Shoe store won't honour gift cards online after closing brick-and-mortar shops
Ross McLaughlin and Sandra Hermiston, CTV Vancouver
Published Tuesday, April 25, 2017 6:00AM PDT
A Vancouver woman was left with a $259 gift card after a local shoe store shuts its doors. But what surprised her even more was the fact the company’s online store, which was still up and running, wouldn’t accept that same gift card when she tried to buy a pair of shoes.
Barbara Whychopen reached out to McLaughlin on Your Side after she attempted to enter her gift card into the online checkout of the Ella Shoes website. The card was declined, despite the site accepting her Visa for payment.
“They’re still selling shoes,” said Whychopen, “Now I’m out of luck,”
Moneris, the company that tracks the gift cards, confirmed to CTV News that Whychopen’s card was still valid. And in B.C., consumer protection laws say that gift cards can’t expire. However, that doesn’t help you if the business goes under. If there’s a bankruptcy you’d have to line up to get your money back like any other creditor.
When Ross McLaughlin searched, he found no bankruptcy records. But he did find court orders filed against the company for debts owed in the amount of $36,457. A sign posted on the closed business doors also states that Ella Shoes owes its landlord $15,292.
“This is my money on these cards," said Whychopen. "And I would like them to honor these cards."
Jorge Rodriguez and his wife Jenny are behind Ella Shoes. McLaughlin contacted Rodriguez by phone.
"We are going to for sure pay for this to them. We need some time. After the business closed you know so many issues," explained Rodriguez, "We have more clients – we are working with them now."
"I can take your word for that?” asked McLaughlin.
"No problem. Yes for sure," Rodriguez answered.
A couple days later, McLaughlin received a text which stated a payment was made in full to Whychopen's PayPal account.
“I'm very happy and thank you very much,” said Whychopen, “I think we did a great job together resolving this and I hope that he feels he's done the right thing."
We don't know how many others had outstanding gift cards but the owner of Ella Shoes told us he'd take care of them. If you're one of those customers you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.