PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A clothing manufacturer was at the center of hundreds of complaints from customers after they say they ordered jeans, but never received them. Now the Attorney General's office says the owner has agreed to pay a hefty fine.
The store was called Lawless Denim. It opened in CityScape in downtown Phoenix about two years ago and they also launched a website. The owner, Roman Acevado, admitted to FOX 10 that success came too quickly and they couldn't keep up. What got them in trouble with the AG's office is not only the fact that hundreds of paying customers didn't receive their jeans, but that those customers never got a refund.
When Lawless Denim opened, the orders flowed in. It seemed like a home-grown business success story, but things quickly changed.
"For me, the moral of the story is American made.. almost impossible to do for a small business." That's what Acevado told us last year as complaints piled up at the AG's office. He claimed he couldn't find qualified staff to sew the clothes.
"It is a skill set that is gone. We have shipped it overseas, south of the border and it is really tragic," he said.
Now the AG's office says Lawless Denim violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. When they launched, they received 3,500 orders and collected more than $300,000, but customers ended up waiting six to 12 months. Many never received a refund and as of October 2015, 900 orders remained unfilled, including Greg Morehead's.
"We have been by many times. Weekdays and weekends, mornings, afternoon, evenings and nobody ever answers," he said.
Last November, the owner gave FOX 10 a tour of his downtown Phoenix offices. Hundreds of jeans appeared to be waiting to be shipped. Acevado denied claims that he was scamming his customers.
"You don't invest that kind of money just to run a scam. That is the stupidest scam you could do. You don't spend 100-grand to open a store at CityScape just to run a scam," he said.
As part of the judgment, the company will have to pay $250,000 in fines and fees; however, the Attorney General will suspend the hefty fine if the company furnishes $20,000 to reimburse customers who never received their jeans or a refund. As part of that deal, the company will have to set aside $10,000 for customers who filed complaints with the AG’s office or the Better Business Bureau. Another $10,000 will be earmarked for customers who have not yet filed complaints. The AG’s office asks that customers wanting to be reimbursement file a claim by September 5th. Claims can be filed here: https://www.azag.gov/complaints/consumer.
The AG's office says about a week ago, hundreds of orders remained unfilled. We checked with Morehead and after 2.5 years, he still has no jeans and no refund.