Dozens of fraud complaints filed in Coastal Maytag closure
The Delaware State Police as of mid-week had received more than 30 fraud complaints about Coastal Maytag since the Ocean View appliance store closed suddenly in early February.
That’s a large influx since the Coastal Point reported on Feb. 22 that Delaware State Police were at that time investigating five fraud complaints, as well as a statement from the business’ owner that she was in the process of selling it to a local family who planned to honor all prior sales not delivered or canceled and re-open the business in about a week.
“Some people probably saw in newspaper, and some probably didn’t realize the business had closed,” said M.Cpl. Melissa Jaffe, DSP public information officer.
“Numerous customers have purchased appliances, which they either have paid in full, or in part, and have not received the merchandise or any type of refund,” according to DSP. “The case continues to remain under investigation by the Delaware State Police Troop 4, Financial Crimes Unit.”
In addition to the non-delivery of items paid for or partially paid for, one person alleged that their credit card had been double charged by the business, police said.
There have been no charges filed or arrests made in the cases as of March 27.
As the DSP get their ducks in a row, they’re hoping to assemble as much information as possible by May 1. Detectives are asking that anyone who may be a victim to attempt to report their case by Wednesday, May 1, to Detective McCabe at (302) 856-5850.
“We’re just asking that, if you feel you are a victim, we’d appreciate it if you’d come forward sooner than later. … We’re just trying to do what’s right for the victims,” said Jaffe. “We will be working closing with the Attorney General’s Office.”
Jaffe noted that people can still contact DSP later, if needed. People are still protected under the law, even if they miss that deadline. Jaffe said she expected people will likely continue learning about the situation as houses are built or they return for the summer season.
Information on the cases may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or online at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com.
“We’re basically looking into the people that haven’t received their shipment,” Jaffe said.
Emptying the store
Another buyer was looking to acquire the assets of Coastal Maytag and would be re-opening the business in about a week, Karen Clark had told the Coastal Point on Feb. 20. But that agreement apparently fell through, as did customers’ hopes of getting a phone call, or even their originally purchased appliances.
Meanwhile, the owners of the former Coastal Maytag have emptied the store of any remaining assets, from equipment to service vans. On March 26, an auction company from Caroline County, Md., brought a trailer and several tow trucks to remove everything. Those items will be posted for auction through Trice Auctions of Denton, Md.
Coastal Maytag closed very suddenly and without warning around Feb. 6. Whatever happened behind the scenes at 30459 Cedar Neck Road has impacted customers who suddenly weren’t getting deliveries or even a response to their phone calls.
Karen and Stanley Clark have managed the appliance shop with their daughter since October of 2013. Karen Clark is the business’ official owner of record. They sold and serviced Whirlpool, Maytag, Kitchen Aid and Amana appliances.
A new company approaches
Trying to edge its way past the trouble, another appliance company will be leasing the space — but they are distancing themselves from the prior store and the related drama.
Shore Appliance & Bedding Connection is based in Salisbury, Md., according to fliers posted on the front door. Operating since 1951, they promise a large selection of high-quality brands, along with factory-trained service technicians and installation staff.
“We look forward to opening soon in this location to serve the residents of Ocean View and the surrounding communities. If you have any current needs for service or to purchase a new appliance or bedding, we will be pleased to assist you from our Salisbury location until our grand opening, to be announced soon,” wrote Gary Larmore, president of Shore Appliance Connection Inc.
People can learn more about the business, sales, service and job opportunities by calling 1-800-884-4456 or online at www.shoreappliances.com.
The fliers also included contact information for the state police and Attorney General’s Office, for those who are still dealing with impacts from the closure of Coastal Maytag.
Coastal Maytag is completely closed. The old phone line offers no information and has no room left for messages.
Anyone with warranty issues can try contacting their appliance’s manufacturer.
By Laura Walter