ORLANDO, Fla. - A Winter Park flooring chain has suddenly closed its doors, and it’s left some customers scrambling to get their big deposits back.
Sheetal Nagda wanted to install wood floors throughout three large rooms but first the flooring company demanded a big deposit of more than $11,000 upfront.
Nagda said she trusted company owner Arman Canatay, so she signed the check.
"He came highly recommended from a friend's house where he had worked," said Nagda.
But the day after Nagda cashed the check, Sheetal said the company stopped answering the phone. When she drove to his flooring store, Ancient Elements, not far from Park Avenue, it had been shut down.
"It was a shock to me. I couldn't believe my eyes," said Nagda.
Canatay also owned US Stone and Tile, another flooring company at the same Winter Park address. The Better Business Bureau gave that store an F rating, and at least one other customer claimed they didn’t get what they paid for.
Nagda called the Winter Park Police Department for help in her case.
“They looked at the paper and said, ‘It’s a civil case. We cannot do anything,’” she said.
Consumer attorneys said these cases are difficult, and you have to prove what the company intended to do with your money at the time.
A big question will be, “Did the owner keep taking customers' deposits after he decided to lock up and shut down?”
“I think he knew he was going out of business or was going to close,” said Nagda.
Canatay’s current address appeared to be a home near Windermere, but a man who answered the door said he no longer lived there.
Canatay didn’t respond to Action 9’s questions.
Nagda has since contacted the Orange County Office of Consumer Fraud hoping it will investigate.
Action 9’s Todd Ulrich urges consumers to avoid deposits. If they’re unavoidable, use a credit card so you can later dispute a charge.