Target 8: City of Columbia looks into business operating without a license
COLUMBIA — Recently, KOMU 8 News aired a story regarding complaints made against a local business. A group of women reached out to share their experiences about a store called Stop, Drop and Swap. Since that story aired, KOMU 8 News has received many more complaints and also learned the owner of the store, Kimberly Collier, does not have a business license.
Business Services Manager Janice Finley told KOMU 8 News Collier's husband applied for a license in August and was denied because they did not have a valid Missouri sales tax license number.
"She is not conducting her business properly and not providing the customers the services or the product that she said she was going to," Finley said.
Finley said she has received evidence from consumers that prove Collier is operating as a business even though she does not have a license. She said now that it is clear Collier is doing business she will be contacting the City Prosecutor who will begin to look into the business. She said the case will likely be taken to municipal court.
Finley said this situation is a unique case that is unlike others because business owners typically have a license even if problems occur. She said if the city has enough evidence that a business owner is not abiding by the city ordinance, it can take actions to to remove their license.
Since the first story aired, Collier has started a new customer service system on the shop's Facebook page.
KOMU 8 News first reported on this business on November 18. Since then, many others have come forward with similar complaints regarding Collier and her business practices.
Columbia resident Brooke Conner said after making an order she reached out to Collier after having an issue with her refund.
"I kept reaching out to her and she would just ignore my messages. Finally I called my bank and they said they had returned my money for a fraudulent charge," Conner said.
Conner said she emailed Collier to let her know her bank had reversed the charge.
"Then she responded to me and went on and on saying now I got paid double," Conner said.
Conner also said Collier deleted her from the Facebook group after that.
KOMU 8 received many comments on our first story showing others had similar issues:
Finley said it is likely Collier is not collecting taxes either since she does not have a valid license to run a business.
Finley said it is important for consumers to reach out to the city if they think a business is not being operated properly.
"If they're wondering about whether or not a business is licensed they should give us a call," Finley said.
She said this type of situation does not happen that often because businesses usually fix any problems after they are contacted. She also said the city was not made aware of this specific situation until now.
"If a business has a license and they don't come into compliance then their license is revoked. Also, for every day they don't have a license they can be fined up to $1000," Finley said.
Collier sent this statement to KOMU 8 News Tuesday night:
"I have been in contact with city officials and I am working through the lengthy process to obtain a business license. I expect to be finished very soon. In working with city officials, I have never been made aware that I had to stop conducting business as I waited for the process to be completed."