Lawsuits filed against chain of children's furniture stores

Friday, May 05, 2006

Five lawsuits have been filed against a Chicago-area chain of children's furniture stores. Customers of 'My Child's Room' say they are not getting their furniture and, in some cases, their deposits have not been returned.

'My Child's Room' has five stores in the Chicago area. The company says it is working to rectify the problems, but there are a lot of unhappy customers. At least 100 families are waiting for their orders. In some cases, their babies have arrived before the furniture did.

Jeannie Salerno is expecting a baby boy in July. Five weeks after the furniture was due, her son's room is still empty. She cancelled her order and is still waiting for her deposit back of $1,400.

"We've been trying to get pregnant for years, first off. To find out we were was so wonderful. We're like let's go and get furniture, we're going early, come on, let's go looking," said Jeannie Salerno, My Child's Room Customer. "I thought it would be a happier time and it wouldn't have to come down to something like this."

Salerno ordered six pieces from 'My Child's Room' in Arlington Heights. It's the same store Cook County sheriff's deputies were poised to evict on Wednesday, but the landlord told deputies he had already taken possession.

On Friday, the store's assistant manager said someone at the corporate office would be able to comment on unfilled orders and unreturned deposits. At 'My Child's Room' corporate office in Elmhurst someone was unloading a truck, but no one would come to the doors.

The Better Business Bureau says there have been 100 complaints about My Child's Room in the last year and five lawsuits have been filed against the company in Cook County this year.

Cheryl Cousins filed one of those suits. She ordered a bunk bed and a computer desk for her five and six-year-old boys at the downtown Chicago store.

"They asked me on a weekly basis, 'Mommy, when am I getting my desk? Mommy, when am I getting my bunk beds?' They came to the store with me and helped pick out the furniture," said Cheryl Cousins, My Baby's Room Customer.

When the wrong color was delivered, she reordered last July. She says she has not seen the furniture or her $1,400 deposit and she hasn't gotten any answers.

"I think they should have been up front and honest with me. Whatever problem they had, they should have let me know and given me my money back at that time," said Cousins.

'My Child's Room' operations manager says, "New financing was secured yesterday and orders are in to the vendors." He also said, "Goods will be flowing next week and refunds will be given in the next week."

The customers ABC7 spoke with are skeptical. They say they have heard reassurances before.

"I'll believe it when I see it. And I won't believe it before I see the check in my hand," said Cousins.

"I think they don't care. Because if I go in there or let alone someone else for that matter that's having children, how could you not at least call someone back?," said Salerno.

My Child's Room operations manager was unsure of the exact number of families waiting for orders. He estimated around 100, but said there may be more. He says the company has reduced its staff at corporate headquarters to reduce costs and that is why their response to customers has been delayed. They have also closed the downtown store to save money. He also tells us rumors of the store being sold are not true, they instead got more credit to deliver on current orders and buy new merchandise.

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