Q: I took a rug in to get it cleaned and the place I took it to told me to come back in a week. It’s a week later, lo and behold: door is locked, lights are off, not a soul to be found. A sign on the window says that they are now out of business for good. As you can imagine, I am not too thrilled about this, as they still have my rug. There is no phone number posted, and the phone number they have listed is now a disconnected line. How do I deal with this situation?
A: These sorts of situations happen every once in a while – a store goes out of business and it might feel like they pulled the rug out from under you. That being said, I highly doubt they are trying to make off with your nice rug. When a business goes under, they usually do have some sort of notice on the door with their contact information. I’m sure you’re not the only one with a possession locked inside. Give it a day or two and they will probably put a notice on the door stating a when/where you can get your rug back, or a contact number. If they fail to do that in your case, there are many steps you could take to obtaining their contact information:
▪ You could try asking around the area or complex that the store is located at/in, and see if anyone knows the owner, or has their contact information.
▪ Try checking to see if the business has filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court website might tell you whether or not this is the case. If so, then you could try filing a bankruptcy claim to get your rug back, or perhaps be reimbursed for it.
▪ You could try checking the local county assessor’s office to check and see who the landlord is for the building that the business is located in. Getting in contact with the landlord could lead you to the former business owner – unless, of course, the business owner is the landlord.
▪ If you have the patience, you could try mailing a letter addressed to the closed business. There might be a home address that the letter would be forwarded to, presumably the owner’s home address. It might not work, but it wouldn’t hurt to try it.
▪ If your rug is very high in value, and nothing else seems to have worked, then you might want to consult a professional in this matter, such as the authorities, and see about getting your rug back.
I see this a lot with local dry cleaning stores when they go under. I am certain that your rug will be returned to you no worse for wear. In the future, you might want to check BBB.org before you do business with a company.
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems toAction Line at the BetterBusiness Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.