SEATTLE – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced a settlement with PeoplePeople, resolving allegations that the Vashon-based company failed to deliver merchandise, issue refunds or respond to consumer inquiries in a timely manner. The company agreed to contact previous customers and provide refunds to those who request them.
PeoplePeople sells cheese, candles and posters online. The company conducts business under approximately two dozen names and markets products on multiple Web sites including www.discountcandleshop.com, www.cheesepeople.com, www.cheesesupply.com and www.postersupply.com.
The Attorney General’s Office sued the company and its president, Andrew Edmond, in King County Superior Court last April, alleging multiple violations of the Consumer Protection Act.
In a stipulated judgment filed this week, PeoplePeople agreed to pay $116,000 in civil penalties, with all but $3,305 suspended on compliance with the settlement terms. The company will also pay nearly $16,500 in attorneys’ costs and fees.
PeoplePeople will provide restitution to 105 customers nationwide who have filed complaints. In addition, the company will send an e-mail to all prior customers asking them to contact the company if they have not been entirely satisfied with a purchase. The company will provide refunds to those consumers who request them within two weeks of receiving the request.
The Attorney General’s Office began receiving complaints about PeoplePeople in late 2003. Among the allegations: failure to deliver purchased items, respond to consumer complaints or issue refunds; failure to honor cancellation requests; and charging a 15 percent restocking fee for returned orders even if customers received broken merchandise or a wrong or late order.
According to the agreement, the defendants assert that they have experienced minor, yet persistent, problems with order processing and shipping and admitted that in some cases they did not take reasonable steps to correct those problems.
Customers who believe they are entitled to a refund should file a written complaint with the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division online at ww.atg.wa.gov or call 1-800-551-4636 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays.
- 30 –
Media Contacts: Kristin Alexander, Public Information Officer, (206) 464-6432
Paula Selis, Assistant Attorney General, (206) 464-7662