IONIA, Mich. — An online shop based out of Ionia faces allegations of unlawful business practices from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.
The attorney general’s office sent a notice of intended action to Heather Helsel and her business, One Stop Diva Shop, on Wednesday. It described the number of unfulfilled and outstanding orders indicated in consumer complaints about the store to be “concerning and unacceptable.”
According to the letter, One Stop Diva Shop allegedly knew it could not provide certain products within a reasonable time, failed to promptly repay customers, and committed other violations of the state’s Consumer Protection Act.
Recent complaints from the Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan prompted the attorney general’s office inquiry.
“Most people were spending between $50 and $100 a piece on some of the products that were being sold on this website,” said Katie Grevious. “To some people, that’s a lot of money and you can’t just lose that kind of money.”
Grevious is a communications specialist with the Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan.
The letter said in the complaints received, customers from across the country placed orders but have not received the products after waiting for several months. It also states that people have struggled to reach the store for updates on order statuses or refunds. If someone from the business replied, supplier or vendor issues were often cited as the reasons for order delays.
“In this case, there wasn’t a clear terminology on what kind of a refund they were going to be provided with, and also they didn’t get their products,” said Grevious. “That’s part of Michigan law. You have to know what you’re supplying and that if you’re going to promise it to be provided within a certain amount of time, you have to follow through with that or you have to let those customers know.”
In January, FOX 17’s Problem Solvers began to look into One Stop Diva Shop after we received messages about issues with the store.
“I was still mad at how all of this came to happen,” said Rhonda Foate, who lives in Macomb Township, Michigan.
Last November, Foate bought clothes and wine covers from One Stop Diva Shop. It totaled to $75.
After no shipping updates for three weeks, Foate asked for her money back in an email sent to Helsel.
Helsel cited problems with vendors, but promised to ship Foate's items soon.
By mid-December nothing had shipped to Foate. She disputed the charge with her credit union and awaits the money.
“I would never buy off of a boutique site again,” said Foate. “That’s too bad because I know there are a lot of them out there that are for real, but I just would never do it again after this. It left a bad taste in my mouth.”
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Kelly Bacheller also disputed three of her orders from One Stop Diva Shop after she says she failed to receive most of the shirts, shoes and other products she bought in November.
Bacheller lives in Oregon.
“It’s just frustrating,” said Bacheller. “You think, ‘Oh, I work hard for my money, and if I want something and I pay for it, you expect to get something in return.’”
FOX 17’s Problem Solvers have been in contact with Helsel since January. Despite repeated attempts to get her side of the allegations, Helsel claimed to be unavailable.
In February FOX 17 went to Helsel’s house in Ionia. After a few knocks, she eventually came out, but said she had no available time for an interview.
FOX 17 reached out again on Wednesday after receiving the attorney general’s letter. Helsel said she needed to talk to her attorney.
According to the letter, Helsel told an investigator with the attorney general’s office that One Stop Diva Shop took off quickly when it opened in fall 2021 and that Helsel had issues getting product delivered from vendors when a consumer placed an order.
It added that Helsel said she was trying to work through the unfulfilled orders but people had received refunds through their credit card companies or banks. She also told the investigator that she had happy customers who received their orders.
Helsel has 10 days to respond to the letter. If she does not, the attorney general's office threatened a lawsuit or to invoke a judicial process for a formal investigation. She must provide all outstanding orders and point-of-sale data for One Stop Diva Shop sales from Sept. 1, 2021 through March 9, 2022.
One Stop Diva Shop's website is no longer in operation.
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