GARNER — A Wake County judge ordered Raleigh Geeks, a four-store Triangle chain with a location in Cleveland, to return customer property within five days or be held contempt of court as additional customer complaints flow into the state Department of Justice.
Superior Court Judge G. Bryan Collins granted a preliminary injunction against Garrett Foster and Timonthy Staie. It extended a temporary restraining order against a third defendant as the Attorney General’s office continues to try to locate him.
Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office filed suit against the computer, tablet and phone repair chain after the Justice Department received two dozen complaints. From the initial filing on May 9 to the ruling on May 19, the number of complaints has risen to 45, according to department spokeswoman Noelle Talley.
According to the suit, on a consistent basis Raleigh Geeks has been accused of poor workmanship, failure to complete work by the promised timeline, refusal to refund customers after they paid for inadequate repairs upfront or in some cases return their equipment, and confrontational, deceptive and rude behavior toward patrons.
Only one of three named defendants appeared in court – Foster – after none of them showed for a preliminary hearing. Talley noted that “the ownership structure in this case is tangled, and may be purposefully vague or misleading.”
Foster said in January that Staie, another defendant, was just a manager at the store. Yet one sworn affidavit from a customer claimed to have been told months earlier that Staie had been fired as he griped about him. Others also allege employee deception regarding their names and positions.
Staie had ownership interests in computer repair stores in Myrtle Beach that also received a deluge of complaints filed through the Better Business Bureau and other online customer review outlets. Steven Leo, the third named defendant, owned S&L Tech Systems and held the lease on the Cleveland store near the I-40 and N.C. 42 intersection through mid-2012. It was around spring 2013 that the store re-opened as Raleigh Geeks, but Talley said his “name came up in information provided by several customers.”
“At this point, we are trying to locate him to clarify his involvement and serve him with the lawsuit,” Talley said.
Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland