Customers Claim Furniture Never Delivered
December 15, 2006 (WPVI) -- It may be the case of "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is," or it could be something more insidious.
The company in question claims it will get the government to pay half for your furniture.
Annette Roberts lives on a tight budget.
"I've been struggling and I'm still struggling. I can't get nothing to go my way," said Roberts.
So the national low-income furniture program better known as LIFP intrigued Annette.
"And when they said they pay half and you pay half, I thought that was a dream come true," she said.
Appropriate, considering the company that runs the program in Philadelphia is named Dreamway.
"It's a federal government, federal program," said store manager Angie Martinez, "It's a nonprofit organization."
Annette paid $700 to LIFP for the furniture.
"This receipt is dated August of 2003. This was three years ago," she said. "I haven't heard or gotten anything yet."
"We had a number of complaints in the past from a company called Dreamway Furniture, where they actually took deposits on layaway and then disappeared without giving consumers their furniture," said Lance Haver, director of Philadelphia Consumer Affairs.
Dreamway is now located on Hancock Street in North Philadelphia, but has had five other addresses in the past three years!
Non-profits are required to be certified with the Internal Revenue Service.. The IRS tells us it has no record of LIFP as a tax-exempt organization. Action News could not find any government agency that's even heard of the program.
"What it probably is, is a scam to lure people, to mislead people, to overcharge people under the pretense of a government program," said Haver.
"My customers (are) happy. Everybody's happy with the program," said Abel Rodriguez, the CEO of Dreamway Industries Inc.
Rodriguez also claims his for-profit company, Dreamway, is an entity separate from LIFP.
You can watch our interview with Rodriguez by watching our story on the video player on this page.
Philadelphia's Consumer Affairs director is filing a request to revoke Dreamway and LIFP's business license, which would effectively shut down the operation.
He is also asking Pennsylvania's Attorney General to prosecute.
We'll keep you updated
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