CORNELIUS, N.C. (WBTV) – An area flooring company has been sued by the state attorney general for allegedly defrauding customers.
Attorney General Josh Stein announced the lawsuit against Flowers Flooring was filed Monday. He alleges in the suit the company accepted payment for materials that were never delivered or floor installations that were not started or completed.
The lawsuit states Flowers Flooring “unlawfully retained approximately $400,000 dollars in consumer advances and deposits.”
“The primary excuse Defendant used to explain the delay in installation was that the company’s suppliers did not have the materials selected by consumers in stock,” the lawsuit states. “Upon information and belief, these excuses were false, as Defendant would use this excuse with many consumers. In at least one instance, Defendant used this excuse with one consumer who was able to source the materials they desired independently and quickly through another flooring company.”
The Department of Justice has received more than 80 complaints against Flowers Flooring for the alleged unlawful practices, Stein announced.
According to the lawsuit, the deception began in February and continued until mid-August, when the business shut down its website, closed its storefronts and ceased communications with customers.
Flowers Flooring had locations in Cornelius and Winston-Salem.
“Defendant actively solicited consumers and accepted deposits from consumers until the weeks before it suspended operations,” court documents state. “Upon information and belief, Defendant did so fully aware that it would be unable to fill the orders, with no intention of providing products or refunds to consumers and with the deliberate design of deceiving consumers by taking their money for a non-deliverable product.”
The attorney general said he is seeking restitution for consumers, civil penalties and other monetary penalties.
“We’re going to court to ask the judge to do three things,” Attorney General Stein told WBTV. “One, refund folks money, two, put a stop to unlawful business practices, and three, issue civil penalties of 500-thousand dollars per violation.”
According to the lawsuit, victims include Davidson Housing Coalition, a non-profit that provides subsidized home repairs to low-income residents.
It says the coalition director paid more than $2,700 dollars on a deposit for flooring for a 97-year-old woman whose floors were deteriorating, but Flowers Flooring never started the work.
We asked Stein whether these customers will get their money back.
“We’re gonna ask the court to do that and the court will do an accounting of how many dollars there are in the account of Flowers Flooring, and we’re gonna do everything we can to get folks who were harmed their money back,” he said.
Attempts to reach the owner of Flowers Flooring have been unsuccessful.
Anyone who believes they or someone they know has been treated unlawfully by Flowers Flooring can file a complaint online or call 877-5-NO-SCAM.
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