FRANKLIN, Ind. -- The Better Business Bureau of central Indiana hopes nearly a dozen cases against a small furniture store will serve as a lesson to consumers.
Ten people filed complaints with the BBB against Ree's Rusticreations in Franklin. The company advertises and sells custom furniture pieces through Facebook Marketplace and requires a 50% non-refundable down payment.
Two years ago, Bradley McKee bought furniture from the company and said he was happy with the final product.
"They're great. My toddler climbs on them all day long and they're holding up two years in," McKee said.
McKee and his wife liked them so much, they decided to buy more. The second time around, though, they paid a $500 deposit and after nine months still had no furniture and no projected date of completion.
"It was disheartening knowing that I trusted somebody enough to give them that amount of money," McKee said.
CBS4 Problem Solvers spoke to five other unhappy customers who said they struggled to get Ree's Rusticreations to respond to their messages on Facebook. Some said the company seemed to block them after they complained.
"I’m upset, disappointed really, because I expected a nice item for my home," customer Bekah Williams said.
Williams and another customer, Teresa Norman, started posting warnings on Facebook pages where the company was selling items, saying they didn't know what else to do when they couldn't get a response.
"Yes, I would love my money back, but whether or not I get it, I would like to stop them from doing it to other people," Norman said.
CBS4 Problem Solvers visited the company's address in Franklin but no one came to the door. Messages through email and Facebook have not been returned.
McKee said he was one of the lucky ones: he took the company to court and ended up getting a refund of his deposit.
According to the BBB, a website and Facebook page for Ree's Rusticreations have been taken down, but a Facebook account under the owners' names continues to post items for sale. The company now holds an "F" rating with BBB because it has not responded to complaints.
CEO Tim Maniscalo said that online sales are among the top complaints the BBB receives from consumers. He suggested that you get a written contract with an estimated date of completion from a company and consider hiring someone with a physical store you can visit before you buy.
"Having some sort of a formal agreement as to what goods or services are going to be provided, when you should pay, how much you should pay, all those sorts of things are good for the consumer to get before, particularly if they are entering into something of substantial value," Maniscalo said.
The BBB also suggests that do your research about a business before you buy, especially online. You can look for scams in your area and report a scam using the BBB's ScamTracker feature at the link here.
If you have a problem you'd like CBS4 Problem Solvers to consider, contact us at 317-677-1544 or ProblemSolvers@cbs4indy.com.