What to do when a business shuts down abruptly but owes you money

Sep 27, 2023, 10:25 PM

LAYTON — Jeanie Ortiz bought into a subscription plan for her treatments at Innovation Aesthetics. She says the clinic withdrew $139 directly from her bank account every month like clockwork. That was until the place abruptly shut down.

“They pulled almost $1,500 out of my account,” Ortiz said. “And I had probably $400 worth of work done.”

She got word about the closure in a text sent from one of the clinic’s technicians.

“To avoid issues with your membership, I’m going to cancel it and refund the months you haven’t used,” Ortiz read in the text message.

There’s the promise of a refund – a refund she said she hasn’t received. That’s even after months of reaching out to the clinic’s parent company, which is still in business.

“I thought things were paid for,” she said, “then they lock their doors.”

Feeling locked out of her money, Ortiz decided it was time to contact us.

At the Innovation Aesthetics clinic in Layton, the doors were locked and a sign on the door apologized for the inconvenience of not taking on new patients. But it seems someone saw us knocking because by the time we arrived back at the TV station, we had an email from Innovation Medical Group asking what we were up to. We told them about Ortiz’s situation and things got moving.

In an email, the company wrote they believed her concern had been handled and would reach out to her about her refund.

Ortiz confirmed with us that she got her money back. The lesson learned she said is that with her next service, she will pay for it more carefully.

“I’ll pay on a charge card,” she said. “Have control over it.”

Most credit cards have purchase protections that can get you a refund in a case like this. So, if you can’t get a hold of anyone at a shuttered store by phone, email, social media, certified letter, messenger pigeon, or whatever – try asking your credit card company to dispute charges for services and products you did not receive. Often, they will credit you during their investigation, leaving that business beholden to them, not you, if it goes under.

If that business is pulling money out of your bank account via debit card or directly, it could become more difficult to get your money back. If your bank doesn’t refund you, small claims court is an option. In Utah having an attorney is not necessary and you can file for as little as $60.

It just depends on how large of a claim you’re seeking.

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What to do when a business shuts down abruptly but owes you money