© June 15, 2008 The Beacon News, Chicago
Complaints being settled against piano company
June 15, 2008
By BILL BIRD firstname.lastname@example.org
Roughly 60 percent of the more than 100 consumer complaints filed against the owners of a now-closed piano store in Naperville have been settled by officials of the Illinois attorney general's office.
At least 64 of an estimated 102 customers used credit cards or financing plans to bankroll their purchases from Piano Experts, formerly located at 1163 E. Ogden Ave. on Naperville's northeast side.
Those buyers have had their debts eliminated as part of an ongoing collaborative effort between the Naperville Police Department and Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office.
Thirty cases involving customers who either left deposits or paid in full for their pianos with cash or checks remain unresolved, according to police Cmdr. Dave Hoffman and Natalie Bauer, a spokeswoman for Madigan's office. The total loss sustained by those buyers is believed to exceed $150,000.
Bauer said Madigan's office is mediating those matters and attempting to negotiate settlements for the affected customers. Eight other people are in talks to trade pianos they already own for newer models, she said.
Piano Experts closed its doors last winter. It was operated by brothers Paul and Peter Biasco, whose family has sold musical instruments in the Chicago area for nearly 70 years.
Customers complained that Piano Experts never delivered on their purchases, with the Biascos and their employees often blaming the trouble on piano manufacturers.
Some of the buyers whose cases remain unsettled are reportedly pressuring police and Madigan's office to pursue criminal charges against the Biasco brothers.
Hoffman said detectives are in the process of securing additional business-related documents from the Biascos. Those records could help police determine whether the brothers deliberately defrauded customers or merely engaged in bad or inept business practices, he said.
The financial losses customers initially reported to police totaled nearly $600,000.