7 On Your Side: Customer Fights Back For Product Refund
"Oh yes, yes! I was so excited about them to start with!" says Loretta Posey, owner of Gifts O' Decor in Overton.
She's talking about spirit wavers she bought from a salesman. She planned to sell them in her store, just in time for the approaching high school baseball season.
"He came in December 10th, and it's been what four months, and I haven't received the product," says Loretta.
That well-dressed salesman who entered her store that day said he was Charles Gibbes with Drayel Innovations out of Oklahoma. But look up his name in Oklahoma's Canadian County Sheriff's Department, and you'll find he has was charged in 2004 with one felony count and four misdemeanors for selling a product to consumers and never delivering.
It's exactly what Loretta says he did to her, but she didn't see the signs beforehand, even through her diligent research.
"What other way is there to do business? I mean we feel like we've checked the man out you know, we took his driver's license number, we called the place of business, we checked got on the Better Business Bureau web site, checked out the business name." She adds, "I feel like we have taken all the steps we can take. We've given him a chance...to make it right."
But Gibbes' criminal record would be to Loretta's advantage. She called his place of businesses threatening to press charges if she didn't get her money back, which would be a violation of his probation. It worked!
She soon got the first returned phone call after weeks of leaving messages.
"And I got on the phone and he tells me 'You didn't receive your product?' I said 'No, sir, I didn't receive my product'"
Days later Loretta received a check from Gibbes for the full amount she paid for the spirit waivers. But, she says, there may be other small East Texas businesses out there that have already cut their losses.
"I don't think there's any way he traveled from Oklahoma to the little town of Overton, Texas for $350. There has to be other places of business that he's done this to. And I say to those victims, don't be afraid to come out. Don't be embarrassed that you feel like you got scammed. He done it to me, he's done it to many other people, in many other states!"
Loretta also says she was told by the Oklahoma Attorney General's office that Charles Gibbes usually goes to gift shops, florists and small businesses selling these spirit products. He's under a five-year probation.
If you are an East Texas business that has purchased these products and never received them ,we'd like to hear from you. E-mail us from the "7 On Your Side" link on our home page with your information.