TELLER COUNTY — Many people receive gift certificates and merchandise cards during the holidays or for special occasions, but what happens if that business goes out of business or changes ownership?
Bill Emery received a gift certificate for a weekend getaway in Teller County last Christmas, but he later discovered the vacation company was no longer accepting those vouchers because the business had been sold.
"We wanted to enjoy two nights in a beautiful cabin in the Pikes Peak Region," Emery said.
Teller County is the perfect place to escape the big city life that sits on the other side of the mountains.
Emery's wife spent $355 in December 2020 on a two-night travel voucher they had hoped to use this Spring with a company called "Colorado Mountain Cabins".
"I called and tried to get connected so I could make reservations and the number was disconnected," Emery said.
We also tried calling the number to Colorado Mountain Cabins and got a disconnected line.
News 5 Investigates checked with the Better Business Bureau and found the company is an "A+" accredited member, but the BBB did not have any updated contact information for this business either.
The phone number listed on the BBB's web site is the same disconnected line we called, and the web site listed for Colorado Mountain Cabins is no longer "active".
We discovered the owner of Colorado Mountain Cabins, Alan Young, sold the business following hardships during COVID-19. However, we confirmed he still owned a spa company in Woodland Park.
The phone number for the spa company did work, and that's how Emery was originally able to reach the owner before he contacted News 5 for help.
"He (Young) told me that he would look into it and see what he can do to get it taken care of for us," Emery said. "It's been four weeks now. I've called back several times after two weeks and three weeks. I continue getting a voice message on the company line. I'd like the right thing to be done. I'm not getting any help."
News 5 sent Young a certified letter that was not answered. A phone call to the spa business was not picked up, although we later learned we called on a day the spa was closed.
After waiting a few days, we decided to show up in-person. When we arrived, we spotted Young in the parking lot about to leave the spa business for the day.
Young promised he would make things right for Emery, and we're happy to report he did keep his word.
A few days after our conversation, Emery received a refund in the mail.
"Everything seems to be resolved on our end," Emery said in a follow up email to News 5. "Mr. Young was also kind enough to give me a follow up phone call to make sure I had received the check. I don't think this would have been possible without your help."
News 5 would like to thank Young for making things right in this situation.
Tips when dealing with gift cards and certificates:
Always check expiration dates. Some certificates are only valid for a limited period of time. In this case, Emery's voucher showed it was good through this year (2021) so he was entitled to a refund.
If a business goes out of business or changes ownership, first try to resolve it directly with the business owner. If their web site and phone numbers are disconnected, you can usually find their address or additional contact information through the Secretary of State's web site.
If a business is refusing to honor a valid gift card or certificate and will not issue a refund, you should file formal complaints with both the Better Business Bureau and consumer protection division of the Colorado Attorney General's Office.
Have a problem or issue you'd like News 5 Investigates to look into? Email us: News5Investigates@KOAA.com