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93A Demand Letter for gift certificate from business that is "closed" but hasn't filed for bankruptcy?

Hi,

In May, my wife graduated with a Master's in Education, and I chipped in with my parents and in-laws on a $285 gift certificate for a half-day spa treatment at MELT spa on Newbury Street. However, when my wife called this month to schedule an appointment to use the gift certificate the person who answered the phone said that the number she called is now the number for Shadowblade Salon & Spa, that MELT Spa is not longer in business, and that Shadowblade will not honor gift certificates for MELT Spa.

I contacted the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Consumer Hotline and described my situation. The person I spoke with said that I could contact the U.S. Bankruptcy Court (District of Massachusetts) to first determine if MELT, LLC had filed for bankruptcy protection, and that if MELT, LLC had not filed for bankruptcy, than I could send a 30 Day Demand Letter to MELT, LLC, under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A. I contacted the U.S. Bankruptcy Court (District of Massachusetts), and they confirmed that no bankruptcy filings has been filed for MELT, LLC.

I am planning on sending a 30 day demand letter using the template posted in this forum (http://www.malawforum.com/content/sample-massachusetts-93a-demand-letter)

However, I have the following questions:

1. Do you believe that the 30 Day demand letter is the best approach to resolve this situation and get some sort of refund? I have been unable to contact the owner of MELT through other means (i.e. a different spa uses their phone number now and the MELT website/e-mail is no longer in service).

2. Can you confirm that this situation (i.e. business has closed only operating location and therefore provides now way to redeem gift certificate, but has not filed for bankruptcy) is an "unfair or deceptive act(s) or practice(s)" under 93A? If so, if there any specific law or regulation I should be citing in the demand letter?

3. As stated above, I chipped in on this gift certificate with my parents, and in-laws. I believe my mom is the one who actually put it on her credit card. Who should be sending the 30 day demand letter. I would like to try to resolve the situation myself if possible, but my mom (who lives in NY) is the one who actually put the gift certificate on her credit card, and the gift certificate is in my wife's name.

Any advise is much appreciated!

Thanks,
Bryan

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The card was a gift to your wife, so she is the current owner.  I would have her file a complaint at small claims court.  Sorry, but I'm not aware of any law on point, and I'm not sure if the situation you describe constitutes an unfair or deceptive act.  Follow this link to a discussion of the issue of gift certificates from closed business, which includes a link to the Secretary of State's office.  If you discover that the new spa is owned by the same person as the closed spa, that sounds a lot more unfair and deceptive.  If she just went out of business or sold the business, I'm not so sure.  You can use the demand letter in any case.   Good luck.



Hello,
I am in the same situation with this business and am working on a 30 day demand letter as well. I'd be interested in connecting to see how you've made out.


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