September 26, 2023
Courtroom guidelines in Fresno TV anchor’s dispute with furnishings retailer

Courtroom guidelines in Fresno TV anchor’s dispute with furnishings retailer

A dispute between a Fresno tv anchor and an area furnishings enterprise was determined by a choose Tuesday after three separate hearings over two weeks.

Alexan Balekian, KSEE 24 information anchor and host of weekly political present Sunday Morning Issues, filed a declare towards Furnishings Metropolis close to Blackstone and Barstow avenues on Jan. 19.

Balekian claimed Furnishings Metropolis proprietor Fawzi Saed owed him $4,192 from a breach of contract associated to a furnishings buy gone dangerous.

After reviewing proof and witness testimony, Choose Bob Whalen determined to award Balekian $2,652 plus $50 in court docket prices. The quantity represents the worth of a high-end bookcase and eating room chair that arrived at Balekian’s house broken. Balekian rejected these objects on supply.

The dispute included allegations of threats and harassment on either side and illustrated the fallout for companies from provide chain points associated to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The trial concluded with the 2 events shaking fingers. Balekian declined to remark for this story. In an interview with The Enterprise Journal, Saed stated he was glad it was over.

“I’m not operating a rip-off. I’m not operating a fraud,” Saed stated in the course of the trial. “That is my livelihood enterprise.”

The disagreement started on Jan. 29, 2022, when Balekian and his fiancee bought bookcases and eating chairs from Furnishings Metropolis Design Studio, the retailer’s high-end location. Furnishings Metropolis had beforehand marketed with Balekian’s employer, tv station KSEE 24.

The gross sales contract said that the furnishings would arrive at Balekian’s house in a 6-8 week window. Balekian stated after trying to realize extra details about his delayed furnishings by phone, he returned to Furnishings Metropolis on April 24, 2022, the place Balekian stated he and his fiancee have been harassed by Anthony Halim, a Furnishings Metropolis supervisor and half proprietor. 

Balekian stated Halim yelled and acted aggressively. A former Furnishings Metropolis worker testified that Balekian had threatened him over the cellphone — a declare Balekian stated was false. Halim stated that’s what prompted him to behave in protection of his worker when Balekian visited the shop.

Fees have been made towards his credit score financing months earlier than the furnishings was delivered June 13, Balekian stated, including {that a} bookcase and chair arrived broken.

Balekian stated his expertise with Furnishings Metropolis and Halim was “extraordinarily uncomfortable.”

“This firm will not be severe about customer support,” Balekian stated on the trial. 

Saed stated he spends $10,000-$15,000 a month on customer support at Furnishings Metropolis. Efforts to make sure happy prospects have been pushed to the brink by the pandemic, he stated, as provide chains crumbled and shopper items — together with furnishings — sat unloaded on cargo ships at California ports.

Earlier than the pandemic, furnishings orders might arrive from the producer in a matter of days. After the pandemic, it might take so long as a yr.

“It’s a provide chain problem,” Saed stated. “Out of our fingers.”

The delays resulted in adverse evaluations for the enterprise on platforms together with the Higher Enterprise Bureau web site and Yelp. 

Saed acknowledged the dangerous evaluations, however stated they represented a small fraction out of 1000’s of consumers.

“A number of the evaluations are pretend,” he stated. “It’s all as a result of delays.”

Choose Whalen stated the pandemic resulted in customers taking their disputes to small-claims court docket. He stated he has even held judgements towards suppliers.

Whalen dominated that whereas Furnishings Metropolis’s supply quote on the time was 6-8 weeks on its gross sales contracts, it additionally included a clause that delays aren’t grounds for canceling an order.