Tacoma/Fife Couch's Appliance and Furnishings, has gone out of business unannounced, leaving questioning customers in its trail.
Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon, and Western Washington has received notice that the company is not answering its calls or responding to its messages. Those who visit the Tacoma/Fife storefront at 5306 Pacific Hwy. South, report that the lights are on, the windows are covered in paper and plastic, and the doors are locked. All that is left is a sign that says "Closed as of 9/30/2009."
Your BBB has attempted to contact the Tacoma/Fife location by phone and in person without success. When phoning Couch's Shoreline location at 206-542-8911, they advise consumers to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.
The Web site, www.couchsappliance.com, now forwards to a 'under construction' message.
BBB offers the following advice on how to verify if a business has closed:
- Use all methods of contact. Try calling, e-mailing, faxing, and sending certified mail to reach someone at the business.
- Visit the location. Look for signs or instructions. Ask neighboring shops if they know how you could contact the owner. If the business has any affiliated locations, try reaching them. The landlord of the building, retail strip or mall may also have contact information.
- Check with the Post Office. See if the company has a forwarding address.
- Verify licensing. Check their registration status with the Department of Revenue or the Secretary of State.
- Contact your BBB or the state Attorney General's office. They may be able to help you determine if the company has officially gone out of business.
If a business is closed and owes you merchandise or a refund, BBB offers the following suggestions:
- If you reach someone at the business: Talk with the store's owner to find out if they will be able to provide the merchandise as promised to those who paid deposits or placed orders. Decide on an arrival date and get it in writing. If not, request a refund. If you made a payment by credit card, you may be able to protect your deposit. Contact your bank or credit card issuer to dispute the transaction and initiate a "chargeback," if the business fails to deliver the merchandise.
- If the business is not acknowledging the issue: File a complaint with Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org and the state Attorney General's office where the business is located.
- If the store has filed for bankruptcy: Consider filing a claim with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court where the business filed for bankruptcy. If the business is able to repay its creditors, you may be able to retain some of your money back.
- If the store has not filed for bankruptcy: You can pursue your claim through the courts or through an attorney; however, collecting a judgment can be very expensive, challenging, and time-consuming.
About your BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington:
Your Better Business Bureau is a not-for-profit organization funded by Better Business Bureau accredited businesses. The BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. For more information about the services and products provided by your BBB, call 206-431-2222 or 253-830-2924 in Washington, 503-212-3022 in Oregon, 907-562-0704 in Alaska, or visit our Web site at www.bbb.org.