Customer advice: Don't wait to redeem what's yours


The closed store gave consumers a second chance, but now that second chance is no longer being honored. We talked to a woman who bought a spa package from a salon that eventually shut its doors. A letter from the former owner promised customers would be taken care of, but this week that promise was put to the test.

Some women who want to treat themselves head to the spa. That was the case for Catherine Musso, who paid $1,300 for treatments at Eterna Med Spa in Rice Village.

"They were lovely, had a wonderful experience," she said.

But Catherine was not able to use all of her treatments before the spa closed its doors in 2010. And while that may bother some people, Catherine did not worry.

She recalled, "I received a letter that they were closing but that their medical director would honor all the packages."

Because Musso had to take care of elderly parents, she filed away the letter and only recently decided to get the facials she bought two years ago.

Musso explained, "They told me they were not going to be honored, that the doctor was not honoring them."

The letter the old spa sent to Musso is not signed by that doctor or issued from his office. However the letter does not say there is an expiration date on any unused packages nor does it advise that consumers contact the doctor immediately. Musso worried her money was gone because she was unable to schedule an appointment.

Monica Russo with the Houston Better Business Bureau said, "If you wait several years, it's very possible you won't be able to redeem it."

Russo says customers of a failed business are rarely offered a second chance to get the services they paid for, so it's best to act immediately.

So we contacted the doctor referenced in the closed spa's letter. He told us there was no formal agreement to treat the spa's customers, but after speaking with us he has agreed to schedule an appointment for Mrs. Musso, which she says is good enough.

"It's probably the first time I have ever bought something like this and it will probably be the last," Musso said.

This is probably the best outcome possible for Musso. While there is no guarantee from the doctor, he is willing to meeting with Musso and may be able to come to an agreement for the facial treatments for which she has paid.

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