Business reinburses customers after closing
Shoeuphoria swaps gift certificates for cash after December closing
By: By Megan Sarrazin
| Posted: Saturday, Feb 09, 2013 06:00 am
St. Albert resident Tana Farrell says she got a lump of coal for Christmas.
She did not find herself on Santa’s naughty list, but instead was left with a valueless gift certificate after a local retailer closed her doors just after Christmas.
“I feel (the owner) … sold my family this gift certificate knowing that it was going to be no good,” she said. “I want my money back.”
Shoeuphoria owner Shannon Bizon said the decision to close the doors of the high-end shoe retailer was made at the last minute, adding she did not knowingly sell gift certificates that could not be used.
Bizon said she is reimbursing customers who have gift certificates to the business.
Farrell’s 14-year-old son purchased the $250 gift certificate to Shoeuphoria on Dec. 19 with the help of his father, thinking it was a great gift for his shoe-loving mother.
It wasn’t until the new year when Farrell was commuting to work down St. Albert Trail that she noticed a “For Lease” sign hanging on the window of the Grenier Place business.
“I stopped and looked in and they were already gone,” she said, adding the building was empty, the phone number disconnected and the business’ online presence wiped clean by Jan. 7.
Farrell said her son was bothered by the news, as he put a “big chunk of money” towards a thoughtful gift for his mom.
“He was very upset because he wanted to do something nice and he knows how much I love shoes,” she said.
Several attempts to contact the business and seek restitution were unsuccessful, until Farrell learned this week that Bizon was willing to reimburse consumers. Bizon said she has already reimbursed about six customers a total of $600.
The store spent one year in St. Albert Centre before relocating to the 200 block of St. Albert Trail last January, but a lack of buyers led to the ultimate closure of the business.
“St. Albert residents, I find, just don’t support small businesses,” Bizon said. “We just made a very last-minute decision at the end of December to close the store down.”
Bizon said she donated leftover inventory to Suit Yourself, an Edmonton-based charity that provides quality clothing to women entering the workforce.
Consumers with Shoeuphoria gift certificates can contact Bizon at email@example.com for reimbursement.
Gerald Kastendeick, director of communications with Service Alberta, said there is little recourse available to consumers when businesses close down without notice.
“If a company has gone out of business … there’s not a lot that the province can do. (Consumers) would have to go through a legal dispute on that to be named as a creditor and have that paid out,” he said.
Farrell was told by the Better Business Bureau, the City of St. Albert and the St. Albert and District Chamber of Commerce that there was nothing they could do to recover her lost funds.