Appliance store closes, customers left fuming

ABC7 I-Team Investigation

Jason Knowles Image
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Appliance store closes, customers left fuming
Customers in several area suburbs are fuming after an appliance chain shut down before delivering their products.

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- Customers in several area suburbs are fuming after an appliance chain shut down before delivering their products.

They paid several thousand dollars for new appliances, but those products are nowhere to be found.

All six of the company's area appliance stores abruptly closed last month, their Facebook and web pages are down.

At the Grant's Appliances, Electronics and More headquarters in Joliet, several customers from many of the company's six area stores showed the I-Team receipts saying they paid anywhere from $500 to almost $10,000 to the appliance retailer. They say they had to pay in full before anything was ordered.

DOCUMENT: Letter to Grant's Appliances customers

"I paid around $1,400," said George Speropulos.

"I paid about $6,000 in cash," Mohammad Abukharmireh said.

But after 90 years in business, customers recently saw signs that read "Temporarily closed for inventory" at all of the locations in Joliet, Aurora, Downers Grove, Orland Park and Merrillville, Indiana. Phones have been disconnected.

"Ever since I have been a homeowner, I have been buying appliances from them since 1962, when I first bought my first house," Marion Fuller said.

Barbara Daley says she got $1,000 reversed on her debit card, but she also wrote a check which got cashed for $8,000.

"I am very upset because I am retired, I rehabbed a whole condo, spent a lot of money and now I had to go take money out of my IRA for appliances," she said.

The I-Team stopped by the listed addresses for the Chairman of the Board and the President and CEO, George Olsen.

But Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office tells the I-Team that it is sending a letter to almost 40 people who have complained about the closures. The AG's office says:

  • Grant's Appliance closed because of financial difficulties.
  • Creditors forced the local chain to turn over its assets.
  • Grant's is undergoing an "assignment for benefit of creditors," which is similar to a bankruptcy.

Assets will be handed over to what's called an "assignee" and then everything will eventually be distributed to creditors and consumers.

"It's devastating, it is completely devastating," Pat Cabanaugh said. "I am trying to rehab a home and I have no appliances. I need to go on the market in the next couple of weeks and I have to go out and repurchase appliances."

Consumers can file a claim with the assignee, but they will most likely have to wait a while to get a potential refund. The attorney general's office says there are no guarantees that all or any of their money will be returned.

If you paid Grant's Appliances and never got your product, you can get more information here or call the Illinois or Indiana Attorney's General Office.

The best thing you can do to protect yourself when making a big purchase is to use a credit card. That charge can easily be disputed and reversed.