Furniture company accused of not delivering products, failing to refund

WEST MICHIGAN — Sandra Kohnke said she liked the woodwork she saw advertised online by a furniture company called RiverGrain. She even went to see their products in person. Kohnke said she ended up paying to have a farmhouse bed built in early November 2018.

"The deposit was half down plus delivery fee. So $250 down plus a $75 delivery fee," she recalled.

Kohnk explained, "I signed a contract that stated two to three weeks."

That time came and went. Since then, Kohnke said owner Ian Kelley and his business associate, Ashley Shippy, have given her and her husband nothing but the runaround.

"I asked a couple of times for a refund. My husband asked for a refund, and (Kelley) told us, 'No, we don't do refunds on custom furniture.'"

Kohnke said it wasn't custom, and it wasn't even made yet.

Jim Tepin, another customer said, "My wife and daughter hooked up a trailer, rode through the snow, got all the way down there, and I got a phone call saying nobody's here."

He said his wife, Michele, made a 72-mile roundtrip to Freeport in December for a scheduled pick up of the furniture that they now believe may not exist.

For $300, Tepin said his family's only been strung along by Kelley with excuses and empty promises.

"I'm not lacking in compassion, and I appreciate people that do work with their hands. So I thought, 'Alright we'll give him a break, but the deception was just to much,'" Tepin said.

Despite RiverGrain stating it closed shop in February on its Facebook business page, Tepin said a friend of his had recently managed to set up an appointment. Numerous Yelp reviews echo the same headaches as Tepin and Kohnke.

So Tepin reached out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers, and we called Ian Kelley on the spot.

Kelley said he'd settle with everyone.

"It's not like we're looking to cheat anybody or to do anybody wrong," he said.

When asked, Kelley didn't want to set a date on repaying customers.

While he wants RiverGrain to succeed, Tepin said, "I just don't want more people to be taken in by him."

Kohnke said of Kelley, "Get your priorities straight. Get things in line. Be honest. Be upfront."

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6 comments

  • Dan

    I had the same experience. 2-3 weeks turned into 2-3 months. Every pickup date was canceled with lame excuses. I finally told them I’ll be at your door this day it better be ready.

    • Chelsea

      We have tried this tactic. He weezles out or just won’t show up. We tried reasoning with him for 5 months, still ended up in small claims court.

  • Chelsea

    Ian has also scamed us out of $1200 . Just filed to take him to smalls claims court. I’m so glad this is has gone public. If you need any more information on this scammer I’d be happy to answer any questions.

  • Julie P

    I had the same experience with this company. I ordered a farmhouse bed in October, was told 2-3wks turnaround time. After MANY failed promises of completion and delivery, the bed was finally delivered almost 2 months later. However, the bed had multiple areas of missed stain. When I informed Kelley of this, he promised to share with me the stain I could mix to fix the custom bed I just paid him for. After many reminders and requests for the info, he never followed through. So I have a custom unfinished bed. Very frustrating.

  • Tracye Tuinstra

    I ordered a bed in July 2018, paid a $400 deposit, and was strung along for months. Finally, in December, he said he could not make it and he would give me a refund but he couldn’t tell me when. I knew I wasn’t going to get my money so I offered to take a dresser in trade. I’ve been waiting for that since December. If all of us have been scammed out of our money, at what point does this become a criminal matter and not a civil matter?

  • Jim Tepin

    I was involved with this story. Ian has refunded my money. I believe he is making a good faith effort to get things on track, and I hope he can continue to do right by people and continue his business.

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