Channel 11 viewers take action after furniture store closes abruptly

PITTSBURGH — The incredible generosity of Channel 11 viewers is helping to make a bad situation much better, after a furniture store closed down without warning.

“It’s unbelievable how kind people’s hearts are,” said Stacey Dorsey, a customer of Home Décor Outlets on Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh.

Just minutes after our first report about Home Décor Outlets on Liberty Avenue, several Pittsburghers contacted Channel 11 to see if they could make a donation to help Dorsey.

Closed without warning

11 investigates first told you last Thursday about Home Décor Outlets closing without notice and leaving customers without furniture ordered or money paid.

Dorsey, who is on disability and a fixed income, had been sleeping on a mattress on the floor because her bed frame broke earlier this year. The couch in her living room also had a bent frame and was difficult to sit on.

She discovered that Home Décor Outlets had a free “no limit” layaway plan, so she ordered several items, including a bed and couch. She had been paying faithfully for months until March, when she found the store was closed. No one responded to her multiple emails and phone calls.

Out $385.75 with nothing to show for it, it was money she could not afford to lose.

“That’s a lot of money to me,” she told 11 Investigates. “I was literally starting to cry.”

True kindness & generosity

Moments after that report aired on Channel 11, viewers responded.

“I saw your news story about the furniture store closing. I’d like to help Stacey. Are you able to connect us?,” attorney Brad Trust emailed 11 Investigates Angie Moreschi.

The very next day, Trust contacted Dorsey and made a donation to her for the $385 she lost.

“I thanked him from the bottom of my heart. I must have hugged him, I don’t know how many times,” Dorsey said.

She immediately turned around to order a new bed frame and box spring, which was delivered on Tuesday. A friend helped her to assemble it, and she finally got a good night’s rest last night, for the first time in a long time.

Musician Billy Mancini and his wife Shannon also reached out to make a donation to Dorsey and bought her a new couch, which was also delivered on Tuesday.

“I’m so grateful. I am so grateful,” Dorsey said, tears welling up in her eyes. “Those people didn’t have to do it, but they did, from the bottom of their hearts. And I truly appreciate it.”

Lack of Consumer Protection

Dorsey filed complaints against Home Décor Outlets with both the Better Business Bureau of Western Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, but so far, has gotten no resolution.

She is not alone in her complaints against the company. The BBB has received nearly 250 complaints in the past three years, and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office told 11 Investigates they’ve received eight in the past year.

Home Décor Outlets no longer lists the Pittsburgh store location on its website. Even so, when you call the phone number for the Liberty Avenue store, it still gives store hours, making it appear that the store is still open.

11 Investigates has made several attempts to visit the location during store hours and made multiple calls to both the local and corporate offices. We’ve received no response, and there is no sign anyone is at the Liberty Avenue location or that it is still in operation.

Adding insult to injury, the store actually sent Dorsey an invoice this past Friday, asking for another payment for the furniture she ordered.

“You’re still trying to take advantage of people; how could you do that?,” Dorsey asked, referring the bill trying to get more money out of her. “I don’t know how they sleep at night.”

Last week, the attorney general’s office told Channel 11, “If a business is actively and knowingly misrepresenting itself as being open to the public when it is not, that could be a violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection law.”

We asked if the attorney general is going to take any action against the store, but a spokesperson told us they could not comment.

Meanwhile, Dorsey is still upset with Home Décor Outlets, but grateful for the help she’s received from Channel 11 viewers.

“Thank you so much, thank you so much,” Dorsey said, giving a hug to reporter Angie Moreschi. “I was hoping and praying you would be able to do something, and it’s like — you have!”