Customers at odds with furniture store over washer-dryer that was never delivered

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A husband and wife rebuilding after a devastating fire say they hit a roadblock months after buying a washer-dryer set from a local furniture store.

Bill Burmeister has spent the past eight months putting back together his wedding DJ company and his home, following a fire at his apartment complex in May.

"As soon as we walked out, we looked up and all we could see was flames coming our way," Burmeister told CBS4 shortly after the fire.

In the process of rebuilding, Burmeister and his wife Beth made what they admit to be a bit of an impulse purchase: they bought a used washer-dryer from The Furniture Biz on Washington Street, to replace one they bought just months before the fire.

"It looked fairly nice, it looked fairly new. So, we purchased it," Burmeister said.

The couple made arrangements with the Furniture Biz for them to hold the units until September, when they hoped to be settled into a new apartment. At one point Burmeister said he did tell the store he might not need the unit, however ultimately he decided to keep it and his wife paid an $80 delivery fee.

After paying the fee, Burmeister said the store canceled and did not show up to multiple delivery appointments.

"He made like five, six appointments with us, saying he was going to come, and each time it was another excuse, another excuse," Burmeister said.

Both sides told CBS4 Problem Solvers that following a heated exchange, the washer-dryer was never delivered.

The manager and owner at The Furniture Biz would not go on camera to tell CBS4 Problem Solvers their side of the story, saying they do not believe they did anything wrong. The manager did admit to selling the washer-dryer to another customer following the heated exchange, saying he didn't think the couple wanted it anymore.

In a written response to the Burmeister's complaint to the Indiana Attorney General, the manager said of the couple, "These people are not credible," but noted that Burmeister had been a good customer in the past and said, "Bottom line is we will give him a credit in store he can use anytime."

The store also wrote out a check to the couple refunding $60 of their $80 delivery fee. Burmeister said he was unsure if he would accept the refund, as he would rather get his money back entirely.

"It’d just be easier for me just to get my money back, since I never received anything from the man. I never took possession of anything," Burmeister said.

With no clear resolution to the case, CBS4 Problem Solvers went to the Better Business Bureau's CEO Tim Maniscalo.

"Sometimes parties have different understandings, different opinions of what should have happened," Maniscalo said.

Maniscalo suggests that if you find yourself in a dispute with a business that you can't fix by talking to them, you file a complaint. If you file with the BBB, you can work with a mediator if you choose.

"The consumer necessarily isn’t always right and the company necessarily isn’t always right. We just want to try to create that environment where the two can come together and talk," Maniscalo said.

In the Burmeister's case, The Furniture Biz did offer store credit, causing the Indiana Attorney General to close their investigation. Burmeister's next step could be to try to work out the dispute in small claims court.

The Furniture Biz does have an "F" rating with the BBB for failing to respond to previous complaints.

If you have a problem you'd like CBS4 Problem Solvers to consider, contact us at 317-677-1544 or ProblemSolvers@cbs4indy.com.

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