Washington-based online store failed to deliver orders or issue refunds
KENNEWICK – An online company that sells home décor for children’s bedrooms must refund consumers nationwide under a settlement with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. The Attorney General’s Office announced an agreement today with Storybook Lane, of Kennewick, Wash., and its owner Teryl Cooper that resolves allegations the business failed to deliver orders, issue refunds and respond to customer inquiries.
“Because consumers don’t have the opportunity to communicate face-to-face with online retailers, it is especially important for these companies to provide good customer service,” said Senior Counsel Paula Selis, who heads up the Consumer Protection High-Tech Unit for the Attorney General’s Office. “Failing to deliver products, issue timely refunds or respond to customer concerns isn’t just bad for business; it’s a violation of state consumer protection laws.”
Under a consent decree filed today in Benton County Superior Court, Storybook Lane and Cooper agreed to refund all consumers who paid for orders they never received or who were unable to receive a refund for returned merchandise. The settlement identifies 53 specific consumers who are owed refunds and the Attorney General’s Office believes there may be other eligible consumers in Washington or other states.
Storybook Lane sells children’s furniture, bedding, art, nightlights, costumes and other items online at www.storybooklane.com. The state’s complaint, also filed today, accused the company of violating Washington’s Consumer Protection Act.
The settlement prevents Storybook Lane from doing any of the following:
- Charging consumers’ credit cards before orders have been shipped,
- Failing to deliver merchandise,
- Failing to notify consumers via e-mail on the date their orders have been shipped,
- Failing to respond to consumer inquiries within 48 hours,
- Making other misrepresentations or failing to comply with laws regarding mail and telephone sales.
The defendants will pay $6,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs. They also agreed to pay $60,000 in civil penalties, suspended provided they comply with the agreement. The settlement does not include an admission or finding of wrongdoing.
Consumers who paid for orders they never received or who were unable to receive a refund for returned merchandise are eligible for refunds from Storybook Lane. Under the settlement, Storybook Lane will contact all customers who have filed complaints with any state Attorney General, Better Business Bureau office or the company concerning purchases made since 2004. Consumers will be contacted initially by e-mail; those who don’t respond will also be contacted by mail.
Consumers who believe they are eligible for refunds can file a complaint with the Washington Attorney General’s Office online. For more information about the refund program, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Resource Center between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays at 1-800-551-4636 (within Washington) or 206-464-6811(nationwide).
[UPDATE - April 2011]: Storybook Lane violated the terms of its 2008 settlement by failing to deliver orders, issue refunds and respond to customer inquiries. A stipulated judgment was entered on April 12, 2011, in which the defendants were ordered to pay a $5,000 civil penalty and an additional $15,000 in attorneys’ fees. They were also ordered to refund customers for merchandise they returned or never received.
Eligible consumers should file a consumer complaint on the Washington Attorney General’s Web site at /file-complaint and request a refund. Consumers who have submitted complaints to the Attorney General’s Office of any state or a Better Business Bureau do not have to submit new documentation, unless requested.
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Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager, (206) 464-6432