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Furniture store forced to pay $500 to victim of bogus gas voucher

In a good or bad economy, $500 is a chunk of change.

Carol Thomas refused to take a pass on the $500 in free gas promised to her by Bassett Furniture. The company offered the free gas through a marketing promotion created by Largo-based Tidewater Marketing Global Consultants and gave her a voucher for it after she bought $4,307 worth of furniture.

When Thomas of Greenfield, Ind., discovered authorities had shuttered Tidewater's operations, she said Bassett Furniture offered two more voucher programs that also failed.

So she took the retailer to small-claims court, and on Friday received a notice that she won the $500 plus the $5 registration fee she paid to participate in the voucher program.

"It's unfortunate that Bassett and other retailers chose to do business with the companies who distributed the gas and grocery certificates, but we did not choose to do so," Thomas said in a statement to the court. "We chose to do business with Bassett, and they should be required to fulfill their original obligation to us."

Tidewater popularized the gas voucher program through such major retailers as Ashley Furniture, Tire Kingdom and Sound Advice, as well as countless car dealers. The state shuttered Tidewater's operations after numerous complaints about the company failing to deliver the promised gas cards.

Ivan Penn can be reach at ipenn@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2332. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Consumers_Edge.

Furniture store forced to pay $500 to victim of bogus gas voucher 10/19/09 [Last modified: Monday, October 19, 2009 11:36pm]

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