BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has concluded an investigation into Carolina Furniture’s promotion of a store closing sale, with a $30,000 settlement with the local furniture chain.
The investigation focused on advertisements promoting a “liquidation” sale of inventory at the Carolina Furniture’s store at the Northtown Plaza, in Amherst.
When Whole Foods took over the Northtown Plaza, in February, 2014, they bought out Carolina Furniture’s lease, and the Attorney General contends store executives used the closing of the Amherst store to hype sales, claiming deep discounts in a way that was misleading.
“They sent out a flyer to 40,000 people saying there was a ‘private’ sale, come on in, for 4 days only,” but Assistant Attorney General James Morrissey said “it was not a private sale, it was at all three of their locations, it was open to the public, anyone could go in and get the merchandise.”
The Northtown store has since closed, while stores remain open in Williamsville and Orchard Park.
Morrissey also said the term “liquidation sale” has to follow certain guidelines, and by law a store closing sale can only last 30 days, with a 30-day extension, but Carolina’s store closing sale extended well beyond what is allowed.
“The notion is you can’t be perpetually going out of business. It has got to be a very, very time-limited sale so the consumer can have a realistic expectation with respect to the claims that are made by the stores.”
The owner of Carolina Stores declined our offer for an on-camera interview, but did say, no customers were harmed by their advertising campaign. Carolina Furniture agreed to pay a $30,000 civil penalty as part of the settlement.