As you may recall, the state attorney general’s office sued Bourbon & Boots Acquisition Co. LLC and its owner, Rod Ford, on April 2. The Southern-themed online marketplace is accused of violating the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Bourbon & Boots filed an answer to that lawsuit on May 22, denying every allegation and demanding proof of several claims.
Both parties requested a jury trial.
In the lawsuit, the AG’s office cited 55 complaints that Bourbon & Boots failed to deliver items ordered by consumers, failed to fulfill orders of advertised products and failed to refund money for unfulfilled orders or substandard products. The office also said it reviewed another 293 complaints made to the Better Business Bureau.
In its response, the company argues that “B & B’s ratio of consumer complaints to consumer transactions is substantially less than the national norm for similarly situated businesses and that, at all times, B & B has acted in good faith and in compliance with applicable law and the standard of its industry to address such complaints timely and responsibly.”
Bourbon & Boots also wrote that it has had “a limited opportunity to conduct discovery or investigate the claims that are the subject of the complaint.”
The lawsuit said the company’s website, BourbonandBoots.com, has been down since at least January. Its Twitter account, @BourbonandBoots, with more than 33,000 followers, remains active, tweeting out links to products on its nonfunctional website multiple times a day.
The lawsuit, filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, seeks restitution for affected consumers totaling nearly $20,000 and to impose civil penalties and other relief against the company.
Ford’s early-stage venture fund, XCelerate Capital, purchased Bourbon & Boots in 2015 for an undisclosed price.
Arkansas Business reported complaints after the sale by several vendors who said they were still owed payment from past invoices — a liability Ford said he never assumed. Later, some vendors said their designs were dropped from the company’s website and replaced with look-alikes provided by other vendors.