Cary-Based Musical Equipment Store Permanently Barred from Doing Business

Cary-Based Musical Equipment Store Permanently Barred from Doing Business
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January 27, 2015

A musical equipment company based in Cary, North Carolina has been permanently barred from doing business for not giving consumers what they paid for, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced.

"When you spend your hard-earned money, you deserve to get what you paid for," Cooper said. "Taking money and then giving consumers the run around isn't the way to do business in North Carolina."

At Cooper's request, Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens last week permanently barred Stuart Vries Carter, Jr. and Fat Sound Guitar and Musical Company, Inc. from advertising, selling, or collecting payments. The order also prohibits Carter and his company from destroying records or transferring any assets.

As stated in the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General, Fat Sound sold musical equipment in its Cary store as well as online. In some instances, Carter collected money upfront either as a deposit or the full purchase price and then failed to inform consumers of delivery delays. In at least 11 instances, he accepted payments from consumers but never placed their orders with the manufacturers and failed to deliver any equipment.

One customer said that he had an agreement to sell a guitar through the company with the understanding that Fat Sound would keep 25% of the purchase price as commission. After a month without hearing from the store, the consumer went to collect the guitar assuming that it had not sold, only to find out it had been shipped to a buyer. The owner of the guitar should have gotten $1,559 from Fat Sound but never received any of the money.

A total of 18 consumers have filed complaints with the North Carolina Attorney General's Office, including seven North Carolina residents.

Fat Sound has been ordered to refund $38,631 to affected consumers, as well as return all consumer property and cancel all remaining contracts. Cooper says that his office is working to collect as much of the judgment as possible.

In light of these events, Cooper says that consumers should exercise caution when asked to pay money upfront.

"Be careful about paying a large amount upfront," Cooper said. "If you must pay in advance, consider using a credit card for extra protection in case something goes wrong and you don't get what you paid for."

To report a or check out a company, contact the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.