A Sevierville couple says a local salesman failed to deliver their furniture on time. As a result, they were forced to cancel their contract. When the couple demanded their money back, the salesman sent a bad check.
Some furniture stores hire closeout salespeople. They come in as private contractors and run special sales to increase business. One furniture salesperson in East Tennessee has angered a lot of people.
“Well, we have spent about $18,000 on furniture,” said Gail Williamson.
Trent and Gail Williamson have twice paid for furniture this year. In late April, they bought a Catnapper chair, sofa and other living room furniture. They also bought a mattress, frame and bedroom furniture. It went into their new home in Sevierville, but they had already paid Sam Brehm close to $7,000 for the same furniture in February.
They first met Sam Brehm at Beds and More last November looking for a mattress. Brehm was at the store in Talbott to direct a closeout sale. Once the couple agreed on a mattress and bed frame, Brehm told them he could get them furniture, too.
“He said, ‘I’ve got all kinds of furniture.’ So he brought out a book to see what we could find,” said Trent Williamson.
Their November 27 invoice signed by Brehm shows a dozen pieces of furniture to be ordered. The price was $8,600.
“The next day, he called me and said, ‘I had a run-in with Beds and More, the manager,'” said Gail Williamson. “He has gone to Wholesale Furniture in Harriman.”
It’s a discount furniture store on Highway 27 outside of Harriman. At the store in December, Brehm ordered the same furniture already chosen with delivery in April.
“He didn’t want no check. He didn’t want no debit card. He wanted cash money,” said Gail Williamson.
The move into their new home was scheduled April 13.
“He said, ‘That’s fine I’ll have it there to you.’ Thirteenth came, no furniture. My wife called him back. He said, ‘I’ll have it there to you tomorrow.’ Cause he couldn’t get no help to go get it,” said Trent Williamson.
“He was going to take a friend and go get the Catnapper, but his friend, he could not get a hold of him,” said Gail Williamson.
“He said, ‘I can bring you a bed and mattress.’ But it wasn’t the mattress we had ordered,” Trent Williamson said.
Brehm said someone had sold their furniture and that two bedroom suites had come in, but looked cheap, so he sent them back.
Other customers of Brehm have shared similar excuses. Stephanie Thomas was fed up with Brehm in 2014 after waiting months for delivery of a bed frame bought in Sevierville. At the time, Brehm worked at the Great Smokies Flea Market, but management told us Brehm was asked to leave. On the phone, Brehm told Thomas and her husband their bed frame was at the warehouse, but he was unable to deliver it.
Jeannie and Jim Rhodes were sleeping on the floor when WATE 6 On Your Side met them because delivery of the bed, frame and mattress they ordered was delayed for months.
In 2014, Brehm owned Mattress Express in South Knoxville, now out of business.
“We’ve had to reorder it. We’ve found another manufacturer that can make the same bed you’ve got,” said Jim Rhodes.
WATE 6 On Your Side met Brehm four years when he was a closeout salesman in Sevierville. He didn’t like us asking questions and told us to leave the property.
The Williamsons were fed up when their furniture was not delivered in mid-April. They told Brehm to forget it.
“Just cancel my order and give me my back my $6,700,” said Gail Williamson.
On April 17, the couple received a letter from an attorney saying he represented Wholesale Furniture. The store’s attorney wrote the couple would not be getting their full refund and that the fine print said if they canceled, there’s a restocking fee. They were eligible for only for $4,400.
A check for $4,462 was sent to couple last week, but is was denied for insufficient funds. WATE 6 On Your Side went looking for Sam Brehm in Harriman, but didn’t find him.
The store’s manager Keith Allen said Brehm was a private contractor and left months ago. Allen said his store is not responsible for any of Brehm’s sales. Allen got us in touch with Brehm.
Brehm said his check was good and placed the blame on the Williamsons’ bank. Brehm said Gail Williamson would be wired the full amount of $6,700.
“I will transfer some tomorrow. I will transfer the rest on Monday,” Brehm said on the phone.
However, on Friday, only $4,400 was wired, according to the attorney’s office. The couple rejected the deal because it wasn’t enough money.
“If I do not receive my full $6,700, I will take it to an attorney and let him handle it. I had a lot of trust in him. I’ve learned a lesson,” said Gail Williamson.
The Williamsons signed an agreement and sent it to the furniture store’s attorney, accepting the $4,462 payment for canceling their contract. The couple never got any furniture and said they only heard “conflicting stories” about why the delivery was delayed when they ordered it months in advance.
Brehm says he’s done nothing wrong and that the Williamsons were at fault because they canceled the order.