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Published Oct. 22, 2008

Q: In November 2007, I had furniture that was in storage transported to ConsignMint, in Clearwater, to be sold. I was at our second home in North Carolina so I called the store and verified with the clerk which pieces had arrived.

In early December I flew to Tampa for business and visited ConsignMint the next day. The same clerk and I checked the shop and found all of my things still for sale except two blue recliners and a twin mattress, box spring and bed frame. He confirmed the recliners had sold for $65 each. The bedding didn't turn up. A flat-screen TV was also missing, but I was told the owner, Eric Voorhees, wished to buy it for $200. I was amenable.

By Feb. 1, I had received no payment from ConsignMint or Mr. Voorhees so I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

I then received a check for $147.50, for the sale of a dresser and occasional table, and later, two checks for $200 each, one from the business and one from his personal account.

Mr. Voorhees phoned and explained that two checks had been sent by mistake for the TV. He asked that I not cash his personal check. I had yet to be paid for the recliners that had been sold, and neither had I been sent a list of items that were still for sale.

I held on to his personal check, but cashed the others.

I had no more response from the BBB or my letters and phone calls to ConsignMint, so I went ahead and cashed Mr. Voorhees' check. It was returned for insufficient funds.

Nanette Mauer

A: Representatives of ConsignMint haven't been forthcoming in response to two formal inquiries from Action, one in June and one in July.

Owner Eric Voorhees phoned Sept. 8 to say he and his wife were moving out of state and the business had been turned over to his mother, Shirley Robertson. He said she would know more about your case than he did.

When Robertson and I were finally able to speak, it was clear she had no firsthand knowledge of your items or any records associated with them. She had not seen the complaint file. She repeatedly told me how busy she had been and that she was not running the business when your furniture came in.

Of the 10 furnishings, including the TV that you consigned, documentation shows you have been paid for three. There is no contract for sale, no formal accounting of payment, policies, etc.

Computer records Robertson cited noted two recliners had been priced at $50 each and a coffee table for $165. They don't show as being sold, she said. Those items, the bedding set, floor lamp and an occasional table are unaccounted for.

To explain their absence, Robertson said items are considered "abandoned" after 120 days. Customers are responsible for contacting the business before that time to either pick up their goods or allow ConsignMint to dispose of them.

However, despite your multiple phone calls to the shop, you never mentioned any discussion of this.

When pressed, Robertson said she would investigate further and get back to me. She missed the first deadline and has not done so in the two weeks since.