Friday, May 31, 2013

Do you have questions for Carolina Farmhouse?

Well...here's your chance to ask.  I wrote a blog a couple of days ago HERE about the attorney that is working with Carolina Farmhouse that you can reach out to.

I am working with John (the attorney) to gather your questions to be answered by him.  He has asked me to trust him (a big thing with me right now..and he realizes that's a lot to ask for)....  He said he is willing to build that trust and that is by creating open communication and willing to answer questions openly and honestly.  Keep in mind that there are some questions that may not be able to be answered, and if not I am certain John will try his best to give you a reason why. 

So...  If you have any questions (and don't be shy...ask the hard ones) you'd like to have answered, you can either email me at lfern74@gmail.com or you can leave them in the comment section.  I will compile them and send them to John. 

Once we have a good list of questions (I've sent some to him already from myself and others), I will do a FAQ blog post. 

We are hoping that this will give everyone some answers to the questions that haven't been answered.  And, a chance for you to get a better understanding. 

I look forward to hearing from you!
~Lynn

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A little information - Carolina Farmhouse (Attorney Info)

First & foremost let me make it clear that the reason I started writing on my blog about Carolina Farmhouse was for informational & educational purposes only.  I never wanted to turn my blog into a place to rant about this mess.

As a matter of fact it took a lot for me to write about it and I tossed it around for many days before I did.  But, as time went on and we were having more & more issues I came here to write about our experiences. And, yes it happens to be a pretty big part of our journey.  So it is just that - our opinion and experience that we (The Ferns) have endured.  As time went by I started having more & more people either comment or send me an email about what they were/are going through.  I had spent a ton of my time, time that I don't get paid for nor can I get that time back, doing research on what our (meaning my husband & I) options were.  We are customers shouldn't we have some sort of protection too and a right to share our experience with others!?!  I wasn't getting any responses from Carolina Farmhouse regarding delivery.  And, it wasn't until we went to someone higher up (filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau) to get them to see we were seriously concerned.

The more of Carolina Farmhouse customers that came to me asking what were we doing, what could they do, was there anything that could be done.  Let me tell ya folks there are lots of people out there mad, angry, hurt, upset and simply devastated that they trusted Sam & Kelly Utt-Grubb with their money and to have a product delivered. 

So I put together the information I had with were to file a complaint, who to call, etc.  I also said if you are going through this situation to contact me.  The reason behind that was so I could pass along the information via email because some of the customers wanted to remain private.  I've already spent my precious time gathering so why not save someone else the time and some of the frustration.  There were many people that didn't know that they could file a complaint through the Attorney General's office. 

Am I passionate about this?  So to speak - yes!  Why?  I feel awful and sad for those that are going through this as well....  I believe in helping others and you know honestly I went to bed many nights sick to my stomach.  I have lost sleep over knowing I had been so nice, patient and cheered on this company, and to think that they have my money knowing that we had lost everything prior...many conversations was about our gratefulness that they were giving back to not only us but to others...my heart falls to the pit of my stomach.  I don't get it, I don't understand nor can I wrap my head or heart around understanding why or how.  I don't want to lose faith in people or small businesses.  And, I don't believe I am alone in feeling a range of emotions.  Not many people have the money to just go buy another table or bedroom set that they've already paid in full for.  I also believe that the tone some of us were receiving when just simply trying to get answers made us all a little more edgy about the entire ordeal.  I certainly believe in the way you treat others is the way you will be treated in return.  I am also certain that had things been more upfront & honest you'd see a lot less negativity floating around....of course this is all my opinion and how I view mine & my husbands situation.  So am I passionate about this...most definitely. 

The bottom line is we just want our money back ASAP so we can just move on.  I am tired of wasting any more of my time on Carolina Farmhouse.  It is something I want to be completely done with!

CAROLINA FARMHOUSE...Attorney Update

On a positive note they are working with an attorney that I am sincerely hoping is here to help straighten this out.  I had a lengthy conversation with him last week, and he is willing to talk to those that are going through any of this.  He gave me permission to provide his email address here.  John Szymankiewicz john@jslawcenter.com

I am no longer working with or conversing with anyone at Carolina Farmhouse.  I am directing all of my questions and inquiries directly to Mr.  Szymankiewicz.

If you feel you need to have any questions answered regarding your situation, please contact Mr. Szymankiewicz.  He was a pleasure to speak with, and he answered all of the questions I had. 

I hope this information helps.

~Lynn

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Well worth the wait.. Our new dining room table!! Stable Tables ROCKS!

With all the trouble we've had with Carolina Farmhouse, we were hesitant on purchasing through another small business.  But, we are so happy and beyond thrilled that we didn't let Carolina Farmhouse detour us. 

I starting looking around for a table and an island at the beginning of April when I knew we needed to shift gears.  I was more browsing trying to figure out our options.  I found several places, talk to several different owners, and just was still a little shy about moving forward.  I did find one table that I fell in love with, but it didn't come with leaves which we really wanted.  I was on Facebook one evening when one of my absolute favorite places, Philadelphia Salvage Co., posted a picture of a table that they had supplied reclaimed wood to a guy that builds tables.  I was nosey and snooped around and clicked on the Facebook page of Stable Tables.

And, then went to his website - http://www.tablesbenches.com/



I immediately loved the tables that John Duffy was building.  I was drawn to his work instantly.  Have you ever come across someone that you feel drawn to without ever meeting them...you feel a sense of "this is a good person"?  I emailed him, and he called me in no time. 

A stunning table that is in the Showroom.  And, a really cool cheese block on top!!  


I told him what I was wanting, sent him a few pictures of our space.  I ordered last Thursday (a week ago today)....I went and picked up this beauty YESTERDAY!  Not even a full week and my sweet gorgeous table was ready!!  Just like that...Easy as sweet apple pie :)




There is a story behind the wood he uses because he uses TRUE reclaimed wood. Our table - the top was made from salvaged barn flooring (not sure from where).  If the barn was built in the 1800's, chances are good that the original tree was growing before the American Revolution! The skirt was from re-sawn beams from a factory in Philadelphia.  The legs are old porch legs that who knows how old they are, I think they are  nothing short of awesome!

I just think that alone is so very cool.  John & his brother-in-law Roger works together and I couldn't say enough nice things.  John takes care of customers providing the true small business attitude "I am happy to have your business"...he made small talk, loads of energy, smiling.  Gosh all I can say is what a pleasure it was to meet & do business with John at Stable Tables.  He even gave me a homemade cheese block!  I picked out the hickory block and I love it. 

If you are looking for a beautiful custom made table, you will not be anything but satisfied with Stable Tables.  They also build other custom pieces of furniture.

I simply can't wait to host many parties/dinners with our family and friends where we can sit around this amazing table that was built from the hands of a true artisan (It is 8 foot long with 2 20" leaves...I think we can host many people around this beaut)!!  There will be years of memory making sitting right here -





Thank you John & Roger for a truly stunning table!!!  May you be blessed :)

A very happy Fern Family!!

~Lynn



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

An organized pantry...

We have been a little preoccupied here on Fern Avenue.  Last week we ran out and purchased items to finish the pantry.

When we first moved in we just put in a couple of pieces of furniture that included a bookshelf to hold our stuff like food, treats, baking supplies, etc.

But, I thought we needed to go forth and add the pantry project to the list now...not that we didn't have enough projects on the list or not that it wasn't good enough.  I just knew it is a big project that if we didn't go ahead and tackle... Well it'd probably still be on the list a year from now...or two.

Friday we had Katie's trike-a-thon and we all went to watch her.  It started out a little chilly and drizzling.  But...I just love these girls.
Zuzu Bear watching and cheering on her sister :)

Doing her thing....  We decided after this she is a tad too big for this bike.



By the time we got home, I had a few other errands and order of business to take care of.  I went to lunch with my daddy..very important :)

Saturday morning we got up first thing and went to work on pulling everything out of the pantry so the install could begin..






Ok..this really is just a teaser as I still have just a little painting left to do.  But I am really enjoying the outcome :)

I get to go pick up our new dining table tomorrow so no painting, but I promise by the weekend I will be bringing the full reveal.

~Lynn

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Carolina Farmhouse - update (false advertisement?)

UPDATE:
One of the customers I've been in contact with is from Florida.  She was told back in January that the table was in production and going along well! And then the story was my piece was going on a truck coming to Florida and he needed to complete this big table they were building for a the Rum Barrel in Key West.  She contacted Rum Barrel and was told they knew nothing of it.  I emailed Rum Barrel last night (5/17/13) and was told by their General Manager that they have nothing to do with Carolina Farmhouse and they've received several calls regarding the same.

Isn't that considered false advertisement to possibly boost your business?  Kinda scary that this is who we have been dealing with!



I am trying to gather my thoughts surrounding all of the things that have been going on with Carolina Farmhouse. 

No matter how you spin things, it just ain't right folks.  I will say this...had this been a small local business that got in trouble due to things that were out of their control, been completely upfront and honest with me....I'd be working in every single way possible to see that we resolved this to help them out and peacefully.  I support small business and love to see them thrive, but these sort of actions give so many other small mom & pop shops bad names.  It makes me second guess buying from a small family owned business now.  And, that alone makes me sad.

We have had story after story told to us of people fighting to get their money refunded or furniture fixed.  We have people that have contacted us with their experiences dealing with Carolina Farmhouse -
1. can't get a response to even know what is going on,
2. someone that they tried to bribe to write a good review, and the boards on the table they purchased were warped, and the poor customer had to drive over an hour to pick up the table when they told her they'd be delivering it
3. a couple that was bullied and threatened with a libel lawsuit
4. a family that received extremely poor quality furniture that has worked for many months to get a refund.  They actually received a portion of their money back on a buffet they had purchased. It had one leg shorter than the other, the drawer panels on the inside hadn't even been stained.  Carolina Farmhouse asked for the buffet back.  After they picked it up, they fixed it within hours and posted it on Facebook for sale, along with Craigslist....for more than the original owner paid for it. 
The original owner posted this on Craigslist -

CL raleigh all for sale / wanted furniture - by dealer                
9nphv-3782460989@sale.craigslist.org [?]
Posted: 2013-05-03, 1:53PM EDT

RE: Solid wood dining buffet with 2-drawers - $950 (Cary) - $1 (Cary)

The buffet listed by Carolina Farmhouse is used and was purchased last year for $821 after tax, they are trying to sell it for $950 before tax. It was the subject of many complaints on-line. Before doing business with this company, do your due diligence and read, read, read. BBB revoked CF's accreditation and customers are facing uphill battles getting refunds.
  • Location: Cary
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Posting ID: 3782460989
Posted: 2013-05-03, 1:53PM EDT
Edited: 2013-05-03, 1:58PM EDT
      
5. someone that was told that he'd be given a refund, but then after not hearing from them for sometime, they re-engage and tell him they've changed their mind and now he can have a store credit.
6. a couple that was told they had a March 2013 completion date...they ordered the July prior for their new house.  They have nothing to date. In fact, as they have seen tables for sale that Carolina Farmhouse have posted on facebook, they have asked if they could have that one...not once or twice..multiple times.  They even asked for an unfinished table, and then Sam Utt-Grubb emailed them last week with a table, they said "yes..fine they would take it".  No response and then all of sudden yesterday he emailed them to say the table was taken.  They also paid by paypal...can't do a chargeback. I don't get why they wouldn't just let them have one of the tables that was finished.  I mentioned this in an earlier post that I had seen many tables for sale on facebook and why they didn't just offer one of those to us...now I see I wasn't the only one with that thought.
7. another one contacted me and is trying to get her money back as well.  She paid by debit so she can't do a chargeback...
8. I've had multiple people contact me that are trying to get a refund.  There has evidently been the same email sent to those seeking a refund that we received...
Hello Lynn,
After seeking guidance about this situation from our attorney and the North Carolina Department of Justice Consumer Affairs Division, we have decided to provide you a Carolina Farmhouse store credit for the full amount of your purchase.  If you do not want to receive store credit, your alternative is to accept an adjusted estimated completion date of September 1, 2013 for the item(s) you originally ordered.  If we do not hear back from you with acceptance of the adjusted completion date, you will receive your certificate of store credit no later than Friday, May 17, 2013.  
Please refer back to our published no-refund or cancellation policy, and also our published explanation of the lead time uncertainty that comes with creating furniture from scratch in order to fully understand what you agreed to when you chose to purchase from Carolina Farmhouse.  Of note is that "Issuance of a refund or exchange following the 72 hour grace period is at the sole discretion of Carolina Farmhouse."  
Thank you,

Sam
 
After I specifically said we did not want store credit, I get another email -

Hello Lynn,
 
I'm sincerely sorry for the difficulty this has caused you. We have three options available: We can still complete your order and push the estimated completion range back, we can provide a store credit for the amount of your purchase to be used at a later date, re-sold or donated or we can place you on a list to receive a refund as soon as funds become available. If none of the options are agreeable, we will turn this matter over to our attorney. You are also welcome to contact our attorney directly. His name is John Szymankiewicz and can be reached at 919-792-8740
Best,
Sam
 
I mean honestly when is enough enough?  I have asked multiple times that I want a refund!  It doesn't get much more clear than that.  Also, I would never to agree to having a piece of their furniture for a few reasons...  Mainly because after having to wait for over 6 months and it hasn't been built yet.  Also because of the horror stories of poor quality furniture that I would have to end up fixing anyway.  And, not to mention I just don't want to be waiting another 3 months only to have to start this battle all over again.
 
The complaints on Better Business Bureau have risen, I am hopeful that this means that they have also risen with the Attorney General's office. 
 
When you decide to make a big purchase online, do you check out the company?  How do you do due diligence?  Do you ask others if it is a local company? 
 
This company had very little negative complaints/reviews when we started our process with them in May 2012.  I figure that sometimes no matter how hard you try you find unhappy customers.  By the time I felt something wasn't right it was too late.  Plus, honestly I was dealing with the fire and I don't think my mind was 100%...I mean they made us Farmhouse Family...it made us feel good about them.  I guess we got suckered in like so many others. 
 
I never thought for a minute we were alone in this, but boy have I been shocked/surprised that there are so many.  I will give you a bit of hope...I do know that one of the customers that very recently filed a chargeback, got it!!!  But, I will tell you that couple fought hard for it & Carolina Farmhouse didn't make it easy on them nor were they very nice about the whole situation.  I am beyond happy for them :)
 
If there is one thing I can say positive that has come out of this... I've met (virtually) some really nice people and otherwise I wouldn't have.  I've enjoyed getting to know & hope that beyond this ordeal....we will stay in touch.  I'd like to get to know them :)  So once I get my money back...I will say thank you to Carolina Farmhouse, but not until I get my money back!!
 
I will be happy when this is over so I can get on with no longer needing to update my blog with this information, but until then...
 
~Lynn
 
 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mothers Day

I hope all of you moms, soon to be moms, trying to become moms all had a wonderful day.  

We had amazing weather.  The forecast was calling for a little chilly weather, but we lucked out.  It turned out gorgeous. 

We went on a hike with the kids.  My brother-in-law has put together a spring hiking club.  They have gone on 2 hikes already (which I have to brag a little).  My Katie has gone on all of them.  This pumpkin loves to go hiking.  


The group (Sasquatch Hiking Club) set out around 10:30 up Schunemunk Mountain.  This is right along the Salisbury Mills train station, so the train tracks run nearby.  

We parked here


Top of where we parked...a little up from where our cars were





And, off we go...



 
Daddy & his girls

The littlest did awesome but her legs were a little slower

A little shed or someones cabin?

So many wild FERNS out there...




Stopping for a break


Sour Patch Kids make for extra smiles :)


As the men contemplate our next survival move..

And, the ladies laugh at the notion that we must follow them :)

The kids say...ehh we will just stay here and enjoy our treats & the view

But then Nanny and the hiker decide to hit the trail

We happened upon this cool tee-pee...Grandpa said to stay out..just in case!

We saw lots of these guys... The 17 year locust (cicada) 



Ahh we made it to the top still with smiles on our faces

My MIL, SIL, Me, SIL, and a dear friend of all of ours enjoying our TREAT!

And, last but not least...hurry before Grandpa sees us....

It was an amazing day fill full of family fun!  The kids had a blast.  The men brought the mommas champagne and strawberries that we enjoyed at the top.  The kids had lots of snacks.  We then enjoyed a little grilling action at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's house.

Not sure that I could have written it any better... the day was simply perfection!

~Lynn

Fascinated by all the stories... Carolina Farmhouse!


I find it interesting that a customer that came to Carolina Farmhouse a mere short time after they opened (within a couple of months) and experienced the issues that some of us are experiencing because of the “growth spurt”.  And, even back then the furniture was flawed!!  You know what else I find fascinating?   That Kelly Utt-Grubb offered up a piece of furniture to the same customer to write a good review for them on Houzz.com, asking the customer to do several things for a piece of their furniture.  So, how many good reviews & hundreds of happy customers do you really have, or did they simply receive a piece of furniture in trade?

I have been contacted by Carolina Farmhouse saying they want to issue us a store credit.  Funny! How can you issue you us a store credit when you haven’t even started the furniture we originally ordered?  Just doesn’t really make sense to me honestly!  What good does a store credit do for me?  So I sit and wait another 6 months when I can have my table from another furniture maker in 2 - 3 weeks?
Another Carolina Farmhouse customer and I were in contact. The day after we were offered the store credit, they too were offered store credit.  They had originally been told they would be getting a refund, and now all of sudden Carolina Farmhouse changed their mind.  Why did they all of sudden re-engage with the customer. This customers story goes back more than a year. 
This is the reason we need to keep getting the story out there.  This has been going on longer than the “6 months ago, when we had a sudden growth spurt”.  Had I read the complaints, I wouldn’t be here today.  I tend to believe there are many people out there that would say the same.

According to Kelly Utt-Grubb blog post on March 27, she stated that they’ve had bad press, Yelp's flawed review filter system, and an analysis of Better Business Bureau policies that result in misleading grades and reports.  You said “check out the twisted hit piece Monica Laliberte and Jenn Sorber Smith of WRAL did on us”.  Far from twisted…I am sitting here in the same situation!  I say if both of YELP and BBB alone are skewed, flawed or misleading grades…then I am living in some fantasy world.  See we are a part of both of those and our story is accurate – I have email back up proof.  Furthermore, every person that I have been in contact with…their stories are similar to ours. 
Kelly Utt-Grubb also stated “We're not going out of business.  We're not going away.  We're not hiding, because we have nothing to hide.  And we won't tolerate disrespectful treatment, no matter the circumstances.  If our business is not the right choice for you for whatever reason, then by all means, move along.  We have beautiful, sturdy, handcrafted products that have made a lot of customers very happy. ”  Not going out of business… Not hiding?  Then why are so many emails/phone calls go unresponsive.  You won’t tolerate disrespectful treatment?  But, you don’t mind treating others in that manner.  Arrogance, hateful, and bullying have all been terms to describe the treatment people have felt. 

“If our business is not the right choice for you for whatever reason, then by all means, move along.”  We are all trying to move along, but you have our money that we all worked hard for that you don’t seem to think you should have to give back despite the fact that you haven’t provided the things we’ve paid for.  Plus there are several customers that received furniture that is poor quality (warped boards, rough tops, uneven color, wrong size), promised pieces for customers trouble that were never received. 

“We have beautiful, sturdy, handcrafted products that have made a lot of customers very happy. “  Based on people that I’ve been in contact with, the ones that did receive their furniture have received poor, unsightly furniture. Oh and let's not forget that Kelly Utt-Grubb tried to get someone to post a good review in return for a piece of furniture.

I have said it before…  There are a ton of people out there afraid to stand up & speak up.  WHY?  Well according to a few customers they were bullied & intimidated.   I have an email from a customer (actually he also posted a comment on my blog) that he & his wife were bullied by Carolina Farmhouse.  So, then they threatened with a lawsuit against this customer. 

So – my question is…  Are you still not going anywhere?  Are you not going out of business?  Why is it so hard for you to just simply write us a check if you have our money?  Where did our money go & what did you do with it?

Keep the stories coming customers of Carolina Farmhouse.  Keep filing with the Attorney General’s office, keep filing complaints with the BBB, and keep up with posting your reviews. 

Fight for what belongs to you. 

~Lynn

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thrift Shopping, Flea Markets & Antique Stores

I love finding a good bargain!  I am cheap frugal as many would say.  I love to shop that is no doubt, but I love the thrill of tracking down and hunting for my next bargain.

I am known to jump in the car and venture off to thrift stores, junkyards, antique shops, flea markets etc.  There is nothing like getting up early, grabbing my coffee and hitting the road.  I have no problems whipping a quick u-ie (is that a word...don't think so) just to get to that consignment shop I just past going 70.  I plan out day trips that may mean driving almost 3 hours to a place I know offers some goodies.

Over the last few weeks I have hit a few of my favorite spots.  We have hit springtime around here, which means some of my frequents have opened back up.

Want to see some of my new finds?


I am slightly in love with Roos.  I once had many more and I was teased. This was way before I had stepped into blogland, and was young, single & loved decorating :)

I recently set up my new little coffee bar/station and I am loving it.  

Anywho, this Roo came from a recently discovered dealer antique center.  I had found one recently for $12.00 and this guy let me walk away with this beauty for $5.00.  Lucky Roo got to come home with me!!


I found this scale at a flea market and I just love it.  I've never seen the copper ones.  So....it jumped in my arms and I couldn't let go.  Actually I was holding it, inspecting it and I had some lady breathing down my neck dying for me to put it down... No shot!  The man literally gave it to me...seriously I handed him my money & ran.



And, then this cool ladder.  This came from one of my absolute favorite barn sales.  The lady that owns the place is super nice.  She is always up to bargain with you.  She closes in the winter because the barn is gigantic and it would cost a fortune to heat.  It is filled full of junk, antiques, and vintage goodies.  I always walk away with some little something from there.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!
~Lynn

Another victim of Carolina Farmhouse

I have another post I am working on with some of my thrift finds and a project I completed for those that follow my blog for other things...Sorry guys..

But, I need to help to get the word out.  We are still working on trying to recover our money from Carolina Farmhouse.  I am getting lots of feedback & emails that are coming in from others that have been a victim of Carolina Farmhouse. 

Another one... Paid in full by debit last September, still no furniture nor have they received a refund.  It has been 9 months.  And, because like us they paid by debit there is no way to do a chargeback. 

Here is the information I have provided & I hope this helps. 

The most important is to file with Attorney General's office and Better Business Bureau.  Also with the Fair Trade Commission.  They changed their website to say lead time is 6 - 8 months.  If they gave you an estimated delivery time & didn't meet it prior, then file with the FTC.  There is a mail/phone order law that states that if they don't meet the first estimated delivery time then they are to provide you another date or a prompt refund based on what you want to do.  So, file with the FTC as well with your info (dates, and anything they would need). 
 
When filing a complaint with the BBB it is a permanent public record.
 
Also, send anyone you know to my blog links.  We need to get everyone possible to file with the FTC, Attorney General & BBB.  
 
Another thing is to call the police department in Cary, NC.  They said there is nothing they can do because there isn't any fraud being committed, but the more that call the more they will be watching them.  (919) 469-4012..
 
Send emails to both Durham, NC Chamber of Commerce & Cary, NC Chamber of Commerce.  I say Durham because Kelly is connected with them via LinkedIn.  info@durhamchamber.org and info@carychamber.com
 
Also, write to Entrepreneur Magazine and let them know that you are another one of their victims.   entmag@entrepreneur.com
 
Also, send an email to Monica Laliberte at WRAL.   laliberte@wral.com  They are the ones that did the initial story on Carolina Farmhouse. 
 
Get your story out there to as many places as possible.  Go to your local news stations and send them an email. 
 
I hope this helps, and if you are reading this and have any additional information please let me know.
 
~Lynn

Monday, May 6, 2013

7 Random Acts of Kindness

Seven... 7! That's all.  It's not much right?  Today I am blogging in preparation for May 15th! 

Cassie at Primitive & Proper has blogged about this family that lost not only their home but 2 beautiful girls in a tragic house fire.  Sophie would have been 7 on May 15 and so Chrissi the girls momma has put together an event 7 random acts of kindness.  I find this to be a great thing and a positive thing that I hope will spread as wide as possible. 

If you feel you'd like to know more, you can read about it on Cassie's blog at Primitive & Proper -

http://primitiveandproper.blogspot.com/2013/05/sophie-and-madigans-playground-7-raks.html

And, the link to the facebook page setup by Chrissi -

https://www.facebook.com/events/546287372089035/?fref=ts

Please help Chrissi by spreading the word.  What kind of random acts of kindness can you do?  Buy coffee for a stranger, help an elderly person carry their groceries to their car or help load them, bring flowers to someone whose day is gloomy, oh man the list just goes on....

~Lynn

Friday, May 3, 2013

Moving Forward...One step at a time. Carolina Farmhouse

I know I've said it before.  This blog was started for me to document our journey and so as hard as it was to go through the daily living from the fire, there are still things that we are going through and therefore will continue to write about.  I will always have furniture, DIY and projects that I will feature here as well, and I am hoping that soon I will be able to turn this into a blog full of those features.

Yesterday was a tough day for me.  I guess when you realize you’ve been screwed over & certain things are confirmed it stings a bit. 

I feel better today and I am not as angry.  I feel a little deflated, but I believe that is normal.  We aren’t the only ones & as much as I hate that anyone is going through this..it is a little comforting to know that I have company sitting on this couch with me and it’s not a pity party for one J 

I also know that if I want something done I need to stay on top of things with the Attorney General’s office, and the other outlets, and then take whatever next steps there are to take. We originally worked hard for that money and I won't go down without a fight...I've had enough taken from me recently so I take offense to it being taken.

I’ve had some very kind words & advice given and I truly appreciate each & every single one of them.  With that being said, I will continue to provide updates and if you don’t feel like you want to read them I understand.  But, I’ve had a ton of people email & ask to keep updating.  I am doing this only to get the word out.  There is a lot of us that have lost a significant amount of money to Carolina Farmhouse.  And, while I know that my husband & I have worked hard to have what we have I think it is my right to fight back for our hard earned money. 

The information that was passed along to us from a local includes such things as Carolina Farmhouse people (owners, etc) going on multiple vacations over the last year, new vehicles, and such.  Now I have no qualms with vacations, but when you have blasted us with “we have had a growth spurt and we’ve had a production delay causes by so many orders” and knowing that my furniture hasn’t been started, and the the fact that you say you can’t refund us our money…this then creates an issue for me.  Multiple people at multiple times have been told by Carolina Farmhouse that they have spent long hard hours working and sacrificing spending time with their children in order to get orders completed. 

Once the Attorney General’s office contacted them & explained the FTC mail/telephone order law, they then changed their website to show a 6-8 month lead time.  That’s a long time to wait.  But, I am glad they did, that at least gives any new customers a more accurate time..

We had ordered the table listed here on Craigslist by Carolina Farmhouse as our Farmhouse Family program back in October.  Seeing this made me want to cry!  Our table hasn’t been built or started, yet they are advertising the exact table in April for sale.  Why not just offer this one to us.  For crying outloud…it was a free table you were giving us…we would have been happy!



I have moved on with the island in our kitchen.  I found a great fit as I’ve previously wrote in my blogs about.  I truly feel karma was on my side.  It is exactly what we were looking for, it is something I was able to refinish & the price was unbeatable.  I got such a great deal that man it made me feel excellent!!

I have started the hunt for the dining table and I have found several, but I think today I found a winner.  I spoke the gentleman and geez you just can’t find nicer people.  He’s fairly close so we can actually go pick it up when he has it finished.  And….the best part is  the lead time… THREE WEEKS not 6 months! He uses reclaimed wood & that is exactly what we want.  Go green!  Three weeks guys…seriously this just made my heart swell!  o based off his website & photos…his furniture is truly a work of art.  I am hoping to get to move forward as soon as possible…my husband is tad hesitant with all the mess going on with Carolina Farmhouse…and the fact that who knows how long it will take to recover our money!

I have to continue to remind myself that it is going to all work out…maybe not in my timeframe, but eventually as my daddy always says – the truth always prevails.  I believe that good things come to good people.  I have to be patient & just continue to hold onto my faith & beliefs.  I just big problems with someone taking from others and lying. 

I do have some projects that I’ve been working on to show…this mess has just taken up some precious time. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend… We have lots going on around here this weekend.
Much LOVE, PEACE & HAPPINESS
~Lynn

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Stealing? Carolina Farmhouse update...




I’m providing an update to our ongoing drama with Carolina Farmhouse. 
We work very hard for everything that we have/own.  My husband does an outstanding job running the business we own.  He works hard to ensure that he maintains good business relationships with his clients/customers.  He does whatever it takes & that sometimes means making sacrifices along the way when it comes to any family happenings, whether that means illness, new births, ailing parents, or just everyday living.  Hey we get it...we had a house fire & exactly a week to the day after my mom had a heart attack.  I could give you a long list of hits we took all at once during the fire, but I won't.  It is life and we kept going because we knew we had a family to provide for.  But, in return my husband provides more than adequately for his family, and makes sure that when he can & does have the time we do fun things as a family. 

There have been times in which a client has felt that there was an issue.  Or there are times where we have the threat of losing a client.  Sometimes it is in the best interest to let the client go, but sometimes it is worth fighting to retain that client.  This is our  means to live life.  When my husband provides a service he is expected to get paid, and when a client pays for a service upfront they expect to receive the service in which they paid for without having to beg, plead or fight for that service.  If my husband doesn't provide that service then in essence that is stealing the money of the client.

I feel as though our hard working money (and the money that we received from losing everything in our fire) has in essence been stolen.  We, in good faith, paid for a product 6 months ago with the understanding that it takes 10 - 16 weeks for completion.  We have now been told by Sam Utt- Grubb that they can't provide a refund to us and that we can wait until our furniture is built.  This means that our money has been used to pay for their living (whether that be a mortgage payment on their almost 3000 sq foot home, groceries, having fun with their family, etc) while we still sit and wait!  That in my mind is stealing....you led us to believe that when we paid in full upfront that we would be receiving our furniture with a completion date of February 2013. 

We are still requesting a full refund, and we are entitled to that refund.  It is far past the estimated completion date.  If we don't receive our refund then Carolina Farmhouse is a thief and instead of providing us the free table as they promised, they've stolen from us. 

I have tried with all my being to stay as nice as I can, but you know what I am angry.  Carolina Farmhouse has willingly taken our money....money that we worked extremely hard for!  We never signed up to wait over 6 months for furniture that we could've gone anywhere else and had 6 months ago. 

Since my last blog post in response to Kelly Utt-Grubb comment, we’ve continued to request a full refund from Carolina Farmhouse.  WE were told back on February 9 by Dan Utt that once they receive the part in to fix the equipment that our furniture would be finished and out for delivery.  So, now my question is were you lying to me as well?

I got an email from co-owner Sam Utt-Grubb last night after he told me on April 18 that they no longer wanted to do business with us, that they are not able to refund our money but we could wait for our furniture to be built.  Our furniture was/has never been started and ready to be out for delivery in February.  Again, my question is did Dan lie to me in his February 9 email??  I particularly chose Carolina Farmhouse based on a few reasons.  The reasons – I liked the furniture, they are a certified green company, and they like to give back to families (this was prior to our fire).  I had emailed Dan in May 2012 that these are the reasons I was interested in doing business with Carolina Farmhouse...our fire was in June 2012.  It was reassuring that a company that was benefiting & thriving was giving back to the community.  Of course now I question their motives!

I had originally said in my first post that I would never say not to buy furniture from Carolina Farmhouse.  But, I take back that statement and here is why.  Not to mention if this was a national chain store that I was reviewing, I would not hesitate to give my honest opinion if I'd buy from them again. 
See above about taking our money :(

We have constantly been given the run around, and we paid in good faith for a product to be delivered within a timely manner based on the communication between myself & Dan prior to me paying in full.  We were made July Farmhouse Family and Carolina Farmhouse took it back because I had to file a rightful complaint to get my voice heard.  It has now been 6 months and now I know our furniture was never started!

More reasons – unprofessional & unethical manners in conducting business with customers.  They push the Farmhouse Families & Thanksforward programs... “GIVING” back, but yet they have actually taken more than they have given to their customers.  And, I say this because who wants to wait on furniture to be built for 6 plus months when you can get the same hand crafted furniture from other places that is just as nice and have it within 6-8 weeks?  Plus waiting 6-8 months (and longer for some) without being told it is going to be that long, we were told 10-16 weeks.  They willingly took my money…and still have it!
Lack of communication!  My husband is a sole employee and he has never let a client wait to hear from him for longer than 24 hours.  Communication is a key component & letting customers hang with no real answers has created doubt & trust issues!!

I’ve had a Carolina Farmhouse customer reach out to me from reading my blogs.  They are & continue to be going through dealing with Carolina Farmhouse for over a year now.  I am completely flabbergasted at the email exchange and the audacity that someone who is running a business would treat & speak to a customer the way Kelly Utt-Grubb spoke to Erika. 

They have had issues with everything from delivery, refund issues to poor quality furniture.  The dining table was a rough finish to the point that their children didn’t even want to eat at the table. 

The latest is during our exchange, she let me know that after everything they have been going through, Sam Utt-Grubb was coming today to pick up the buffet table they had built for them.  There were issues with the buffet table – one leg was shorter than the other 3, handles were wrong, and the sides of the drawer panels had not been stained not to include the color was uneven. 

Want to know what happened to the buffet after he picked it up?  It was posted for sale within a couple of hours on Facebook.  Want to know for how much?  $950.00.  Want to know how much Erika paid for it?  $821.  And, they posted on Facebook that at $950 this $600 off retail price.  I find that to be greedy.  You have now posted a USED piece of furniture for sale for more than you originally sold it for!

While Erika and her husband have received a portion their money back, it’s a far from what they paid them originally.  Erika & her husband are still working to get the remaining portion back.

I know there are a lot of other people out there that are going through what we are going through.  Another customer wrote into Entrepreneur in response to the Doing Good publication in February 2013.  The customer also expressed unsatisfactory experience.  Entrepreneur followed up with Kelly Utt-Grubb and she admitted to them that the current delays are unacceptable.  I find that interesting being that every exchange I’ve had with any of them has not once said they were wrong.  She then said they were working to issue refunds to customers that have experienced unsatisfactory delays.  I again will say how interesting because we were told as of last night they couldn’t refund our money! 


How many more customers are out there that are going through this?  How many are afraid to speak up/out? If you are out there and are going through or have gone through this with Carolina Farmhouse, please contact me. 

~Lynn