MILWAUKEE -- FOX6 has received several emails from those panicking after they purchased products from Appliance World, and now, the store appears to have closed!
Wednesday evening, Appliance World issued the following statement: "The management of Appliance World regrets to advise that the business is permanently closed. On Saturday, January 28, at the direction of its secured lender, GE Capital Solutions, Appliance World closed all three of its retail locations. It was anticipated that the stores would reopen on Tuesday, January 31, after extensive discussions with Appliance World's various lienholders, it was determined that the stores would not reopen."
Appliance World says customers anticipating delivery can make arrangements to pick up or accept delivery of their appliances by emailing to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sean Schueler from West Allis feels like he's been taken to the cleaners by Appliance World - the business that sold him his washing machine. He says the company overseeing his warranty says Appliance World never registered his warranty number. He's trying to get that warranty number from Appliance World, but the doors are locked, and no one is there. "For customers like me, we're kinda left holding the bag, here. Appliance World - they've been around since I was a little kid, and I've heard their jingle on TV. As far as I'm concerned, I'm out $150," Schueler said.
Randall Hoth, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau says this week, all three Milwaukee area locations closed their doors and turned off their open signs, after decades of business. "(The company) had a positive rating with us, and we have not had any complaint activity since last October. We are monitoring this situation very closely," Hoth said.
Only a delivery number and email is posted on the door to the store, and Schueler says his calls haven't been returned. "Who am I supposed to go to? I have nobody to call for answers," Schueler said.
When asked if the BBB was able to contact the store's management, they said they have not. "We've seen nothing in writing, or anything verbally stated by the owner," Hoth said.
Hoth says the reason for the stores shutting down will determine what rights consumers have, and what, if anything, Schueler's $150, five-year warranty is still worth. It is unclear how many customers have not been able to receive appliance deliveries or how many warranties may be in limbo, but Schueler estimates with three locations "there must be hundreds, or thousands."
Online court records show a recent history of tax troubles for the business. The BBB says until we know more about why the closures, there isn't a lot consumers can do, but suggests they take the time to gather up their bills and warranty information and make sure that's handy in the event more action is needed.