KALAMAZOO, MI – An agreement has been reached with an online business that allegedly violated the Michigan Consumer Protection Act (MCPA) after failing to fulfill online orders for screen-printed T-shirts totaling nearly $38,000 in purchases.
The company advertised that a portion of its sales would be donated to a number of charitable causes; however, no monetary donations have been made to date.
The settlement is with online storefront Inspiring Clothing, and it was reached after the Attorney General’s office sent a cease and desist letter to the owner in September. The signed Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) between the Attorney General’s office and the company resolves the dispute.
“My office remains firmly committed to protecting Michigan residents from being cheated out of their hard-earned money or from paying for products online that never show up at their doorsteps,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “Whether they are operating a major corporate enterprise or a mom-and-pop shop, my office will aggressively enforce Michigan’s consumer protection laws to keep businesses and entrepreneurs honest and to protect Michiganders’ pocketbooks.”
The AVC requires Inspiring Clothing to:
- Provide a $1,000 payment to the Attorney General’s office;
- Cease operations for one year;
- The owner must not partake in any business activities for one year, which includes any attempts to open another business under a different name; and
- In the event additional customers come forward with proof that an order wasn’t fulfilled or refunded, the company must make a $100 payment to that customer along with another $100 to the Attorney General’s office.
More than 100 consumers complained to the Better Business Bureau about Inspiring Clothing. At least 14 of those were Michigan residents. Complaints allege that months went by without communication from the owner and customers were left waiting for their orders to be fulfilled, or to receive refunds.
In mid-June, the business owner provided information to the Attorney General’s office showing nearly 1,000 unfulfilled orders, which totaled nearly $37,950. Several days after the initial contact, investigators followed up with the owner and were told the unfulfilled orders would be shipped to consumers in three to four days. However, the Attorney General’s office received additional complaints in August from consumers who placed orders and were still not receiving their items or refunds, and after following up with customers who made purchases earlier in the year it was discovered that several more had still not received their purchased goods or refunds.
The owner has since confirmed that all outstanding orders have either been fulfilled or refunded in full.