WINTER PARK, Fla. – The Home Shopping Network has stopped selling the products of a Winter Park business accused of not paying a vendor.
Bajalia International said it helps women artisans in disadvantaged countries become entrepreneurs, but one Afghan woman said Bajalia International is the reason she is out of business.
Debbie Farah, the founder and CEO of Bajalia International, has built a business that she says is devoted to helping female artisans around the world develop products for market.
"I founded Bajalia on a deep desire to help women globally," she says in a promotional video for the company.
She has sold many of those products on the Home Shopping Network, and said in a HSN YouTube video she empowers women around the world.
"In Afghanistan alone, we have created about 450 jobs," she said.
But HSN confirmed to News 6 it has "stopped selling Bajalia jewelry" and "removed it from its websites and programming," the CEO said in an email to News 6.
The move comes after Bakht Nazira said she was never paid for her products.
"The order she didn't pay for, it was $70,000," Nazira said in a Skype interview with News 6. Nazira is from Afghanistan, but now lives in Pennsylvania.
In a Bajalia International promotional video on YouTube, Farah and Nazira are seen looking at jewelry during one of Farah's trips to Afghanistan.
Both agree they had a successful relationship for years, but in 2014, Farah made a large order of bracelets and necklaces to be sold on HSN, and never paid for it, according to Nazira.
"I lost my business because of her," Nazira said. "Because she didn't pay us for three years and now my business has stopped, there is nothing," she said.
Fifty employees worked through Ramadan to finish the order and never saw a dime, according to Nazira.
Farah tells a different story, "I would say that she cost herself her business," she said.
Farah agreed to an interview with us, and had a crisis-management consultant and attorney present. The attorney at times tried to coach her through the interview.
"Don't say it like that. Just be blunt about it," the attorney said after Farah answered a question in a way that he felt wasn't strong enough.
Farah also showed News 6 her warehouse, where she said she still has the boxes of jewelry Nazira's company sent.
The order Nazira sent her in 2014 had sharp edges, missing stones and didn't meet the standards of her company or HSN, according to Farah.
Farah said she tried to return it, but Nazira wouldn't accept it. She said the quality of the merchandise was better when Nazira was in Afghanistan to oversee production, but changed when she moved to the states.
"Do you have a pattern of not paying people?" investigator Louis Bolden asked.
"We work with hundreds and hundreds of producers," Farah said. "If this is the only incident, clearly we don't have a pattern of this."
HSN wants to make sure of that. The network is asking for a full accounting of all products sold on HSN and status of payment to those vendors.