Send Ben: Lights out for Jacksonville business leaves customers in dark

SEND BEN: Avenues Lighting in Jacksonville unexpectedly closes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax is investigating a local business that is being accused by customers of not delivering thousands of dollars in goods.

Customers started showing up to Avenues Lighting on the Southside early Wednesday afternoon, complaining they have been in the dark about getting merchandise they prepaid for over the past few months.

“How much are you out?,” asked Action News Jax reporter Ben Becker to one shopper. The response:“$4,800.” Another man said “$2,400.”

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Becker was first contacted by David Lambert, who sent Becker an email in January saying Avenues Lighting recently delivered the wrong $1,800 acrylic painting to his home, but he wasn’t the only one with a less than picture perfect experience.

Customers tell Becker their phone messages were not being returned and the store had been closed for days until a sign was posted that said it would re-open at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

When the store opened Becker discovered the store had filed for bankruptcy and the only people left inside were the liquidators, the customers wanting their stuff, including the Lamberts.

That’s when David’s wife Marilyn made a discovery -- her painting.

“That might be it,” said Lambert who ripped open a package to discover it was her painting. “That’s it David, this is it,” she said.

But that joy quickly went away because the liquidators hesitated to release the painting.

“Are they going to be able to get their painting?” Becker asked one man. “They paid for that painting,” Becker said to another man.

Finally, Becker produced the receipt.

“So, they’re good to go?” Becker asked. “They’re good to go,” the man responded.

“What’s going through your mind?” Becker asked David Lambert. “I’m in shock," he said. I need oxygen.”

“David said from the beginning. ‘I’m calling Ben,’” Marilyn Lambert said. “'and he’ll get it done.'”

The Lamberts have a happy ending but for other people who prepaid, they may never get their money or their merchandise.

As for the owner, Becker is told he left the business Wednesday. Becker is working to track him down.