A Stafford family is shivering and shaking with anger after the company they paid hundreds of dollars for firewood has failed to deliver.
The business owner admits he is nearly two months behind schedule, but so far he's not offering a refund, only excuses.
"Now we are caught in cold weather without our firewood, which we paid $400 in cash for. No delivery in sight,” said Elizabeth Rhoades.
She said the trouble started when she and her husband Kevin spotted a sign on Route 140 in Ellington.
They needed four cords of seasoned wood and agreed to pay the man who made the sign, Joe Willis, $800 for it.
“He asked us for a $400 cash deposit up front which we don't normally do, but he said we could sign a document that would guarantee delivery,” Rhoades said.
The contract spells out the delivery would happen by the end of September, but he we are in mid-November and the family still has not received a single piece of wood.
Rhoades said Willis has only offered excuses instead.
Channel 3 spoke with Willis over the phone. He said an injury, followed by October’s storms, and a driver shortage have contributed to the delay, and that he plans to drop off Rhoades’ wood by Wednesday, but the issue may impact dozens of other families.
In a text last Monday, Willis wrote to Rhoades’ husband saying “I’m trying my best. I assure you, you are one of 50 customers needing your wood."
The Department of Consumer Protection said nobody has filed a complaint against Willis, but when Rhoades asked if she could just get her deposit back, Willis texted saying "all deposits are invested and tied up in wood supplies and I must move wood in order to refund.”
So, for now the family is out $400 and unless the wood arrives soon they'll suffer through a long cold winter.
“This man stole our money from us because he hasn’t given us the item that we paid for,” Rhoades said.
Anyone who needs to file a complaint with the Department of Consumer email DCP.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860-713-6300.
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