FIFE, Wash. - Dozens of customers from Couch's Furniture & Appliance in Fife say the business abruptly closed its doors without delivering goods they had already paid for.
Ben Fleming put down a $2,000 cash downpayment on four kitchen appliances last month. When the merchandise wasn't delivered he called Couch's and got only a recording. After a few more calls with no success he returned to the store to find it closed with paper up in the windows.
"I had no idea it was more like entering a casino when I went there. I was just rolling the dice with my money," said Fleming.
Workers from Viking Bank were recently seen at the store taking inventory of what's inside. An official at Viking said Couch's owes them a substantial amount of money and the bank is going through records to see who is owed what, but could make no promises when or if any customers would get their money or merchandise.
Couch's has been in business for 30 years and according to owner Doc Couch's wife, Joanne, is a victim of the recession's credit crunch.
"We've been through recessions before and ridden them out, but this time we couldn't get credit to keep the business running," she says. "Believe me, my husband would rather beg or starve than to see his customers lose money. My heart bleeds for our customers. We've lost everything and we're asking God for the strength to pull us through this."
Don Couch is also part owner of another furniture and appliance store at 188th and Aurora in Shoreline, according to his wife. That business recently changed its name to B & B Appliance and has told customers it has no affiliation with Don Couch.
At this point customers who are out money or merchandise are being told to file a complaint with the Attorney General's office.