HILLSBORO, Ore. -- Tens of thousands of customers are out thousands of dollars each after Forever Young Laser Medical Spa abruptly shut down Wednesday.
The closure comes after years of complaints against the chain of beauty treatment centers.
KGW interviewed angry clients Wednesday at the Hillsboro outlet, many of whom learned of the closure through the company's website, word-of-mouth or as they arrived at the spa.
The women all came to the door ready for their cosmetic treatment. Instead, they found it locked and employees moving the furniture out.
"We were informed at 6:30 yesterday that the company will be shutting down," said a manager who called herself Megan.
Megan said bad publicity from what she called their Market Center location somehow brought the whole company down.
"Unfortunately we just shut that Market Center location too late. We were unable to come back from that," Megan added.
Bad publicity has been following the company for years. The Department of Justice has received 69 complaints dating back to 2009. The Attorney General launched an investigation earlier this year.
"Who does business like that?" Catherine Wheeler asked. She had prepaid $20,000, along with her mother Sharlene.
"We don't know the dollar value of how much we've spent because they give you an accounting like this," she pointed out to KGW. "It's handwritten, that's all they can do. They gave me receipts of what's been purchased but they can't give an accounting of what's been used."
The employees at the Hillsboro location didn't deny that.
Forever Young promised they would refund all of the customers, even though an employee said to KGW, customer accounts show only how many services they have remaining.
Employees said they will be open at the Hillsboro location Thursday between 8 a.m. and noon to answer questions and tell people where a new spa will be honoring their packages.
Forever Young applied for a new business license last month, under a different name, in the Central Oregon town of Prineville.
A portion of the packages that only include tanning have been transferred to Tan Republic.
Peter Lamka, who holds the title of master franchisor of Tan Repbulic, said he was contacted Tuesday by the attorney for Forever Young.
He said the company offered him the client database. Forever Young had a list of 40,000 customers, he said, about 10,000 of them active accounts. He expects at least 5,000 former customers to continue the tanning services of the Forever Young contracts.
The Attorney General's office told KGW of an Oregon law specific to health spa refunds.
"Customers can and should demand their money back, or at least some of it, from Forever Young, said DOJ spokesman Jeff Manning. "They can also file complaints with the Oregon DOJ at our website."
Manning said it's difficult to say for certain if clients will get a refund.
"If the company goes bankrupt, customers will become unsecured creditors, along with a bunch of other customers and businesses that provided services to Forever Young," he said. "They will be subordinate to secured creditors. I can’t really speculate about the likelihood of customers getting any money out of the bankruptcy process."
Manning said before anyone signs a spa contract, do homework.
"Go to the Better Business Bureau or the DOJ website send an email to email@example.com – and check to see whether other consumers have filed complaints," he said.