Mass AG’s office helping customers following abrupt closure of Nate Lion’s

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WLNE) – Nate Lion’s Appliance World in Fall River abruptly closed up shop last week, leaving customers at a loss. Now, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has stepped in to help.

Attorney General Maura Healey’s office tells us they’ve received 32 complaints so far from people who said they paid for appliances and now can’t get them.

We spoke to the Better Business Bureau who told us they’re also getting complaints about the business.

“The Better Business Bureau has received calls from upset consumers,” said spokesperson Paula Fleming.

Both the AG’s office and the Bureau are urging people to contact their credit card companies to dispute the charges.

“Being the holidays and a stressful time as it is, to have a business close down, whether it is a warranty issue or financial issue, it’s extremely sad,” said Fleming.

The Bureau passed on these tips ahead of making any big purchases this holiday season:

  • Do research on the business before making a purchase
  • Don’t put down the full amount, only around 20% of the price
  • Don’t use cash or check, always use a credit card

They also shared what to do as a consumer when a business suddenly closes and you’ve yet to receive purchased items or services:

  • Collect receipts, proofs of purchase and any other documents such as warranties and manuals. These materials will help you prepare for your request for a resolution.
  • Check with the bank or credit card you used to make the purchase(s) at the now-closed company. You may be able to dispute the transaction(s) due to failure to receive goods or services.
  • Try to contact the company to complete the transaction or resolve the issue. Some closed companies will offer an email, website or phone number to contact for more information.
  • If the company has not filed for bankruptcy, the business is still obligated to fulfill your order for goods, services or a refund. Closing a business doesn’t relieve the owner of that responsibility. While it can be a time-consuming and expensive option, a consumer may choose to take the company to court. 
  • If you have a warranty for an item you bought at the store, look into whether the warranty was issued by the manufacturer or by the store. If the manufacturer issued the warranty, it will most likely honor it. When a company goes out of business, its warranties and services often die with it, unless other agreements have been made.

We spoke to the attorney representing Nate Lion’s, David Madoff, who said the company intends to file for bankruptcy next week, and when they do, customers can file claims.

Madoff said it’s not just the customers who are upset, but the owners are too, as the business has been around for a long time and this “crept up on them quickly”.

He said an online auction is scheduled for December 3, and the company intends to file for bankruptcy once the auction is complete. He said the showroom pieces will be auctioned off as collateral for Bristol County Savings Bank.

Click here for the auctioneer’s website.

© WLNE-TV 2019