MADISON, Wis. - A state agency is working on complaints from consumers about issues with American TV that go beyond the issues brought forward last week about overcharging.
News 3 has received at least two complaints from consumers saying they did not get the new products they thought they were buying.
Andrew Fortson spent more than $2,600 on what an American salesman said, and his invoice stated, was a new television. Instead, when he got it home and out of the box, he found it had simply been cleaned and was missing numerous accessories, including the owner's manual.
"It appears to be either a returned item or a demo model that was repackaged," he said. "I didn't think that either could be resold as new?"
Sandy Chalmers, with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, said they have gotten a few calls from people saying they will be filing similar complaints.
"We are carefully reviewing the complaints and will be discussing them with American TV," Chalmers said in an email.
"Our consumer relations department received one call from DATCP in the last seven days. So yes, I would say that whatever they are talking about is isolated or hasn't been shared with us to resolve," Doug Reuhl, with American TV, said in an email.
Chalmers recommends consumers having similar issues try to resolve them with American TV first, and file a complaint with DATCP if American TV won't resolve the issue. She said consumers may also be able to take action under the Fair Credit Billing Act if the purchase was made with a credit card.
Fortson tried to work with American to resolve the problem, but has had no success. He said the salesman who sold him the television said he believed it to be new, but offered "no solution other than to provide the missing manual and accessories. There was no attempt to address the bigger issue, which was that he sold me a used television and told me it was new and wrote it up as such. There was no offer to take the set back, nor to replace it with a new one; or at least reduce the price since the set was not a new television as I was led to believe."
He said he does not want others to experience his fate.
"Warn your viewers to check the merchandise before leaving the premise even if it's in a sealed box," he said.
DATCP investigators found numerous examples of overcharging at the state's seven American TV stores last week, even after letting store managers know who they were and why they were there before they began their work. That led to a statewide consumer alert warning American TV customers.
American TV disputed the DATCP investigation and has not responded to the latest concern at this time.
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