A Delaware furniture store owner is under fire for questionable business practices. Michael D. Wharton, owner of The Amish Mill, will pay $23,000 in fines for “violating Delaware’s consumer protection laws,” CBS News reports. Among his offenses, CBS continues, are manufacturing “undisclosed fees and willfully misleading customers who waited months for orders that never arrived.”
There is no question that Wharton went to certain extremes, official say. Multiple customers revealed that their furniture orders were months overdue. The Amish Mill owner was bold enough to charge customers $5.99 for calling to inquire about the status of late furniture. Others reveal that Wharton attempted to charge customers up to $85 for posting negative reviews or testimony online.
“In an opinion signed Monday, an administrative hearing officer agreed with the allegations in the complaint and found Wharton had committed 23 violations of Delaware’s Consumer Fraud Act. Wharton not only failed to deliver items within the promised time frame, the officer found, but in some cases never had any intention of having the ordered furniture built,” explains CBS. Moreover, consumers will not have to pay the extraneous fines and over-the-top fees. The court also doled out a Cease and Desist Order; further legal action can (and will) be taken against Wharton if he proceeds in his attempts to collect the unwarranted monetary penalties.
“The Amish Mill has Amish-made furniture, seasonal produce, deli meats and cheeses, [and] jar goods,” the company’s official Facebook page reads. The Amish furniture, if responsibly ordered and shipped, has the potential to be a rare commodity in the state of Delaware. U.S. Amish populations reside primarily in New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Most parts of Delaware do not typically see contributions from the Amish. The Amish, well-known for eschewing conveniences like appliances and most forms of electricity, build sturdy, one-of-a-kind furnishings.