St. Louis, Mo., Dec. 23, 2013
– Consumers in Missouri and Illinois have filed complaints against a custom furniture business in University City, alleging the owner repeatedly broke promises to deliver ordered items ranging from hand-crafted mirror frames to a dining room table, Better Business Bureau
Customers say that Renewed Concepts
and Timothy A. Breckenridge
delivered their orders weeks or months late or never delivered them at all.
A man from Town and Country said he was able to get a refund only after filing a police complaint against Breckenridge.
A servicewoman at Scott Air Force Base said she and her family had to eat Thanksgiving dinner on their dining room floor when Breckenridge reneged on a guarantee to deliver the family’s table by that date. “To have my children sitting on the floor for Thanksgiving was absolutely heart-breaking,” the woman wrote in an email to Breckenridge the morning after the holiday. “Why are you doing this to our family?”
Renewed Concepts has an “F” rating with BBB, the lowest possible. Records with the Missouri secretary of state show the business first registered on June 16.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said it appears that Renewed Concepts and Breckenridge have had problems from the beginning.
“The complaints depict a businessman who has used multiple excuses to avoid meeting his responsibilities,” Corey said. “His customers trusted him, and he has let them down.”
All of the consumers said they contacted Breckenridge after seeing an ad on Craigslist advertising custom items made from reclaimed barn wood.
The consumer from Town and Country said he hired Breckenridge in early August after visiting the woodworking shop in Breckenridge’s University City garage. The consumer paid Breckenridge $120 for the frames and waited through what the consumer described as “a couple of months of deception and delays” before contacting police. “It wasn’t the money,” he said. “It was the headache and the time wasted.”
The Scott Air Force Base worker said Breckenridge initially was going to charge her family for the table, but later offered to build it free as a thank-you for her military service. The day before Thanksgiving, the family gave away their old dining room table, expecting the new one to be delivered that day. But the table never arrived.
A woman from South St. Louis County said she gave Breckenridge a $400 deposit for a kitchen island and buffet in July. She said Breckenridge promised delivery by August, but she has never received the furniture or a refund. At least four times, he told her he was on his way to her home with the items, but he never arrived. She called the ordeal “really odd.”
A man from Chesterfield said he paid Breckenridge a $250 deposit to build a kitchen island in mid-August. Breckenridge promised delivery by Sept. 21. In early November, the consumer threatened to file a police complaint, and Breckenridge sent him a refund check. When the consumer called the bank, a representative there told him there were no funds to cover the check. “The whole thing is quite bizarre,” he said.
A woman from Vinita Park, Mo., said she gave Breckenridge a $270 deposit for a coffee table and media console in mid-July, and he promised delivery the next month. She said she has received the table, but not the console. “It’s wearing on me,” she said. “It’s just not worth it anymore.”
Consumers said that Breckenridge has used multiple excuses, saying at various times that his dog was having puppies, that he had injured his hand in a work accident, that his fiancé was hospitalized, that the furniture would not fit into his vehicle, that he had been called out of town and that he had to report to his job as an undercover narcotics agent.
Breckenridge has not responded to BBB attempts to reach him.
The BBB offers the following advice to consumers:
- Before entering into any business agreement, ask for several references and contact them.
- Check a company’s business registration. In Missouri and Illinois, most companies register with the secretary of state’s office. Be especially wary of businesses that are newly registered.
- Get an address for the business and, if possible, visit the location.
- Do not pay the total amount due until the item is delivered and you are satisfied with it.
- Read any contract carefully before signing it.
- Pay with a credit card when possible in case you need to challenge the charge.
- Contact BBB for a BBB Business Review by going to www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
Contacts (News Media Only): Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-645-0606, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, 314-584-6743, email@example.com, or Bill Smith, Trade Practice Investigator, 314-584-6727, firstname.lastname@example.org