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Spa sold gift certificates before shutting down, clients frustrated

Posted at 6:36 PM, Jun 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 18:36:30-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Imagine buying a gift certificate only to learn you can only redeem half the value or no value at all. That's what customers of Vasaio Life Spa said happened to them. They were unaware a new spa occupies the location.

Leah Krusell said her husband bought the gift certificate "May 11th and the business closed June 6th."

She asked, "How don't you know that you're going out of business?"

Krusell is questioning why Vasaio continued selling gift certificates up until the business closed. Within a few weeks of receiving the $300 Mother's Day gift, Krusell said she went and got a massage and facial. Then she tried to put the certificate to use. But she learned it was no good.

Another spa, Douglas J, had moved into the location.

"Well, I thought that was kind of weird because well, how do they have all my information? They have appointment, and my telephone number (and) my email. You know, I started getting notifications for my appointment from them. So I kind of thought Vasaio changed their name," she said.

Krusell said she even had the same masseuse she's had in the past and enjoyed each experience. But since couldn't use the gift certificate this time and didn't want to double pay she decided to leave.

"Very upset. I just left because I wasn't getting any answers from the manager. All I was getting was, 'I don't know. I don't know,'" she recalled.

So Krusell reached out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers.

"I'm really doing this (interview) for other people out there to let them know that this situation is going on, and it's really unfair for all parties involved," she explained.

In an email to FOX 17, Douglas J's executive marketing director explained the following:

Thank you for reaching out so we can provide this information. Douglas J did not take over or purchase Alystyn LLC (dba - Vasaio Life Spa) in Grand Rapids. They went out of business and were evicted from their space and the bank repossessed all equipment. Douglas J was able to purchase the equipment from the bank at auction and then moved into that space after entering a new lease with the landlord.

The past owner, with whom we have no affiliation with, would have received all proceeds from those gift cards purchased from Vasaio. We are a different business and don’t have the ability to access the balances of those cards, nor do we have the dollar proceeds from those sales in order to redeem those cards. However, that does not mean Douglas J will not be working with any former Vasaio guest who might find themselves in this situation.

We understand the frustration of past Vasaio Life Spa’s guests. We are working with those gift card guests who have reached out, to provide credit toward services so they can experience our salon and spa. Douglas J services do not mirror all those once offered by Vasaio Life Spa, however, we will work with those guests to try and accommodate the best we can.

- Michelle Murad, Douglas J Executive Director of Marketing

FOX 17 spoke with Vasaio's former owner Craig Anderson by phone. He said he was told by Douglas J that Douglas J would accept the gift certificates when Vasaio closed. However, he told FOX 17 that Douglas J has no legal responsibility to accept the certificates.

Since Douglas J is honoring only half the amount of the gift certificates, Anderson said he's also working with customers to refund them the other half.  He said he's in the process of refunding five people so far. If you need help contacting him email