Customers left with worthless gift cards after changes at Fayetteville day spa

Diane Wilson Image
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Changes at a long-standing Fayetteville day spa are causing problems for customers who have unused gift cards.

Spa-goers are now left with hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards they say won't be honored.

The Renaissance European Day Spa has been a staple in the community for more than 20 years, and it's the good name that the new spa owners said they wanted to keep.

The gift card debacle started in July.

On July 2, the spa's Facebook page had posted a message that stated they were relocating.

The post said the spa was going from two locations, down to one, on Purdue Drive.

The post reads in part "... rest assured that all you VIP Memberships, Gift Certificates, Series, Packages, favorite retail items and so much more are still accepted at our Purdue location."

But then customers shared with ABC11 an email they received on July 2 that said, "REDS of Fayetteville, LLC purchased some of the assets (including the right to use the name 'The Renaissance European Day Spa')."

The post continued, "The purchase assets did not include any outstanding gift cards, series, coupons, or vouchers. Although not legally obligated and only as a courtesy, REDS of Fayetteville, LLC will honor gift cards, series, coupons, or vouchers that were purchased or given from the Renaissance European Day Spa-Purdue, LLC on or after July 1, 2017."

Annette Rala is one of those frustrated customers holding onto gift certificates that were bought before July 2017.

The gift cards have no expiration dates, so she wasn't in a hurry to use them.

"I don't think that anyone should be able to take my money and walk away with it," she said.

She called the spa and said that she was not happy with what she was told.

"The lady I spoke to said, 'We bought the name, we thought it was a good name,'" Rita explained. "I'm like, 'Well ok you bought the name, you think it's a good name so follow up, honor what you bought.'"

Michelle Fontaine is another unhappy customer who has gift certificates that were purchased before July 2017 but have no expiration dates.

She has four certificates that total $220 for the spa and said she was told that none would be honored.

Angela Hylland, another customer holding onto a spa package she got for a Mother's Day gift in 2016, said she had an appointment in 2017, but forgot the certificate so she just paid with her credit card since she knew there was no expiration date on the certificate.

But now, she said when she called the spa they told her the certificate was no longer valid.

The owners of REDS of Fayetteville, LLC would not talk on camera; however, they did sit down with me and said they started the purchase of the Renaissance European Day Spa in July 2017 and have been working on the deal the entire year.

They said at one point, the deal had to be restructured.

They claimed the final purchase agreement in July 2018 only included the assets of the spa, which are the equipment, client list, lease, and the name of the business, the Renaissance European Day Spa.

They insisted the deal did not take on any of the liability, like the gift card debt.

As for Annette, she said she wished the spa would have given its customers a heads up when the transition started so they could have used their gift cards.

"I could have taken a group of my friends and taken them for pedicures you know? It would have been used it wouldn't have just been gone," she said.

Annette spoke to the spa owner, and even though the certificates she has were purchased in February 2017, she was willing to work with her and offered her a $200 credit for future use.

The owner also told me she's trying to be fair and work with customers in good faith as she understands their frustrations but insists the purchase deal did not include these gift cards.

When it comes to gift cards, there is no specific North Carolina law that references how gift cards are honored when ownership changes.