PITTSBURGH — 11 Investigates has learned the furniture store in Pittsburgh’s Strip District that shut down abruptly — leaving customers without their money or merchandise — filed for bankruptcy months ago but didn’t notify customers.
That’s especially concerning, because as Channel 11 Consumer Investigator Angie Moreschi discovered, Home Décor was giving the impression its Liberty Avenue store was still open.
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“Whether or not it violates law, it certainly violates human decency. It’s morally improper,” consumer lawyer and Executive Director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, Ira Rheingold, told 11 Investigates.
As Channel 11 has reported over the past two weeks, when you call Home Décor Outlet’s local number, the message still indicates the store is open, listing daily hours, and the billing department has continued to send invoices to Pittsburgh customers like Stacey Dorsey, as recently as this month.
“You’re still taking advantage of people. How could you do that?” Dorsey said.
Dorsey called 11 Investigates when she couldn’t get through to the company anymore, after paying nearly $400 for furniture on layaway.
“I was starting to cry, I was literally starting to cry,” she told us.
On disability with a fixed income, it was money she couldn’t afford to lose.
“The whole thing is pretty appalling. It clearly is a deceptive practice to try and act like you’re in business when in fact you are in bankruptcy and no longer going to be able to provide goods to the customer,” Rheingold said.
Attorney General warning
11 Investigates notified the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office after discovering Home Décor was still acting like the Liberty Avenue store was open, even though the company filed for bankruptcy and closed the location months earlier.
The AG’s office had received eight complaints about the Pittsburgh location since 2021, but after our stories that number has doubled to 16 in less than two weeks.
A spokesperson tells Channel 11 Home Décor never notified the Attorney General’s Office either, that the company filed for bankruptcy.
Now, in response to our stories, the attorney general will notify customers who’ve filed complaints that the store has filed for bankruptcy.
“The Office of Attorney General is contacting consumers who have filed complaints with our office to be sure they are made aware of their rights during these proceedings. Pennsylvania consumers who have paid for services not received should file proofs of claim with the bankruptcy court,” spokesperson Molly Steiber emailed 11 Investigates.
Steiber says because the bankruptcy was filed in Georgia, the case is no longer under their jurisdiction, but they want to warn Pennsylvania customers to know their rights and stop giving the company any more money.
“Any consumers who are still being invoiced for items on layaway should not make any additional payments,” Steiber said.
Unfortunately, the bankruptcy is bad news for customers, who will now have a hard time getting any money back.
“The problem is this company has a lot of other creditors, and consumers are lowest on the totem pole of that list, and the likelihood of getting any of that money back without legal representation is really limited,” Rheingold said.
No response from company
11 Investigates has repeatedly tried to contact Home Décor Outlets’ parent company in Duluth, Georgia, but we have received no response.
As for customers, Channel 11 viewers stepped up to help Dorsey, making donations to help her get a new bed and sofa.
“I’m so grateful, I’m so grateful,” Dorsey said. “Those people didn’t have to do that, but they did from the bottom of their heart, and I truly appreciate it.”
Unfortunately, with the bankruptcy, other customers likely won’t be so lucky.
Consumers who’ve put down a deposit or paid for furniture on layaway with Home Décor are now essentially creditors who’ve made a loan to the company. To collect anything on that, they’ll need to file what’s called a ‘proof-of-claim’ with the bankruptcy court and get behind all the other creditors trying to get their money back, too.
“The whole business model is pretty appalling to me and the fact that they have gone out of business and left these people high and dry is really disturbing,” Rheingold said.
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