us at 800-675-8118.