Epic Oriental Rugs violated Consumer Protection Act
By Max Sullivan
Hampton Union, September 15, 2015
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON – An Oriental rug retailer has agreed to finally close his business and never sell rugs again in New Hampshire as part of a settlement deal reached with the attorney general’s office.
Menashe Cohen, 62, former owner of Epic Oriental Rugs on Route 1, was also ordered to pay $2,500 in civil penalties, as well as $2,500 for investigation costs as part of the agreement ending the suit filed by the attorney general’s office in June.
The consent agreement was signed by Judge David Anderson in Rockingham Superior Court on July 17.
The attorney general’s office filed suit against the business after it violated an agreement with the state to stop advertising a never-ending going-out-of-business sale. Cohen first announced he was closing his store in September 2014 but continued to advertise through March. State law prohibits New Hampshire businesses from advertising such sales beyond 60 days.
While Cohen agreed to close the store April 30 and only liquidate his stock through wholesalers, the attorney general’s office alleged he offered to sell rugs four times in May, violating the Consumer Protection Act.
John Garrigan, of the attorney general’s office, said Wednesday that Cohen has paid the civil penalties. While the business was fined $7,500, $5,000 of that amount is suspended as long as Cohen complies with the agreement.
Cohen also agreed to remove all inventory from the store by Sept. 25 in the event that he retained ownership of the building on Route 1.
Cohen said Wednesday that most of the rugs have been removed from the store. A sale of the building is pending to a sports vehicle dealership.
Cohen has said there was no deception intended when he started advertising last fall that his shop was closing. He said the delay in closing was because he still had 70 percent of his inventory left as of this past spring. The rugs had been marked down to between 40 to 70 percent since the sale began, he said.