Customers can’t use gift cards after Elizabeth Grady closes – NBC Boston

Elizabeth Grady Beauty Company has been operating in Massachusetts for nearly 50 years. News of the store's unexpected closure this year was not well received by customers, many of whom were holding gift cards for expensive spa services and wanted their money back.

Twin sisters Megan Opie and Victoria Lambkin were regular visitors to Elizabeth Grady Salon in Braintree for years. They use the company's annual holiday gift card sale to stock up on spa treatments year-round.

“Typically around Mother's Day and early December around Christmas, if you buy an e-gift card, you can get 25% off. You're getting $400 worth of services, but you're only spending $300. So, in Over the course of the year, this is indeed a significant savings,” Opie explained.

When they heard the spa was closing at the end of March, they both had more than $1,000 in gift cards in their online accounts. They said they were unable to contact anyone from the company.

“You have a feeling of frustration… What do we do? … We save all this money as gift cards,” Opie said.

“I mean, it makes me sick just thinking about it because I get so excited just thinking about receiving these gift cards,” Lamkin said.

In January, Elizabeth Grady Beauty School in Medford closed. In a civil lawsuit filed by a lender last October over the financing, the company acknowledged that its business operations were in trouble because of regulatory issues with federal regulators. The company claimed that the Ministry of Education stopped repaying the financial aid they provided to students, putting them in financial strain.

More than a dozen of the chain's spas have either closed or been given new names. The company's website is now gone and its phone number is out of service. Our emails to company executives either bounced back or went unanswered.

“It felt very deceitful, very dishonest. … Like they knew what was going on. Like you don't suddenly wake up one day … and say, we're going to close all operations at the cosmetology school,” Opie said.

The last post on the company's Facebook page was dated January 2.

“Elizabeth Grady, do the right thing. Like, your client gave you money, they should get it back. If you're not going to get service at a different location.

The sisters said they filed a complaint with the attorney general's office in March and finally received a response in June.

The attorney general's office told them it had made “multiple attempts to contact the company and its owners, but they have not responded, and that all franchisees have either declined to provide relief or have not responded to our inquiries.”

The Attorney General's Office tells NBC10 Boston that consumers may want to consult with a private attorney to understand their rights related to Elizabeth Grady and its franchisees.

If you purchased a gift card via credit card, you can ask if your card offers any purchase protection that would provide a refund.

A good policy with any gift card you receive is to use it as soon as possible. Opie and Lamkin said they may never use gift cards again after this.

“I don't know if I would do anything like this again. Certainly not to the extent that we did… It's one thing to buy a gift card and then know I'm going to use it right away. But it's a little careless to do this kind of bankrolling,” they said told NBC10 Boston.

Elizabeth Grady has not yet filed for bankruptcy. If this happens, the consumer can file a proof of claim with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and be added to the list of creditors owed money.

But secured debtors, such as banks that provided loans, have priority before unsecured debtors, such as consumers holding gift cards from shuttered stores.

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