PORTLAND, Ore. – Some customers of a laser spa chain that shut down overnight say the business collected thousands of dollars from them not long before closing its doors.
Forever Young told its customers it was closing Saturday and they still had time to get some treatments and get an accounting of how much money and services the spa owed them. But crews were seen packing up furniture during the night.
Some customers say that Forever Young made a big push to get their money in the past couple weeks by calling them, trying to get them to pay off their balances and trying to sell them on big expensive package deals.
Customers gathered outside the locked doors of the Tanasbourne and Beaverton Forever Young stores on Thursday trying to get answers about their money. One customer said the spa withdrew a hundred dollars from their account Thursday morning even though the doors were closed for good last night.
Employees also showed up wanting paychecks.
Inside and out back of the store crews took apart equipment and hauled out furniture, loading the items on trailers and trucks.
"I was here just last Friday," said Lynn. "So I had no clue, and he was wanting my credit card bad."
"He" was a salesman at Forever Young. Lynn said he pushed hard and tried to sell her a $1,500 laser package for 40 sessions.
"I think it's pretty shady," she said.
Customer Karlie Setniker said the spa called her last Friday and asked her to pay off her balance of $300 instead of continuing with her monthly payments. She did not pay but said many other customers did.
"But to go after and truly be collecting as much money as they could from these loyal customers of theirs that have paid them thousands of dollars, knowing they were going to lock the doors is just beyond anything that is moral or legally ethical," Setniker said.
Forever Young esthetician Christina Cayton is concerned.
"I wish there was a rule or law or something – that's stealing," she said. "That's stealing when you know you're not going to provide the services."
She said she was also surprised by the sudden shutdown. She came to search for her esthetician’s license. She shares the feelings of the others who came to the store.
"It's horrible. I mean, horrible," she said.
Forever Young manager Ron Zemp sent KATU a statement Thursday that read in part:
"We did everything in our power to keep the stores open. We are saddened by the closure and were forced to close. The negative publicity killed our business. We wish that we could somehow keep the stores open and we tried to hang on till we could not afford to hang on any longer. We were not sure if we were going to have to close until this week when our sales took an all time low. It was our intention to keep the stores open and rebuild our clients trust."
He said he specifically asked employees to stop collecting early payoffs last Wednesday.
Records show the people running Forever Young, Ron and Jennifer Zemp, have opened another spa in Las Vegas under the name "Secret Youth Laser Clinic." They also changed the name of their Forever Young spa in Prineville to a new name.
But at some point Wednesday the "Secret Youth" website disappeared. The Forever Young website has also been taken down. However, saved screenshots of the two websites show they are almost the same. The only difference between the two sites appeared to be the name.
Jennifer Zemp has not responded to a question to find out if she's connected to the new spa.
According to the Department of Justice, companies can't sell stuff when they know they can't deliver. But you'd have to prove the company knew.
If you lost money or services with Forever Young, file a complaint with the Oregon attorney general's office and contact your bank.
Past stories on Forever Young and laser spas:
- 'Forever Young' spa closes shop; had been subject of state investigation
- State investigating 'Forever Young' medical spa
- Insider alleges workers not properly trained at laser spa
- State looking to review regulation of laser use in medical spas
- Laser beauty treatment: Can you trust the person holding the laser?
Full statement from Forever Young:
We did everything in our power to keep the stores open. We are saddened by the closure and were forced to close. The negative publicity killed our business.
As you can see in the below email our office was instructed not to take payments from clients as we were unsure of the companies future.
We wish that we could somehow keep the stores open and we tried to hang on till we could not afford to hang on any longer.
We can not afford to pay our employees the negative media killed our company financially. Employees were not hard selling clients, clients simply did not want to buy anymore. We are very sorry and wish we had the money to not only pay our employees but to also keep our stores open. We put our heart and sole into the business.
We were not sure if we were going to have to close until this week when our sales took an all time low. It was our intention to keep the stores open and rebuild our clients trust.