spa 20200419

Holiday Scam Fake Spa Gift Certificates

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — One man learned the hard way that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is, KPRC Local 2 reported Friday.

L’Avantage is a salon and day spa in The Woodlands. It has hairstylists and offers waxing and massages.

One man thought he was buying a gift certificate for their services, but ended up falling victim to a scam.

“Sounded like a real good deal … turned out not to be,” said the man, who didn’t want to be identified.

He said a woman approached him in a restaurant with a pamphlet.

“She brought it over; it looked legit. She seemed legit and I ended up buying it,” he said.

The deal was $49.99 for a whole list of services worth at least $300.

“I called the spa and they said we’re not selling anything like that,” he said.

In fact, the name of the spa is misspelled on the certificate and the logo looks nothing like the spa’s.

The company whose name is on the certificate, Smart Circle, said the deals were good and are still for sale.

But the spa said it’s a scam.

“They made it up,” hairstylist Amy Schilling said. “We were approached by the company, but we told them we were not interested in advertising with them.”

The spa said it doesn’t know how many people have these certificates.

“I’m thinking a lot of these are given as gifts and after the holidays receivers are going to be disappointed when they realize they’re phony,” Schilling said.

“I just got taken for $50 and someone has my credit card info. I called my bank and now I have to cancel my card,” said the man. “I just hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

When KPRC Local 2 called the 800 number for Smart Circle, it said they have a legitimate business that’s been around for more than 18 years and this must have been a misunderstanding. The company said it is now investigating.

The sales representative also said that anyone who bought a bogus certificate can get reimbursed or can exchange it for a different one.

Anyone planning to buy gift certificates this holiday season is recommended to contact the company they want services from and make sure it’s a certificate they accept before buying it.

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