'You ripped all these people off:' West Bend spa closes without warning

WEST BEND -- Customers were shocked when a luxurious spa shut down without warning. Some of them were left with hundreds of dollars in unused gift cards.

Sometimes Kim Schultz needs a little break from caring for her dogs and kids, so her family bought her a gift card to Philosophy Day Spa in West Bend.

"The remaining balance was $90," Schultz said about the card.

Schultz had been to Philosophy Day Spa before.

"It was gorgeous. People were very nice," Schultz recalled.

However, when she tried to schedule a massage, the spa had closed.

"I called to make an appointment, and their phone was disconnected," Schultz said.

The only notification was a sign in the window. The building was dark and the parking lot was empty.

"Not giving anybody any type of warning is crappy. I don't understand how people can sleep at night knowing you ripped all these people off," Schultz said.

On the spa's Facebook page, several others complained that they, too, had unused gift cards. One of them told Contact 6 she has gift cards worth $720.

The Better Business Bureau said it's unlikely a credit car company will refund an unused gift card.

"That's part of the reason that the Better Business Bureau always uses the advice of, 'Use your gift cards right away,'" said Lisa Schiller of the Wisconsin BBB.

If something similar happens to you Schiller said there are a few steps you can take.

"Certainly contact the owner. Reach out. Maybe send a letter certified mail," Schiller advised. "Give the owner a chance to tell you what's going on or make a refund."

The spa's owner is Nicole Pesch. Contact 6 spoke to her husband. He said legal counsel advised Pesch on Thursday, March 28 to close for financial reasons. She shut down by the end of the day on Friday, March 29. She notified staff. Her husband said up until that moment, his wife had every intention of staying open.

Schultz's gift card is likely worthless.

"Basically, you're taking their money and running with it," Schultz said.

If a business files for bankruptcy, customers can file a claim. This owner has not. Customers can also submit a complaint to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.