Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

York Furniture pays penalty over false advertising

December 6, 2016

As published by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle on December 2, 2016.

York Furniture Centers Inc. of Henrietta has reached a settlement with New York for engaging in deceptive sales tactics last summer.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Thursday that York has paid $10,000 in civil penalties and forfeited $500 to the town of Henrietta for an application it was required to obtain.

On July 12, 2016, York began advertising a five-day going-out-of-business sale that stated “warehouse closing,’’ that “all stock is limited to quantities on hand,’’ and that “all sales are final.”

In fact, the attorney general’s investigation showed, the sale lasted throughout July and that York was not closing the warehouse but simply reducing its size in order to rent out unneeded space. York also took orders for new furniture and received shipments after the sale began, therefore stock was not limited to that already on hand.

Making false statements in advertising is in violation of state General Business Law.  Going-out-of-business sales often mean stores are selling off inventory for bargain prices but laws have been enacted to guard against customers making purchases under false pretenses.

The town of Henrietta contacted the Attorney General’s Office to report that York had failed to obtain a license to conduct its sale, which is also required by law. A “cease and desist” letter was sent asking York to modify its advertisements to reflect the true nature of the sale, from “closing” to “consolidation.”

The consolidation sale lasted three months, more than enough time to reduce inventory, Schneiderman said. York agreed to end the sale.

“This settlement should serve as a warning to businesses out there that attempt to deceive and manipulate the public,” Schneiderman said. “Business owners who use dishonest practices will be held fully accountable.”