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As Art Van Furniture Files For Bankruptcy, Customer Complains He Can't Get Furniture He Ordered

CHICAGO (CBS) -- "Everything must go," say the signs as a liquidation sale progresses at Art Van furniture stores.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is offering huge savings. But as CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported Monday night, some customers at the Downers Grove store just want what they already paid for.

The huge savings and sales are providing little solace for those people, who say they can't get what they ordered.

Art Van furniture rolled out the red carpet when it expanded into Illinois in 2015. Grammy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson announced Chicago would love the furniture company.

Now the company sings the blues. Everything is on sale after the Michigan-based company filed for Chapter 11 – resulting in stores in five states, including 21 in Illinois, to shut down in 60 days.

"We sat back thinking like this week was going to be the week that we were push out the old couches and get some new couches," said Michael Vaccarella.

Yet all Vaccarella and his wife are left with are paid receipts for the furniture they waited six weeks on. Instead, he was left with some paperwork that he said meant "nada; zero."

But he paid Art Van a down payment of $400 and opted to finance more than $1,200 on the company's credit card. When he came to the Downers Grove store after learning of the liquidation, he discovered Art Van never processed the order.

"You took my order in January, well knowing this thing was never going to happen," Vaccarella said. "We were never going to get those couches."

Store credit is all that's available.

"Obviously, there is inventory there, but it's used," Vaccarella said.

When it comes to the transaction on the Art Van credit card, it is now pending – despite Vaccarella originally having more than a year to pay it off.

But he has no furniture, and now he has no idea what will happen in the next 60 days.

"The most we can do is obviously watch it, and then, you know, at some point, if they do charge it, what's my repercussion?" Vaccarella said. "Who can I go talk to."

CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said, "There's not a lot you can do."

Miller said customers across the nation in similar binds are forced either to go with what is in stock or fight in court.

"All of that will end up in courtroom and that's the last thing in the world a consumer wants," Miller said.

Customers who go to court will end up spending more money trying to get money back, and, Miller said, "Most consumers will say it's just not worth it."

Legal experts also say that you should never pay cash for a deposit – only use a credit card. In that case, should you find yourself in a situation like this, you can fight it with your credit card company rather than a bankruptcy court.

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