CHALMETTE, LA (WVUE) - Consumers flooded the FOX 8 Defenders with complaints following our furniture store fallout investigation. More than a dozen people have reached out to us by phone, email and through social media, and what's disturbing - it appears there's a pattern of problems with this local business.
"How can they leave 'em keep doing that to people?" asked Gladys Philip of New Orleans.
That was the 88-year-old's reaction to our FOX 8 Defenders investigation into Hamilton Enterprises in Chalmette. In it, we showed how three New Orleans-area families paid thousands of dollars for furniture and waited more than seven months for delivery. In one case, a consumer has waited nearly two years.
"I don't want nobody taking advantage of me," Philip said.
In October 2012, Philip made a $484 down payment to Hamilton Enterprises for a sofa and love seat. Months later, she got a delivery, but says it wasn't what she ordered.
"It was brown. Mine had red, and they sent me a brown, and if you had seen it, you wouldn't want it in your house," Philip said.
A letter from Hamilton Enterprises in 2013 from Lisa Hamilton acknowledges the "incorrect sofa set." It goes on to say, "As soon as we can get the set shipped in the correct color, we would swap the set."
Philip said the delivery drivers wouldn't take the incorrect furniture back.
"They left that set here about six months before they came and got it. Every time I'd go down there and ask [David Hamilton] about coming and getting that set, he'd say, 'use it,'" Philip said.
But Philip said she insisted that they take it back. She told us she never got the correct set, but every month, the bill for financing arrived without delay, causing her blood pressure to spike.
The financing company stopped hitting her with the bills, but she never got a refund from Hamilton Enterprises for her nearly $500 down payment. Fine print at the bottom of her Hamilton receipt says a 15 percent restocking fee will be assessed on any seller approval returns, exchanges or cancellations.
But Philip asked, "How he's gonna restock when he never got it?"
Hamilton Enterprises owner David Hamilton acknowledged that the manufacturer shipped her set with the wrong fabric, and even though she had the incorrect set, they still kicked in her financing. David Hamilton tells us the correct set came in a year later in 2013, but after that long delay, Philip didn't want it.
In Kenner, Anthony Gibson said he paid in full for his order - two bedroom sets and a flat-screen TV - from Hamilton Enterprises in May of 2015. Gibson said he was promised his furniture would arrive the next week, but it wasn't until last week, in November, that a delivery crew showed up to his home with the last part of his total order. Like Gladys Philip, Gibson said it wasn't exactly what he ordered.
Instead of a black bedroom set, Gibson received one that was dark brown.
"Every week it was a different day or a different situation why we didn't get our furniture," Gibson said.
David Hamilton claims Gibson changed his order over the summer, and one of his bedroom sets was on back order.
An update to our story posted on Nov. 5: David Hamilton assured us that Crystal Baldwin, who's waited nine months for her order, was on schedule to get her delivery this week. Baldwin and the Justice of the Peace confirm that never happened. As for another customer, Janet Biggs, who's waited 21 months, Hamilton explained that her set was Italian and handcrafted, and there were delays with the fabric. He assured us it would be here by Nov. 25, but like many customers, she wants a refund. Biggs hasn't heard from the Hamilton's in months.
To file a complaint with the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office, call 504-271-2501 or go to 4700 Paris Rd. in Chalmette. Also, the LA Attorney General's office urges anyone who may be a victim of an unfair business practice to report it to the consumer protection section by calling the hotline at 1-800-351-4889.
If you have a consumer complaint, call the FOX 8 Defenders at 1-877-670-6397, fill out our online complaint form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.