KANES FURNITURE FRAUD

The dictionary defines fraud as "deception, deceit or trickery." In a legal sense, it means "an intentional perversion of truth to induce another to part with some valuable thing." I claim that Kanes Furniture is guilty of fraud in both senses. It has used trickery to induce me to part with my money.

The purpose of this site is to tell in a factual way my experience after purchasing furniture at the Sarasota branch of Savon Furniture, a chain of stores in central Florida. Savon is a branch of Kanes Furniture which serves the same area. They claim to be the biggest, fastest growing furniture chain in Florida with stores in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Ocala, Melbourne, Ft Myers and Orlando.

They recently tore down their furniture store in Sarasota, located in a spacious building that appeared to be quite suitable. In its place they have erected a gigantic palace of a store. They seem to have plenty of cash for expansion. After you read what follows, you will have a better idea of where their money comes from.

Here is the letter I sent to the store about the problem:

March 1, 2002

Manager
Savon Furniture
5045 N. Washington Blvd.
Sarasota, Fl 34234

On 12/27/95 I purchased a Klaussner 5905 Napella vinyl sofa for $599 (sales order 1221502WYDD). On 2/23/96, I purchased a matching Klaussner 5905 54" chair for $399 (sales order 0219602AXPO). I used my Sarasota home only three months of the year during the years 1996 through 2001. That means five years times 3 months or 15 months. The sofa is used only about one hour per day.

The chair is not so bad since it has had almost no use, but the sofa looks absolutely atrocious. The surface is flaking off in many places. I am ashamed to have guests in the house. What I thought was a vinyl sofa turns out to be fabric with a cheap vinyl coating that seems to be sprayed on. No furniture should look like this after little more than one year of use.

I was informed by your salesman when I made this expensive purchase that the material was vinyl, implying solid vinyl, not coated fabric. I was also told that it was almost as good as leather. The only labels on these items pertain to the stuffing in the cushions. There is nothing to indicate the material used for the covering. If this is not required by law, it should be.

In view of the above, I expect Savon to replace these two items with something of better quality. I have already contacted the manufacturer, only to get the brush-off.

If you choose not to stand behind the products you sell, I will have no choice but to contact the media in the surrounding area and vent my anger there about what I consider to be fraud. I am surprised that you sell this kind of expensive junk to unsuspecting customers.

D.R.
Sarasota, FL

As expected, my letter was ignored, just as I had been previously ignored by their salesmen when I took a cushion from the defective sofa into the store. That is the reason for the angry tone of my letter. I then called their head office at 727-545-9555 and talked to Jennifer in Customer Relations. She said that there was only a one-year warranty on the product so there was nothing they could do. Of course they could do something. What she obviously meant was that they didn't intend to do anything. She actually had the nerve to say I should have paid for the extended warranty! I said that this was not about warranty. It was about fairness, ethics, keeping customers happy, right vs wrong, and deception. That made no difference.

I then called a family-owned furniture store to get some more information. They told me that this material is called Faux Leather in the business and is only used in the cheapest furniture. FAUX is the french word for FAKE. They, as a family-owned store, would never handle it because of its inferior quality. Of course, there is no leather in it. But many people probably think so as they part with their money. The furniture was made by:

Klaussner Furniture
P.O. Box 60475
Charlotte, NC. 28260

That is where the DECEPTION starts. I learned that Faux Leather is a cheap fabric that is sprayed, yes SPRAYED, with a thin coat of vinyl. Then it is sold just as if was solid vinyl. They obviously know that it will quickly deteriorate. The cushions look like someone has gone over them with a belt sander and ground off most of the vinyl. It starts at the creases first and then spreads over the entire surface.

I have a golf cart with a vinyl seat cover. It has been out in the weather all year for over 10 years. It has gotten a lot of use. Yet, there is no damage visible. THAT is what one expects from quality vinyl. What Klaussner sells is CRAP. What kind of conscience do these people have?

Klaussner puts its label on its good furniture. But there is no label on my furniture identifying its manufacturer. They don't want anyone to know that they produce junk furniture as well as that of better quality. I had to contact the Savon Furniture store to learn where they got it. Does that sound like something an ethical company would do?


Deteriorating sofa.

Suppose you buy a ring that is sold as if made of solid gold and priced accordingly. Then you discover later, as the gold flakes off, that it is only gold-plated. Wouldn't that be deception and fraud? Now suppose you buy a sofa that is sold as if made of solid vinyl and priced accordingly. Then you discover later, as the vinyl flakes off, that is only vinyl-plated. Same deception and fraud. Right? A basis for legal action? Perhaps a basis for a criminal fraud action? I think so.

Kanes Furniture is already under investigation by the Florida Attorney General's office for deceptive advertising. You can verify this by visiting http://legal.firn.edu/units/index.html and clicking on Consumer Investigations. Look for Case No. L0231004. In fact, if you click on Consumer Information, you will find a form to use for filing your own complaint with the Attorney General. The state in early 2002 began investigating hundreds of customer complaints -- the most ever generated by a retailer in Florida, officials said.

You can also visit the Better Business Bureau website and do a search on either Savon Furniture or Kanes Furniture. There you will find the same pattern of complaints for many, if not all, of their stores: Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to unanswered complaint(s). The Bureau has received a pattern of complaints concerning receipt of defective furniture, poor customer service, specifically, failure to return customer telephone calls and delays in receiving replacement of the furniture.

In my files is a letter from a former employee who claims that: My chief complaint is that they stole from me, besides lying to the customers. There is nothing I can do about it because commission sales people have no rights. But I want the public to be aware of the bad business practices they use. For instance, when you buy fabric protection, they don't always spray the fabric. Many of my customers received their furniture in factory packages, so I know they weren't sprayed.

The principals of Kanes Furniture as shown on the BBB site are:

Irwin M. Novak - President
Doug Bravata - Senior V. P.
c/o Kanes Furniture
5700 70th Avenue North
Pinellas Park, FL 33781
Tel: 727-545-9555

Their Website is Kanesfurniture.com.

There are Savon stores in Sarasota, Ft. Myers and Port Charlotte. There are Kanes stores in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, New Port Richey, Brandon, East Tampa, North Tampa, Casselbery, East Orlando, South Orlando, Melbourne and Ocala.

My future plans.

At first, this site will be temporarily placed as a subfolder to the myopia.org site at www.myopia.org/kanesfurniture. This is to give the owner of these stores a chance to examine and comment on it. It is common for reporters to submit their stories to the object of their investigation and ask that it be checked for accuracy. I intend to do the same.

The owner will be given two weeks to reply with their comments by email, fax or letter. If no comments are received during that pre-publication period, this will be considered to be their acceptance of the validity of the content of this Website. Any comments received after that period will be ignored. Once this courtesy phase is over, this Website will then be uploaded to the Host Server under its own domain name and that domain name will then be propagated to the nation's Domain Name Servers. The site will then be submitted to the search engines such as Yahoo, Lycos, Altavista, etc., making this site available to everyone.

In my experience as a Website designer, I have mastered the difficult art of getting top placement on the search engines. As an example, you can type "myopia" into Yahoo.com, the top search engine, and the myopia.org site will appear among the first three on this list. In the popular Google.com, it appears as number one of 88,900 sites that deal with myopia. The same is true for keywords from my other sites. This means that anyone searching for anything involving Kanes Furniture will find my site. The same is true of Savon furniture since a similar site will soon be created for it. The wonder of the Internet is that is gives the downtrodden a worldwide stage to voice their complaints and bring about change. I intend to do just that.

The issue of censorship.

It is not my intention to say anything defamatory on this site, nor to state anything that is not factual. If anyone can show that anything on this site is libelous or not factual, it will be removed at once. However, as a basis for their claim of potential libel, they will need to back up their claim with a detailed citing of the relevant statutes. Everything on this Website is my own opinion or merely states the facts. In order to prove defamation, it is necessary to be able to prove that what is said or written is false. If the information is true, you do not have a case. If the truth hurts, it's your own fault.

In a country which guarantees free speech, I have as much right to tell about my experiences on the Internet as I would in talking to a newspaper reporter who published the story in a newspaper or to a TV consumer advocate who told the story on television. The advantage to telling the story on the Internet is obviously that it is available to millions of people and will remain there in public view FOREVER.

Because of the First Amendment free speech aspects of this issue, I have been in touch with the headquarters of the American Civil Liberties Union. They have expressed a great interest in this matter and I will be keeping them fully informed as events unfold.

The Internet has brought true free speech to the world. Why? Because a person in another country, whether an acquaintance of mine or a stranger, can download the text and graphics from these pages and upload them to a host server in yet a third country in less time than it takes to read this page. So, even if there was a way to silence me (which there isn't), the Web presence would continue because the files would be far from the influence of any Florida court, and the restraint I have shown so far in my choice of words could be ignored completely. Censorship is dead.

More horror stories can be found at The Complaint Station.

We recently received an enlightening letter from a former employee: Sorry to hear about your dealings with Kanes. They treated their employees even worse than they treated their customers. Several employees called the Labor Board but with no help given. The true 53 year owners are the Rothmann Family (wonderful people) but they allow their nephew-in-law, Irwin Novak, to run the place. He is an accountant by trade. The Sales VP is Doug Bravata who has no contact with customers. Doug has had his tires slashed 3-4 times with the rumors saying it was staff related. Irwin has tight security at the Pinellas Park Headquarters with no one being able to access his office area due to past customer and employee confrontations. Irwin oversees refunds and monitors the exchanges that the managers schedule to resolve problems. Many times customers would be told the refund check takes 10 days to process. It was still sitting on Irwin's desk 4 weeks later, canceled because he did not think the customer should receive a refund. The manager's hands are tied. If the manager OKs an exchange, and the customer is told a delivery date, the day would arrive and the customer would call to check a delivery time. Magically the exchange was canceled. It happened daily!! My life improved dramatically when I left that hellhole.

The real reason I am writing you is to give you more info on your "vinyl." It sounds like the brand name, Finne Pella. I first sold it in the early '90's up north. This is the info I know about it. It is not a vinyl because there are no plasticizers in it. It has a fabric back so they consider it a cloth. It is not eligible for an extended warranty because the only cloth warranty for sale is "stainguard". The chemicals in stainguard would actually melt the Finne Pella. It has the look and feel of leather without the price. It also "breathes" like leather so you do not stick to it like vinyl. I noticed in the showroom the corners would rub off as well.

Good luck with your fight. I know a lot of customers and employees who lost a lot of time, money and health to the Kanes Chaos.

For information on Kane's role in corrupting our government, see Florida's Sixth Circuit Court by Wesley Fager.

For information on Manny Gonzalez's fight with Kane's, see Manny Gonzalez.

Another customer recently wrote to www.complaints.com about furniture problems. Read that story Here.

And at consumeraffairs.com/rogues.htm they have added Kanes to their Rogues Gallery of especially bad businesses.

The above events are the reason that this web site was created. I believe that this kind of fraud should be exposed to public view. I welcome letters from other unhappy customers so that this site will continue to grow. There must be thousands of people who have been victimized in this way. Send us an email.

Email
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