TARGET 8 investigates abrupt closing of Columbia spa

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COLUMBIA – Customers are looking for refunds following the unannounced closing of a Columbia spa.

Studio Fit Day Spa closed in early June without any warning to its customers who had prepaid for spa-treatment packages.

Moses Cortes bought two as a Mother's Day gift for his wife, Emily Harrison-Cortes, and her mother, Cathy Harrison. They cost a total of $286.

Harrison-Cortes, a nurse at MU Women's and Children's Hospital, was looking forward to a relaxing day, but when the two women showed up for their June 3 appointment, things did not go as planned.

She said the spa told her it could only provide half of the services they were promised due to a staff shortage that day. 

The women decided to reschedule the full appointment for June 17. The night before that appointment, Harrison-Cortes received a confirmation text message from the spa.

"We showed up, and we found that there was a sign on the door that said permanently closed," she said.

She said she and her mother then called the studio, only to find the phone number listed on its website was no longer in service.

After unsuccessfully trying to contact the spa's owners, Myrna and Melvin Roberts, Harrison-Cortes contacted the Columbia Better Business Bureau and KOMU 8 News.

She was not alone. 

According to the Columbia Better Business Bureau Regional Director Sean Spence, the agency received numerous complaints

"There may be as many as 100 or more people out there who are out their money," he said.

KOMU 8 News talked to Melvin Roberts who said the spa closed due to a staff shortage. He said the spa is not able to refund the gift certificates because it did not have the customers' contact information.

The case is now in the hands of the Missouri Attorney General's Office.

In a statement, deputy press secretary Elizabeth Johnson said Roberts has provided refunds to customers who contacted the attorney general's office and customers with outstanding complaints should contact the office as well.

Melvin Robers told KOMU 8 News customers can reach him directly by calling (573)-881-6768 or sending an email to melroberts48@gmail.com. You can also contact the Attorney General's Office's consumer protection hotline at (800)392-8222.

Spence said the Roberts' previous business record includes a 2013 judgment forcing them to pay a Kansas printing company about $400,000 in damages and attorneys fees. 

He said, "When you're dealing with a business like this, you want to make sure you do your research, make sure you know what their track-record is as a business before you start spending your money and to be super careful when you're giving money for services you're not going to receive immediately."

 

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