Attorney General Hardy Myers today filed a settlement agreement with furniture retailer John. S. Kozloff, Jr. of Scottsdale, Arizona, as a result of consumer complaints alleging he took deposits for high-end furniture that was never delivered, and the deposits were never returned. Named in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court are Kozloff, Jr. and his Portland companies Tilara, Inc., formerly a Roche-Bobois franchise, Import Interiors, Inc., and Furnish, Inc. The AVC admits no law violation.
"Kozloff's excuses for non-delivery were many and always put the blame on others but in the long run, Oregon consumers, who paid large deposits and patiently waited from months to years for their furniture, ended up with no goods and no money," Myers explained. "Most of the victims that emerged whole in this situation were those who obtained charge backs on their credit cards. Many of those paying by check or cash are still owed refunds."
The Oregon Department of Justice began investigating complaints in January 2004 but was stalled time and again by Kozloff with excuses of record loss due to computer failure, money loss from embezzlement by a former Seattle employee, and finally, ten months of dealing with bankruptcy issues.
Kozloff, who also owned Imolo, Inc. of Seattle, Washington and Pemas, Inc. of Scottsdale, Arizona, lost his Portland franchise as a Roche-Bobois representative in late 2003. Most of the Roche-Bobois customers were required to put down a 50 percent deposit and expect a 4-6 month wait.
DOJ received information in 2004 from a former employee, who was concerned about Kozloff allegedly "pocketing consumer deposits and not ordering the furniture." Employee allegations included Kozloff taking furniture home for personal use and then returning it to the store to sell as new.
Kozloff changed the company's name in 2004 to Furnish, Inc. and continues to operate out of the same location at 515 NW 10th Avenue in Portland's Pearl District. According to Kozloff, he plans to close Furnish, Inc. after selling the inventory from the Portland, Seattle and Scottsdale stores. He plans to open a new store at the same location named Inside, Inc.
Under the agreement, in the next 30 days, Kozloff must fulfill all orders placed by each consumer, who filed a complaint in our office. If unable to deliver the merchandise within 30 days, he must issue full refunds of all deposit money. During the investigation, Kozloff with assistance from Roche-Bobois paid some full and partial refunds but due to lack of records, DOJ is expecting to hear from more victims who were previously unknown to investigators.
New complaints received in the next 60 days will be sent to Kozloff, who must fulfill the orders where the estimated delivery date was over six months ago or issue full refunds. Consumers wanting to file complaints should go online at www.doj.state.or.us to download a complaint form or file electronically.
Kozloff also has 30 days to implement certain operating procedures to inform customers of their options for timely deliveries and deposit refunds. He also must keep written records for a minimum of five years and hold all deposits in a trust account only withdrawing money to pay a manufacturer or freight forwarder for a specific consumer's order. Kozloff will pay $30,000 over the next two years to the Department of Justice Consumer Protection and Revolving Fund.
Those wanting more information about this case and other consumer protection issues in Oregon may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org