3 On Your Side
3 On Your Side

Phoenix woman learns there are pitfalls with gift certificates

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The former owner of a nail salon said she just couldn't afford to keep the business afloat and closed down. (Source: 3TV) The former owner of a nail salon said she just couldn't afford to keep the business afloat and closed down. (Source: 3TV)

You have to remember that gift cards and gift certificates do come with pitfalls.

No. 1, they expire so you have to use them soon.

No. 2, if you lose them, you usually don't get your money back.

No. 3, if the store goes out of business, then you're out of luck. 

A Phoenix woman named Patty Romero almost found that out the hard way.

She considers herself a pretty savvy shopper and likes to look for sales. For example, she says she scored big time recently when Christmas shopping.

"We got TVs that were really cheap," she said. "In fact, we got two of them."

This holiday season, Romero said she'll probably buy a couple of gift cards to give away.

"Well, I like the fact that I can give a gift card to someone and they can use it at their leisure, whenever it's convenient for them," she said.

And that got Romero thinking. She remembered buying three gift certificates, which are similar to gift cards, that family members hadn't used yet. The certificates totaled $110 and they were for a nail salon just off of Northern and 35th avenues.

However, Romero said when her daughter tried to use the gift certificates recently, the business had shut down.

Her daughter took a picture of the front of the business door saying, "Closed for good. Rent too high."

"Well, I contacted 3 On Your Side because, first of all, $110 is a lot of money," Romero said.

3 On Your Side went to the nail salon to see if we could get any answers. But, like we suspected, no one was there.

The only option left? Find out who owned the nail salon and go to their home. And that's exactly what 3 On Your Side did.

The former owner of the nail salon said she just couldn't afford to keep the business afloat and closed down.

However, she also said she was more than happy to return the $110 back to Romero and she did.

With that money now in her hand, Romero says Christmas will be a little easier, and credits 3 On Your Side for getting things done. 

"Yea!" Romero said laughing as she waved the $110 in cash in her hands. "Thanks, 3 On Your Side."

This is a good reminder that some businesses are here today and gone tomorrow. Remember that when purchasing gift cards or gift certificates this holiday season.

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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