Oakridge Furniture has entered into agreed to resolve consumer protection issues related to the recent closure of its Idaho Falls store.
The agreement, which involves S & S Sales, Inc., d/b/a Oakridge Furniture, and S & S Sales’ owners, L. Kip and Angela Steed, stems from allegations that the Steeds conducted an unlawful “going out of business sale.”
Under the Idaho Consumer Protection Act, a seller may not advertise a “going out of business sale” unless the seller is closing for good. The Steeds intended to close Oakridge Furniture and reopen in the future as an Ashley Furniture Store.
A store that closes and later reopens in the same place, but under a different name, is not going out of business and may not advertise as if it is going out of business.
During Oakridge Furniture’s closing, banners on the store read: “$2,000,000 STORE CLOSING LIQUIDATION,” “STORE CLOSING SALE,” and “EVERYTHING MUST GO.” The Attorney General believes these phrases misrepresented the type of “sale” Oakridge Furniture was conducting because the signs informed consumers — incorrectly — that Oakridge Furniture was closing for good when, in fact, it intended to reopen under a different name.
Under the agreement, if S & S Sales or the Steeds conduct a future going out of business sale, they must tell the Attorney General’s Office about the sale at least 30 days before it begins. The parties also must provide in writing to the Attorney General’s Office:
- the sale’s projected end date;
- a detailed inventory of the furniture to be sold, including pre-sale prices;
- a detailed inventory of the furniture remaining at the end of the sale;
- a detailed inventory of the furniture that sold, including sale prices and sale dates; and
- information about the disposal of any remaining inventory.
The agreement requires S & S Sales and the Steeds to address any consumer protection issues that may arise because of a future going out of business sale and to tell the Attorney General’s Office if they change their business name.
Steeds paid the Attorney General $500 to reimburse the office for its attorney’s fees and investigative expenses. A civil penalty of $10,000 is suspended as long as S & S Sales’ and the Steeds’ compliance with the agreement.