The Better Business Bureau warned customers to exercise caution when considering shopping at an Illinois-based retail store after nearly a hundred complaints were filed about the store's poor customer service.
BBB issued a press release Monday listing multiple complaints against Rural King Supply, a retail store headquartered in Mattoon. Rural King Supply sells a variety of goods and guns at locations in Collinsville and Waterloo.
Stores in Swansea and Highland called Rural King are part of a separate chain and are not affiliated to the Mattoon-based company.
In the complaints, consumers alleged false advertising, prices not being honored at checkout, products ordered but not delivered and overall poor customer service.
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The company, led by CEO Alex Melvin, has an “F” rating, the lowest on BBB’s scale, due to numerous unanswered consumer complaints and an underlying pattern of complaints, according to the BBB news release.
Rebecca Phoenix, BBB investigator, said less than one percent of businesses in the St. Louis and Southern Illinois area receive an "F" rating.
"It's not common," she said.
Phoenix said the ratings are based on how businesses interact with customers. Rural King, she said, has an underlying pattern of complaints, many of which were going unanswered.
Rural King representatives have recognized many complaints are based on poor service from the store's website, Phoenix said.
"The representatives said they had some glitches, but they welcomed feedback," she said.
The company has also been responding to complaints more quickly, Phoenix said, although it still has not addressed about 30 complaints from consumers.
"The BBB rating is not a guarantee of the business' reliability or performance," Phoenix said. "BBB recommends consumers consider the BBB rating in addition to all other information about the business."
Rural King in Collinsville has a 4.1 out of 5 rating based on Google reviews and the Waterloo location has a 4.3 rating.
Spokeswomen at the Collinsville and Waterloo locations said they were not able to comment Tuesday morning.
In the past three years, 91 complaints against the chain were closed with BBB. Many of the complaints were based on poor online service at the store's website, BBB reported.
According to BBB, one man from Tennessee filed a complaint with BBB about a year ago when he tried to buy a pistol online. The gun appeared in a Rural King advertisement for $310 but rang up with a $479 price tag when he clicked “buy.” He told BBB he never received a response from the company.
A woman from Gainesville, Fla., reported to BBB she was not able to cancel an order after a long wait to talk with a customer service representative because more than 30 minutes had passed and the order was ready to ship.
According to the woman, her order for four rocking chairs never shipped and she was charged a second time for the order, the news release said.
In the news release, Rural King’s vice president of marketing, John Leonauskas, acknowledged many complaints were related to the online business. He said the company’s new website and ordering system, implemented in April, “will provide better visibility (to view and track orders) for both customers and people in the stores.”