Steakhouse closed? Don't look gift card in mouth

Posted at 7:57 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 19:59:08-05

OXFORD, Ohio - You've got gift cards for a steakhouse. You go to the restaurant and there's a sign on the door that says they're out of business.

Now you're out of luck, and you feel cheated.

That's what happened to Chris Evans and his fiancée when they went to Dakota's the other night.

"It feels kind of like we got duped, that they sold us these knowing they were going out of business,"   Evans said.

The general manager at Dakota's denied that, saying that the decision to shut down the restaurant came only a few days before it happened.

Evans would have been out of luck completely if Michelle Patterson hadn't stepped up. She owns Patterson's Café in the same shopping center. Patterson worked out a deal with Dakota's to honor their gift cards.

"It's community good will to accept the gift certificates that were meant for Dakota's and we'll accept them here," Patterson said.

There's just a small hitch. Patterson's card readers can't read Dakota's cards, so if you have some, take them to Dakota's Thursday (4-7 p.m.), or Friday, Saturday or Sunday (11 a.m.-2 p.m.) and exchange them for a paper certificate.  Patterson's will honor that certificate dollar for dollar.  

"Because we're all neighbors and it's just community good will," Patterson said.

Evans would rather have steak.

"It's like comparing apples to oranges," Evans said.

OK, Patterson's isn't Dakota's, but Ohio Magazine did just rank it one of the best cafes in the state.

The Dakota's website lists four Ohio locations that are still open (Chillicothe, Hillsboro, Waverly and Jackson).

We're on your side with what to do if you have a gift card with a company that closes shop.

9 On Your Side Consumer Reporter John Matarese says gift card holders have no direct way to get their money back. They are last in line to get any of the company's assets.

So John says you should always use a credit card to buy a gift card. That way you can dispute the cost with your credit card company.