A Florida woman ordered special chairs to bring her husband comfort during his battle with cancer. But, months later, she still had no chairs. She decided to Turn to 10 for help.

"In sickness and health" -- Those are words Ruth Ann and Robert Millhouse lived by for 54 years.

After Robert was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, Ruth Ann wanted to do her best to make sure he was as comfortable as possible.

"He was undergoing chemo, and it didn't work, so we had a lot of stress," Ruth Ann explained.

Hoping to relieve some of that stress, she decided to order custom chairs that were easier for Robert to get in and out of.

"He wanted the chair because he was not comfortable in the La-Z-Boy anymore," Ruth Ann said. "He thought that would give him some comfort."

The chairs were ordered on June 8, 2018. Ruth Ann paid Lee's Furniture in Sebring $909.25 -- half the price of the custom chairs. Two months later, in August, Ruth Ann says she still had no chairs.

"In August, I called, and they said it will probably be a couple more weeks," Ruth Ann explained. "Well, at the end of August, I still hadn't heard anything from them. And, I called again, and they said the material was on backorder."

The receipt from Lee's Furniture states backorders will take approximately 3 to 10 weeks. September came and went and still no chairs. Then, in October, Robert took a turn for the worse.

"At the end of October, my husband went into hospice. I quit calling, I didn't make any contact because he was sick," Ruth Ann said.

Robert passed away in November. It was the day after their 54th wedding anniversary.

Store policy states all sales are final. But, after nearly six months with no chairs and Robert no longer with her, Ruth Ann says she no longer had any need for the chairs. She went to the furniture store in December to ask for a refund.

"They did issue me a refund. And, he said they would send it to the company, and it would take 3 weeks," she explained.

"Well, I started calling in January because I hadn't heard anything. I called the 4th. I called the 24th," she said. "Still, they didn't call me back."

10Investigates called Lee's Furniture and spoke with a manager who told us all sales are final. The manager told 10Investigates the receipt Ruth Ann was issued was for a "refund request" not a "refund". 

The manager also told us when the furniture was complete, they offered to deliver it, but Ruth Ann denied delivery. But, Ruth Ann says she never thought it would take this long for the chairs to be completed; now she just wants her money back.

"There's no reason to wait that long without somebody calling at least once and saying the company we're dealing with is a little slow, and it might take a little bit longer," she said.

10Investigates explained Ruth Ann's circumstances, and the furniture company has agreed to give Ruth Ann her $900 deposit back.

Be very careful to read any contract before you sign it. By signing, you are agreeing to everything listed in that contract. There are several other things you can check for before signing a contract. 

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Tips to Remember

The Better Business Bureau says keep these tips in mind:

  • Take some time to read through the contract thoroughly. Don’t feel pressured into signing the contract on the spot. For the most part, a reputable seller will be comfortable with your need to take some time to review the contract. 
  • Read the fine print. The scope of a contract is usually written as “Terms and Conditions.” A lot of minute details can be buried in this section. It’s what’s covered, and more importantly, what’s not covered by the contract. Take time to consider the “best case scenario” and the “worst-case scenario” outlined in the contract. If you can live with the latter, you’re in good shape. If not, you might consider having an attorney look over the contract for you. If that sounds worse than living with the “worst-case scenario,” reconsider the reason you’re signing the contract in the first place.
  • Don’t believe anything you hear, unless you see it in writing. Insist that all verbal promises are included in the contract. Trying to prove what someone said, after the fact, is extremely difficult.  A contract can only cover what’s included, not what’s implied.
  • Get a copy of anything you sign. Was the balance due upon completion or by 30 days? Was the installation to be performed by a subcontractor or the contractor? Keeping a copy of the contract allows you to look back on the agreement and check the details. It’s also the only proof you have that you have an agreement.

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