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Tyler Viles said he made hundreds of decor and furniture pieces before the business failed.
Tyler Viles said he made hundreds of decor and furniture pieces before the business failed.

Updated: Local craftsman responds to BBB complaints

Posted online

First-time business owner Tyler Viles yesterday said poor money management led to the failure of his custom-furniture and decor business.

The Better Business Bureau in Springfield warned consumers on Tuesday of at least 10 complaints issued against Viles Woodworking of Republic, which did business as Tree of Life Woodworking.

Viles said he and his wife Hope about three years ago began advertising small, rustic decor items for sale on Facebook, made from pallet wood. Today, he says they are bankrupt and separated.

"It slowly grew over time," he said. "Somebody wanted a coffee table, and then an end table; somebody wanted a dining table."

As the business became more popular, the couple had trouble managing the supply chain and accounting. He said they also struggled to pay their household bills while funding the business.

"We kept getting busier and busier. We were booking them out, a month at a time," he said.

They began using deposits from new customers to finance the supplies needed for past orders, Viles said.

"But I thought, in my head, it was OK because we kept getting orders," he said, "and that I would be able to get caught up."

The business was 80 orders behind when the owners decided to file for bankruptcy protection last fall.

Complaints received by the BBB include customers who paid hundreds of dollars in down payments for products that were never delivered. In the BBB's consumer alert, officials said Viles had an ethical obligation to deliver the products or issue refunds.

Viles acknowledged some customers did not receive anything but others were refunded.

"People got their money back through PayPal. We're like $20,000 in debt to PayPal, because most people got their money back," Viles said, noting other customers received nothing. "But we tried our very best to do all the orders we could."

By November, the couple decided to try to make the business work again and took new orders, Viles said, but the problems persisted.

"It happened again," he said. "Starting a business is extremely hard when you have no money saved, and it's all the income you have because you're too busy to work a job."

Additionally, the couple split up, causing large amounts of stress and financial burdens.

BBB complaints and media coverage have attracted a lot of negative attention, Viles said.

"People never seem to go to the 700 or 800 people I made happy in the last three years, just the handful that I couldn't," he said of the 10 complaints filed with the BBB. "I ran out of money."

The entire ordeal, he said, has been stressful and damaging to his reputation.

"I'm a Christian man. I may not be doing the best right now, because of what I'm going through. But that's what the business started on - we love God with all of our hearts," he said. "But just because you're a Christian doesn't mean you're perfect, and I don't think people know that. They want to say, ‘This guy says he's a Christian, but he's stealing people's money.' I'm not stealing anybody's money. I planned to do what I said I was going to do. Things just happen."


2 comments on this story |
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Check the Greene Country Inmate roster. Tyler Viles was arrested (iI assume immediately following the SBJ interview) and is being held without bond for 1st Degree Harrassment. That doesn’t it really match up with the claims he just made in the article regarding his faith.

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Brenda Crebs

Thank you for presenting both sides of the story and giving this man a chance to share his side.

Thursday, April 5, 2018
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