Couple says shop lost $30,000 rug
Suit says store had pair pay in advance for cleaning, then Turkish piece went missing
8/6/2008 - 8/7/08A Santa Fe couple is suing a local rug shop for allegedly losing their $30,000 Turkish rug after they took it there for repair and cleaning.
Albert Robinson and Susan Stockstill say in a complaint they bought the 7-by-10-foot "Hereke Ozipek silk-on-silk carpet" from a factory in Istanbul, Turkey, in April 1997. Stockstill, a lawyer, filed the suit in state District Court last week.
In March 2007, Robinson took the rug to Azhar's Oriental Rugs, 217 Galisteo St., to have it cleaned and a damaged section repaired, the complaint says. It says Robinson was told the cleaning would be $500 and the repair $750, plus the cost of shipping it to and from Turkey. He put down a $500 advance via a credit card and was told to check back on its status in July 2007, the complaint says.
When Robinson returned that month, it says, a clerk could find no record of the rug and told him to return later. The complaint says when Robinson returned with a copy of his receipt, his credit card charge ticket and a color photograph of the rug, the clerk said he did not have the rug, but showed him three invoices that appeared to have forged signatures.
One invoice put the value of the rug at $182,000, the repair cost at $5,280 and the cleaning cost at $750, the complaint says. It says documents shown to Robinson indicated the rug was shipped to a Houston address, and a claim had been filed with UPS for a missing rug valued at $182,000, but employees at the shop refused to allow Robinson to make copies of the documents.
Messages left for the owners or manager of Azhar's Oriental Rugs this week were not answered. According to the complaint, the shop is owned by Abbasid Inc., a Texas corporation; Phoenician Imports Inc., a Florida corporation; Azhar Said; and Bina Said, also known as Bina Shahani, Bina Advani and Bina Navani.
Robinson and Stockstill said they have sent Azhar's a letter demanding the return of their rug, but have yet to hear back. They say the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division has "had no success in their efforts to mediate, and advised Plaintiffs to file suit."
The complaint seeks return of the rug, damages of $30,000 — the estimated value of the rug — plus a refund of the advance payment of $500, or, in the alternative, trebled damages of $91,500.
Contact Tom Sharpe at 986-3080 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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