December 5, 2004
Kitchen Distributors of America
If Kitchen Distributors of America located at 133 South Rowling Road in Addison, IL 60101 sent you a Statement in the mail in the amount of $4,453.56 with absolutely no backup invoices, no signed sales contract or no signed sales order, what would your reaction be?
Well, it happened to me. I sent the the following letter to Kitchen Distributors of America after a few phone calls to resolve the matter were unsuccessful. My phone records and theirs will confirm we both called each other. The letter was sent via Certified Mail with a Domestic Return Receipt Request. I did get back the little green postcard so I know for a fact that Kitchen Distributors of America received the following letter:
Mr. John Barrett
November 12, 2004
Re: Invoice # 4173255
Sent: CERTIFIED MAIL / RETURN RECEIPT
Dear Mr. Barrett:
I am writing to you with respect to the above invoice. I am a journalist and deal each day in facts. The following are some facts that may pertain to the above invoice you created.
I received in the mail on November 10, 2004 a Statement from your company that indicates invoice #4173255 is past due. Your company has never sent me a copy of the actual invoice. How can your Statement indicate an amount is 120 days past due when I have never been issued an original invoice? Why is this the first Statement to be mailed to me? This type of business practice is very suspicious.
There is no description on the Statement as to what this dollar amount is for nor is there any written support documentation that supports that it is even valid. Examples of support documentation would be: a signed contract or sales order, signed and approved design documents for custom cabinetry or countertops, signed delivery documents indicating where the goods were delivered, etc.
Three and one-half years ago I entered into an agreement with Merillat Cabinet Company to exchange cabinets for advertising on my AsktheBuilder.com website. Merillat chose Kitchen Distributors of America (KDA) to act as the distributor for this transaction. I did not ask Merillat to use a distributor. That decision was their own and had no impact whatsoever on my relationship with Merillat.
I had no contract, sales order, written or verbal agreement with KDA concerning this matter. KDA was simply a facilitator, enlisted by Merillat, to help with the design of the project.
The subsequent exposure I produced via my syndicated newspaper column and website for Merillat was so successful that they asked me to expand and extend the opportunity. KDA was also thrilled with the exposure I indirectly brought to them via hyperlinks on my AsktheBuilder.com website.
Merillat, not KDA, asked if cabinets could once again be used to extend the advertising arrangement. I said yes and they sent additional cabinets with miscellaneous trim to me.
For the record, my contact at KDA for all design work was Ms. Rachel Jurs-Lauderdale. Her direct phone number is 630-773-2010. I urge you to call her to confirm the above details.
I add once more I never had an oral or written contract with KDA. All of my obligations were to Merillat for all cabinetry. I fulfilled my obligations to Merillat years ago.
You indicated to me in a phone conversation that happened on November 10, 2004 on or about 5:05 - 5:20 p.m. Eastern Time the following:
Here are several additional points and facts:
An internal audit at the time of the transfer of ownership of KDA from the former owner to the present owner possibly failed to identify this invoice as a problem. One or more people made a mistake at this time. Either the former KDA owner lied about the status of the invoice, the auditor was incompetent or the new owner ignored comments made by the auditor that the invoice may be problematic. If this was a valid invoice, why did not the former owner of KDA contact me or Merillat?
It is not my obligation to prove to you that I don’t owe you money. The Uniform Commercial Code mandates that it is KDA’s obligation to produce written documentation that offers solid proof of a business relationship between two parties. No such documentation exists between KDA and Tim Carter.
I urge you to produce written evidence showing a signed contract or sales order for specific goods between myself and KDA. If you can’t do this within 3 business days, then I strongly urge you to issue a letter to me stating that I do not owe KDA any monies for any goods or services. Please send the above requested materials to me via overnight express. Time is of the essence.
If I do not receive the above requested documentation at the close of business on or before November 19, 2004, I will publish the above facts on the Internet. Do not interpret this as a threat - it is a simple statement of fact.
Furthermore, if KDA does not resolve this issue to my complete satisfaction on or before November 19, 2004, I am going to file an official complaint with the Attorney General of the State of Illinois.
By November 19, 2004 I had not received any requested documentation nor comments from Mr. Barrett at Kitchen Distributors of America. On November 21, 2004 I did file a formal complaint with the Attorney General(AG) of the State of Illinois. I filled out a very user-friendly .pdf form at their website and sent it along with a copy of the above letter and a copy of the Statement to the AG on November 22, 2004.
I didn't post this information to the Web until today because I wanted to see if Kitchen Distributors of America would contact me in writing or supply any of the documentation.
As of this date, I have yet to receive a phone call, a trackable overnight express shipment or a certified letter from them challenging anything I said in my above letter.
Posted by Tim Carter at December 5, 2004 9:32 AM