Consumers — as many as 21,000 in Tennessee and across the country — are one step closer to getting refunds from a computer seller and liquidator who, according to a court ruling, misrepresented its products.
A Davidson County Circuit Court judge sided with the State of Tennessee in a consumer protection case against Nashville-based Consumer Depot LLC, and its owners and operators Martin Fike, Carol Fike, Michael Hinds, and related entity Auction Logistix, LLC ("Consumer Depot").
Consumers complained the company, located at 3332 Powell Ave., misled them about its products and that the company refused to resolve complaints or give refunds, the Tennessee Attorney General claimed in its lawsuit filed in 2006.
Judge Amanda McClendon agreed with the attorney general that the company had violated the Consumer Protection Act. In a ruling dated Jan. 4, 2010, McClendon stated that “the state’s evidence is compelling and undisputed.”
The state submitted over 30 consumer affidavits describing first-hand accounts of actual deception by Consumer Depot, including misrepresentations about defendants’ products, misleading return procedures, lack of customer service, and retaliation, the judge noted.
Area complaint handling entities, including the Division of Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau, reported receiving hundreds of consumer complaints about Consumer Depot’s business practices.
"Businesses that cheat the public through false and deceptive advertising have no business in Tennessee,” said Attorney General Bob Cooper. “Not only do such unlawful tactics harm consumers across the country, but they also tarnish the reputations of all honest Tennessee businesses that play by the rules.”
Further proceedings to set a permanent injunction and establish civil penalties, restitution and attorneys’ fees, are expected to take place in the near future.
Consumer Depot and its owners and operators have done business under the following names (as well as others): Consumer Depot, Bargain Depot, Factory Dealz, Return Dealz, Surplus Dealz, bargaindepot04, Ubid-It, techgraveyard, surplusdealz05, swdiscounters, Mr-Appliance, Music-n-DVDs and Ubid-TN-01.
Consumers who believe they may have been harmed by Consumer Depot’s business practices, or who have complaints about any consumer matter should go online at http://www.state.tn.us/consumer or call the Division of Consumer Affairs at 615-741-5860 or toll-free in Tennessee at 1-800-342-8385.