MILWAUKEE — Complaints are piling up against the Milwaukee furniture restoration store, Cream City Restoration. Clients are flooding social media with bad reviews demanding refunds after paying for a service they say they never received.
Karen Friedberg is one of them. Friedberg says she contacted the company to consign a pair of her mid-century modern sofas.
She wanted them refinished, then sold, and she says after nearly a year of nothing happening, she asked for them back. She showed us images of what her couches looked like before she says she handed them over to Cream City Restoration and then images of her couches disassembled.
She wrote this addendum when she received them from the owner, noting the couches had been taken apart:
"My couches, they were literally gutted," she told the I-Team.
"And one is definitely not my couch," she added. "I looked on Facebook and happened to start reading Facebook reviews and saw there were so many stories that were similar to mine."
The I-Team found customers complaining about missing furniture, missing money, and poor communication, and some are even from different states.
It's the same with Google reviews and Better Business Bureau complaints.
The consumer agency gave the furniture store an "F" rating.
Wisconsin's consumer protection agency, known as DATCP, tells the I-Team it received five complaints related to the store. The state agency could not comment or confirm any potential investigations.
Besides Karen Friedburg, other consignors, buyers, or people who used Cream City Restoration for shipping spoke with the I-Team.
Buyer Kasey Leaf and her fiance say they are out about $2,500 for a pair of mid-century modern chairs they bought in November and never received. They were told they would get the chairs next month.
"We have not received any money from him," Leaf said.
Small business owner Eliza Brooker says she's out $1,750 for a desk and the costs for shipping it to one of her clients. She hired Cream City Restoration to do that but says her client never received it.
"I don't care about getting the desk back. I just want my money because I have to refund the customer," Brooker said.
Customer Maggie Kerr says she's out at least $500 for work she paid for that she says was never finished to several of her chairs.
"I just don't want this happening to anybody else," Kerr said. "I'm still trying to be patient!"
Many of these clients say they can't reach the owner or if they do, they can't seem to reach a resolution.
Cream City Restoration is no longer operating at its downtown location on Water Street and when we called the listed number, the voicemail instructed us to email the company instead, which we did. The owner responded, telling us his attorney would be in touch.
The I-Team heard from Orchard Park, LLC, the landlord of Cream City Restoration’s warehouse location. The landlord said the tenants entered into an Eviction Avoidance Agreement in January, 2022.
The I-Team got in touch with a bankruptcy attorney for Cream City Restoration, who says he was hired to help shut down the business. He's in the process of getting the names of everyone who is missing money or missing furniture.
If that's you, you can reach out to him via email at email@example.com.
In the email, you need to show a receipt to prove you are a customer of Cream City Restoration and include a description of the loss you are claiming.
The attorney told the I-Team that clients who are missing furniture should likely get their property in about a month. For those missing money, that may take up to four months.
"We are just really saddened by the experience. We were excited just to support a local business and it just really sours the experience," said Leaf.