UPDATE 2/24/16: A number of salons have announced they will now accept gift cards from the closed Sableux salon in Northern Kentucky. See below for the list.
A locked door, no explanations, and unused gift cards worth hundreds of dollars have left a number of Northern Kentucky women very upset.
Carol Cook is among several others with gift cards to Sableux Spa, a popular Northern Kentucky salon that locked its doors without warning. A sign on the door just says "closed until further notice."
"I was here less than a week ago, and nothing was said to us," Cook said.
Tammy Day said "I called them and it went straight to a recording, that said to leave a message, and said this mailbox is full."
Marianne Eggbers bought over $200 in gift cards.
"They had a promotion for the gift cards for Christmas, and I went ahead and bought gift cards for family and friends," she said.
What Are Your Rights?
Unfortunately this happens all too often with salons, restaurants and other small businesses.
So what can you do to protect yourself, and if you are stuck with a gift certificate to a closed business?
Sandra Guile of the Better Business Bureau says don't just assume your card is worthless: make a lot of noise to the business if you can still reach them.
"If the business is about to go out of business, the consumer can contact them saying OK if you're not going to honor them, are you going to refund my money, or is there a competitor where I can use my gift card," Guile said.
If no one answers, she says you should contact the BBB and your state's Attorney General.
We Get Answers
So we got involved, and contacted the co owner, Shelly Summe, who is also a partner in a Cincinnati spa, Bleux Water in Columbia Township. We asked what customers with gift cards can do.
Summe explained in a statement over the phone "the decision to close was not easy, but necessary due to ongoing losses."
But she said "Bleux Water will honor Sableux gift cards." To reassure customers, she added "Bluex Water is owned by a different company, and is separate and independent."
That's good news to these women, though they remain unhappy about the lack of warning, and the employees who they had built relationships with.
Dianne Timmerding said "my heart goes out to the people who work here and are looking for jobs, and there is no explanation."
Other Salons Offer Help
The following salons say they will accept gift cards to the closed Sableux Spa:
- Bleux Water, Columbia Township (sister salon)
- MiSalon, Florence
- SOTO, Salon on the Ohio, Mt Adams
- Serenity Massage & Bodyworks, Ft Mitchell
- Core Massage Studios, Indepenence
- Dillard's salon, Crestview Hills
Awaking Therapeutics in Erlanger
How to Protect Yourself
Finally, the Better Business Bureau also suggests you:
- Purchase gift cards with a credit card, not cash or credit, to protect yourself.
- Use gift cards as soon as possible, or any business.
Don't put them away for 6 months, because you may forget about them, and there are no guarantees any business will still be in business 6 months after..
As always, don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.“
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