Attorney general files suit against local wallpaper store

PERKINS TWP. After months of complaints by consumers about a local wallpaper store that sells much o
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

PERKINS TWP.

After months of complaints by consumers about a local wallpaper store that sells much of its inventory online, the Ohio attorney general has stepped in.

Attorney General Richard Cordray filed a civil lawsuit Monday against Decorate With Style, 2419 E. Perkins Ave., which also does business under names that include USA Wallpaper, By Design and Simply Styled.

The lawsuit alleges the business violated the Consumer Sales Practices Act and the Failure to Deliver Rule.

It was filed in Erie County by assistant Attorney General Megan Simko and says the business repeatedly has accepted payment for wallpaper or other home decorating items, then allowed eight weeks to pass without delivering the goods or making a full refund.

The suit, assigned to Common Pleas Judge Roger Binette, seeks an injunction demanding Decorate with Style follow state consumer laws and cease operating until all judgments against it are paid in full.

It also asks the business to pay a judgment to cover refunds for customers who have suffered damages and maintain its business records for five years. The lawsuit additionally seeks a $25,000 fine.

A store employee in the shop Tuesday afternoon said she was not familiar with the lawsuit and cannot comment. Owner Tammy Billings did not respond to a message asking for comment.

Magistrate Steve Bechtel, who handles civil matters for Binette, said any court action is likely weeks away. He noted the attorney general had not asked for any immediate action, such as a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction.

Typically the defendant's lawyer has to be given time to answer a lawsuit, he said.

The Toledo branch of the Better Business Bureau has awarded Decorate With Style a grade of "F" for its customer service and says it has logged 1,059 complaints against it.

Many of the complaints referenced in the lawsuit are by customers across the country who ordered goods from USA Wallpaper's Web site.

The customers who have complained include Denton, Texas, resident Monica Chaffin, who ordered walllpaper from the Web site in April and never received the wallpaper or a refund.

Chaffin told the Register in July that when she contacted Cordray's office and asked why it hadn't taken action, a staffer told her Cordray had not received enough complaints.

"I said, 'If you don't have enough, here comes one more,' " Chaffin said.

Chaffin finally received a refund in September. But Erin Law, a resident of Clark Mills, N.Y., said she's still waiting on a refund on her order from USA Wallpaper's Web site.

Law said she paid $92.47 for wallpaper in June and finally had to give up and buy the wallpaper she needed from a local store. She said when she demanded a refund, the store sent her wallpaper that was the wrong size, and has not given her money back.

Law said Tuesday the store has been putting her off with promises but still has not provided a refund.

"I feel like they're just toying with me," she said.