New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Acting Commissioner Jonathan Mintz
today announced an agency sweep citing four furniture retailers – Sleepy’s,
Jennifer Convertibles, Calidad, and Viva Casa – for deceptive practices
seeking more than $185,000 in total fines and consumer restitution. The furniture
retailers were cited, most notably, for bogus return policies, deceptive promotions,
defective merchandise, missed or non-deliveries, selling used items as new,
and failure to resolve consumer complaints. The violations, carrying a maximum
fine of $350 a piece, were spurred by a pattern of egregious complaints.
“Furniture store rip-offs are a perennial top complaint and these stores
are the most egregious,” said Jonathan Mintz, DCA Acting Commissioner.
“Not delivering what customers paid for, refusing refunds, selling used
items as new, or missing delivery dates is frustrating and costly to consumers
– and illegal. These stores have had ample opportunities to comply with
the Consumer Protection Law and resolve consumer complaints, and now they’ll
have to answer to us.”
SLEEPY'S (locations citywide):
Sleepy’s receives the most complaints of any furniture store in the City.
They face the largest amount of violations and face more than $100,000 in fines.
Sleepy’s was cited for deceiving customers through its “28-day comfort
exchange policy,” selling used mattresses as new, delivering damaged goods,
exchanging previously damaged goods for other damaged goods, failing to honor
delivery dates or purchased warranties, as well as failing to let consumers
cancel an order, or issue a refund after agreeing to do so. Sleepy’s falsely
claims customers can make an exchange as part of its “28-day Comfort Exchange
Policy” but requires customers to notify the company of their intent to
return only within a 14 day window. Sleepy’s operates 65 stores in New
York City, as well as an 800 number (1-800-SLEEPYS). The DCA received a total
of more than 115 complaints against Sleepy’s in the past two years. Many
were referred from the New York State Attorney General’s office and the
Better Business Bureau.
JENNIFER CONVERTIBLES (locations citywide):
Jennifer Convertibles racked up more than 50 complaints and faces more than
$32,000 in fines for repeatedly failing to deliver furniture on delivery date,
delivering damaged goods, and promising to send a repair-person who then doesn’t
fix furniture correctly or doesn’t show up at all. Jennifer Convertibles
operates 27 sofabed retail stores in New York City, as well as six Jennifer
CALIDAD (locations in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx):
Calidad operates six furniture stores in New York City, and has received more
than a dozen consumer complaints. Most common complaints include failure to
give itemized receipts or state the amount of tax charged, and delivering damaged
goods. In addition, Calidad refuses to offer a refund or store credit when required
by law, sells used items as new, and fails to give an estimated delivery date.
Calidad faces nearly $30,000 in fines.
VIVA CASA (Brooklyn):
Viva Casa in Brooklyn has received nine complaints. All nine of the complaints
filed with the DCA report that none of the items ordered were ever delivered.
In addition, the most common complaints were for failing to return refunds and
deposits, as well as failing to give estimated delivery dates. Viva Casa faces
more than $25,000 in fines.
Acting Commissioner Mintz suggested the following CONSUMER TIPS:
- If the merchandise is not delivered by the delivery date, consumers have
a right to:
Cancel with a full refund, get a new delivery date, receive a credit,
or select different merchandise. **This does not apply to “custom made”
furniture, or if the failure to deliver was caused by the consumer.
- Refund Policies – Know Before You Buy: Stores can determine the conditions
of their own refund policy, but it must be posted clearly and conspicuously
near the cash register or point of purchase. If a refund policy is not posted,
by law consumers have a right to a full refund within twenty days.
- Damaged goods:If the items that are delivered are damaged, consumers
do not have to – and should not - accept or sign for the delivery. Once
the delivery is refused for damaged furniture, you will not be held liable
- Never pay the full amount before delivery.
- Be wary of catalog and Internet sales: Catalogs and websites can
only show what items may look like, but don’t allow consumers to test
the quality. If ordering from a website, be sure to only purchase from a reputable
business, and one that has a physical store location or showroom.
- Check the complaint history of a business: Call 311 to check on a
furniture store’s complaint history with the DCA.
In fiscal year 2005 (July 1, 2004 – June 30, 2005), the DCA received
more than 460 complaints against furniture stores and was able to secure more
than $100,000 in consumer restitution. So far this fiscal year, the DCA has
received nearly 150 complaints against furniture stores and secured more than
$40,000 in restitution.
To file a complaint, call 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK) or visit the DCA web site at