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For Immediate Release
July 5, 2002
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357

CURRAN ORDERS KENT FURNITURE BUILDER TO
REFUND CUSTOMERS’ MONEY

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a cease and desist order against a custom furniture builder who took money from residential customers to construct furniture and other home furnishings but did not build the furniture. Arden Johnson, of 8355 Broadneck Road, Chestertown, owner and operator of Alms House, of the same address, was also ordered to refund all payments that he took from consumers who did not receive the promised goods and services.

The Consumer Protection Division determined that Johnson violated the Maryland Consumer Protection Act by failing to provide the goods and services he promised and failing to refund customers’ payments. The Division also determined that Johnson violated the Merchandise Delivery Act by failing to inform consumers of their right to cancel their order and receive a refund when he failed to provide the ordered goods within two weeks of the estimated delivery date or never provided an estimated delivery date. In addition, the Division determined that Johnson, who met with consumers in their homes to sell the goods and services, violated the Maryland Door-to-Door Sales Act by failing to advise consumers of their right to cancel the transactions within three business days of their purchase.

"Consumers who order and pay for goods and services have the right to receive what they paid for or else receive a refund," said Attorney General Curran.

In addition to requiring Johnson to provide refunds to consumers who did not receive the furniture or services they paid for, the Division's ex parte cease and desist order bars Johnson from entering into any new contracts unless he informs customers of their cancellation and refund rights in accordance with the law. The order also bars Johnson from offering goods or services unless he first either posts a surety bond or a letter of credit with the Consumer Protection Division, which would allow any consumer who suffered a loss in connection with a purchase from Johnson to file a claim for the loss.

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