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Panache closes; customers left holding gift certificates

7:14 PM, Dec 10, 2013   |    comments
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ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- After being in business 26 years, Panache Day Spa of Orange Park has shut its doors.

"I've been a repeat member there for years, " said Sheila Shortal.

The salon has left customers like Shortal holding gift certificates that are useless.

On the company's Facebook page Lorri Howard wrote:

"You had to know you were closing; please do the right thing and credit those who bought certificates."

Shortal purchased her gift certificate November 30, a holiday treat for her husband.

"They knew it was for Christmas," she said. "They were giving out gift certificates at the time."

What she bought was not cheap.

"I purchased an extensive therapeutic massage for $145 and added a $20 tip," she said.

Six days later the owner, Yvonne Hill, sent her an email that they were closing the business on December 6.

"Somebody knew that they were going out of business based on that email," said Shortal, "They've had some rent problems for awhile.

The email explained that the plaza had a new owners that increased the rent and that was part of the problem.

The salon is now cleaned out, except for a few items in the rear, when On Your Side knocked on the door the person in the building refused to answer.

The email offers an apology, but fails to answer the question of refunds. 

"Are they going to give us our money back?" she asked.

The company in its email wished its customers a blessed holiday and New Year but Shortal said there's no comfort in that until the company makes good on the gift certificates.

"It will be awhile before I purchase another one of these gift certificates," she said.

First for you:

Before buying a gift card/gift certificate find out if there is an expiration date and if it can be used online. 

Choose a gift card with the Mastercard/Visa logo which means the card can be used almost anywhere

If purchase is with a Credit Card and there's a problem dispute the charges as quickly as possible.

Another local spa owner is offering to help. 

Adele LaVasseur is the owner of Friends Day Spa & Salon.  

She said she has been in contact with several of Panache's customers who have gift certificates and is willing to honor them with no additional cost to customer.

As in the Panache case file a complaint with the Florida Division of Consumer Services and the Florida Attorney General office.

First Coast News

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