A chain of four day spas in Melbourne has closed just weeks before Christmas, amid claims from angry customers who have been left with gift vouchers that can’t be redeemed.
Groom Spa’s four outlets in Melbourne shopping centres at Chadstone, Southland, Doncaster and Fountain Gate all closed this week, with customers revealing on Facebook they received text messages on Sunday evening cancelling their appointments.
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The phone numbers listed for the beauty salons are answered by a voice recording that says “due to unforseen circumstances, this spa has been closed” and callers are directed to email the company’s client services department.
However, SmartCompany did not receive a response from the department this morning.
The Groom Spa website has been taken offline, as has its Facebook page.
However, customers have taken to a Facebook location page for the Fountain Gate salon to voice their concerns.
“I would just like to thank Groom Spa in Fountain Gate that sent me a message at 6.00pm on Sunday night to tell me they can’t keep my appointment on Friday because they are closing down,” said one customer on Sunday.
“Now not only is this a sad and shitty thing to happen to me as it was a significant gift voucher given to me by decent people but also to all the people they were still selling gift vouchers to knowing they were going to cease trading today.”
Other commenters said they now have no way to redeem gift vouchers worth as much as $300 dollars, while another person said they have been attempting to obtain a refund for gift vouchers since July.
While the Facebook page is not managed by Groom Spa, a former employee of the Fountain Gate salon responded to some of the complaints by saying the sudden closure “has come as a great disappointment to all of our staff and customers”.
“We have had to deal with the shock of this sudden closure as much as you have, and feel terrible for those clients who feel short-changed by the decision to close,” they wrote.
“We intend to try and reach out to as many of our loyal customers as possible to contact you directly.”
“Please understand that we are all devastated by the news, particularly being so close to Christmas and we are now in a position where we all need to look for new jobs. We never wished or wanted this for our clients as we have respect and loyalty towards you all.”
A spokesperson for Consumer Affairs Victoria told SmartCompany the regulator has received 13 complaints from Groom Spa customers since Monday morning, including complaints about Groom Spa not responding to calls and not being open so gift vouchers can be redeemed.
While it is not yet clear if Groom Spa has closed or under external management, the spokesperson says individuals with gift cards from a business that has closed or is in liquidation can contact their financial institution to request a chargeback on their credit card. If this is refused, they can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service. If someone has received a voucher as a gift, and the business is under external administration, the holder can register as an unsecured creditor of the business.
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