Suburban Chicago retailer Abt Electronics is suing a trucking company it hired to deliver televisions, appliances and other household electronics to customers’ homes and businesses, alleging the delivery company wrongly slapped on surcharges for services it did not perform, and was routinely late in completing deliveries, generating hundreds of formal customer complaints and a mass of bad online customer reviews aimed at Abt.

On April 13, Bellevue, Wash.-based AirGroup Corporation asked to transfer to Chicago federal court the lawsuit first filed in Cook County Circuit Court on March 8 by Glenview-based Abt.

AirGroup, which also does business under the name Radiant Global Logistics Inc., does business in the Chicago area from a facility in Bensenville.

According to Abt’s complaint, the electronics retailer, which operates just one physical location in Chicago’s northern suburbs, but also sells its products online, had contracted with AirGroup beginning in 2015 to deliver purchased products to customers. The complaint said AirGroup workers would pick up the products to be delivered at Abt’s Glenview location, and drive the product to customers throughout the U.S.

The contract required delivery to be completed in six days, according to the complaint.

However, the complaint alleged that from Oct. 31, 2016, to Dec. 8, 2016, 85 percent of the 2,570 shipments picked up by AirGroup from Abt were late, some “taking up to 70 days to reach customers.”

During that period, Abt said it had “received over 350 customer complaint telephone calls, hundreds of complaint emails, numerous negative reviews on internet sales sites and numerous negative reviews on various social media sites, as a result of AirGroup’s failure to timely deliver freight to Abt customers.”

Further, Abt alleged AirGroup “misrepresented the status of deliveries, transit times, and did not provide valid tracking numbers” when contacted by Abt or customers about the deliveries.

The complaint does not specify how much Abt estimates AirGroup’s alleged actions cost the retailer.

However, in its motion to remove the case to Chicago’s U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, AirGroup said Abt had presented it with invoices for those deliveries totaling more than $76,000.

Abt further alleged AirGroup had, without authorization, added a surcharge of at least $150 to more than 1,000 deliveries for “white glove delivery,” yet the delivery company “had not performed any or all of the requisite services” to merit that surcharge.

In its complaint, Abt alleged AirGroup had breached its contract, was negligent and engaged in deceptive business practices.

AirGroup is defended in the action by attorneys with the firm of Marwedel, Minichello & Reeb P.C., of Chicago.

Abt is represented by its staff attorney, Beth Shapiro.

The case is docketed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois as Case No. 1:17-cv-02801.


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