As far as Smith’s Home Furnishings is concerned, their now-closed Washington stores don’t exist.
That means neither does the company’s obligation to supply merchandise that Washington customers paid for but haven’t received.
Earlier announcements by the company said Washington customers could travel to stores in Oregon or Boise to pick up their prepaid orders. People attempting to do so Saturday were told they have to file a claim with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Oregon, putting them in line with the rest of the company’s creditors.
“The (Washington) stores were separated (from the company), and all orders and everything else are frozen right now,” said Gerry Raymond, regional sales manager for the Smith’s stores in Portland. “For all intents and purposes, the Washington stores are out of business.”
Raymond said that separation is part of the Chapter 11 reorganization plan approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge Friday.
That explanation doesn’t sit well with customers who paid for still-undelivered merchandise from Smith’s stores here.
“We told them, ‘Smith’s is Smith’s, it shouldn’t matter if it’s in Washington,”’ said Coeur d’Alene resident Anna Moos.
Moos called a Smith’s service number and a Portland retail store Saturday to see if she could pick up a dishwasher she paid for in Spokane.
Salespeople told her to fill out a court claim form and get in line for a refund. She doesn’t know if she’ll ever see her $460.
“We were willing to drive to Portland, even though it’s a seven-hour drive,” Moos said. “We didn’t want to waste our money.”
Raymond said for the time being, filling out the court claim form is the only recourse customers have.
“That may change, but right now we can’t (give them merchandise),” he said. “I’d love for people to come down and pick up their stuff otherwise.”
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: FOR CLAIMS To obtain a claim form, customers need to write the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Oregon, 1001 SW 5th, Suite 700, Portland, OR 97204. Customers who have extended service warranties and are in need of service should call Smith’s at (800) 275-8406, extension 881.
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