11/27/2014

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Business

Kent spa closes, leaving customers with useless gift cards

Kent spa closes, leaving customers with useless gift cards

KENT, Wash. -- Heidi Quinn cannot believe what she did. Even though she feels like a victim, she knows she hurt others, too.

"I'm sick about it," she said.

This is all connected to the Elle Day Spa in Kent, where she used to work. The business closed four days after Christmas after what Quinn says was thousands of dollars in holiday sales.

She says it was a money grab.

"We did a lot of pre-selling of packages, like three to six hundred dollar packages for future services," she said.

Ellyn Ricker was one of those customers and is just as upset.

"There should have been some kind of a notification that this was a possibility," she said.

Ricker bought a $100 gift card for the holiday as a present for her son's girlfriend.  Now it isn't worth a dime.

"It certainly isn't ethical," Ricker said.

David Quinlan with the Better Business Bureau said it is likely that creditors and banks would get access to money first, rather than customers.

"Sadly, after the fact, it's awful because there's little recourse for the consumer," he said.

Customers and workers say this is because of Jake Hanes, an accountant turned spa owner. Hanes owned Elle, but he also runs Action Tax Preparation in Auburn.

Over the phone he said the spa could not stay afloat because he was paying legal fees. He said he's being sued over an accident where a woman fell and hit her head in the spa.

Asked if he could refund people for lost services and those gift cards he said "No, I don't have anything."

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