By Dorothy Tucker

CHICAGO (CBS)–Home improvement retailer, Home Owners Bargain Outlet (HOBO) filed for bankruptcy, leaving some customers without refunds. HOBO has five stores in the Chicago area.

Leroy Bell, Sr., a retired utility worker, is remodelling his dream home in South Shore.

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Bell ordered custom-made kitchen cabinets from HOBO in August, took the money from his pension and wrote a check for $12,885.

The cabinets were supposed to be delivered this month, but on Wednesday, Bell got an email from the Wisconsin manufacturer explaining HOBO hasn’t paid them. So, his order is unable to ship. Because the company filed for bankruptcy, customers like Bell cannot get a refund.

“What do I do now? I can’t afford to buy new cabinets, so how I am supposed to finish my kitchen?” Bell said.

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Sources inside HOBO told CBS the company has about a dozen vendors owed more than five million dollars. They have refused to ship custom orders to hundreds of waiting customers.

Managers at LW Mountain in Elgin estimate HOBO owes them at least a half a million dollars, and there are 50 to 60 HOBO customers waiting for flooring.

HOBO owes one of their vendors, a rug company, $376,000 for hundreds of rugs that have already been shipped.

The loss could also mean layoffs.

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Dorothy Tucker