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Call Kurtis Investigates: Troubled Upholsterer Still Doing Business Without a License

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Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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FAIR OAKS (CBS13) — An upholstery company accused of taking customers’ furniture for months at a time is at it again, more than a year after Call Kurtis first caught the company operating illegally.

State officials told CBS13 they would investigate Coleman’s Upholstery in October 2011, but Call Kurtis has learned officials could not locate owner Jerry Coleman, who moved shortly after a CBS13 producer visited his home business for answers.

But Call Kurtis found him when Cindie Poonamallee complained about the same thing 19 months later.

“He really needs to be punished for this,” she told Call Kurtis, after she paid Coleman a down payment of $546.25 in February to reupholster an old living room chair in a new fabric.

But instead of the week and a half turnaround she said Coleman promised — she said she’s been waiting two months and can’t get a call back.

The Goods waited six months in 2011 for Coleman to reupholster their chairs.

“We trusted him,” Dr. Robert Good said.

It wasn’t until a CBS13 producer spoke with Coleman’s wife he finally returned them, alongside an apology note saying, “There is no excuse.”

Poonamallee didn’t see that Call Kurtis report until it was too late.

“I felt like a sucker,” Poonamallee said.

But she’s not alone.

The Better Business Bureau reports receiving five new complaints from Coleman’s customers since October 2011 — customers reporting Coleman “does not return phone calls,” and “does not deliver on his promises.”

That’s why the BBB’s Gary Almond said the company was given an F rating.

“They don’t meet the standards of a good business,” Almond said.

Call Kurtis learned Coleman didn’t have the required license with the Bureau of Home Furnishings in 2011 — and still doesn’t.

A CBS13 producer called Coleman several times, but couldn’t get him the phone — but then he finally called Poonamallee to return her chair.

Our undercover team was there as he carried the chair into her house before trying to speak with him.

“Is there a reason you’re doing business without a license?” a producer asked.

“I am doing [business with] a license,” Coleman responded.

“You have a license, with whom?” the producer asked.

But instead of answering our producer’s questions Coleman got in his truck and drove off, leaving a blanket behind in Poonamallee’s driveway.

“Are you going to keep doing business like this?” the producer asked Coleman through his driver side window.

“No comment,” he responded.

“He shouldn’t be doing business,” she said.

Poonamallee admits her chair, now covered with a green fabric, looks good in her living room — but doesn’t like how long she had to wait.

Coleman called us back after returning Poonamallee’s chair and said he plans to get his license, and will do a better job returning customers phone calls.

He declined to share his updated business address.

“This shouldn’t have happened,” she said. “It shouldn’t have happened to anybody else.”

The California Department of Consumer Affairs said it can’t take any action unless they track Coleman down.

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