NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — They hoped to make some extra cash on valuable belongings, but now customers of a New York consignment store say they’ve been shut out and locked out while their items sit behind a gate.
There’s luggage, handbags, clothing and shoes, most with high-end name brands. Even though it’s used, it’s still very valuable.
But it’s practically worthless to anyone as it sits locked up behind the gates of Eleven Consignment Boutique in the East Village.
“That is my suitcase. It’s been there for over a month now,” customer Charles Washington said.
“My bag is right in the window, so I said hi. I was like, ‘oh hello, my property locked in the store,'” another customer said.
Jean Carbain dropped off a few items about two weeks before Thanksgiving in the hopes of getting some extra money for the holidays. She got curious when a few weeks passed and she didn’t hear back about whether they sold.
“I went by and I saw the gates down and I was like, that’s not really a good sign,” she said.
Another woman noticed the same thing after dropping off a designer handbag before the New Year.
“I brought a Louis Vuitton bag into the store in mid-October, just before a move. It’s like a 12-by-12 Louis handbag that was in pretty good condition,” she said. “They price it at $400 initially and then you would get 50% of what it sold for … It’s a local business that you want to support and it’s just kind of like a slap in the face.”
Several customers say they have thousands of dollars worth of items at the store.
A second location in Park Slope, Brooklyn, also appears to have shuttered and been cleared out.
CBS2 learned the original operators of the boutique are now tied to a new business called Slope Vintage, located a block away. They weren’t there when CBS2 crews stopped by. CBS2’s Valerie Castro called them and was told they had no comment.
They did not respond when asked if there was any way for people to get their belongings or anyone they should contact.
Court documents show the business is tied up in a long legal battle between former business partners and owners. None of the parties involved would comment or take responsibility for the items.
Though the legal case is complicated, customers say there should be a simple resolution when it comes to getting what’s theirs.
“I feel robbed,” Washington said.
Washington owns a Gucci suitcase valued at more than $500.
“When they can just unlock it and give it back to me and let me decide what to do with it,” he said.
The Better Business Bureau says you can protect yourself by checking online reviews and getting everything in writing.
“You want to get a receipt for the item that you’re giving them. It’s going to spell out what the estimated value is. You want to know the date that you’re giving it to them,” said Claire Rosenzweig, BBB president and CEO.
But keep in mind, some things just happen.
“What would happen, you have to ask yourself, if it closed suddenly? Could I afford to lose the value that I’ve just handed over?” Rosenzweig said.
The Attorney General’s office is investigating and says anyone who may have been a victim should file a formal complaint online. Click here to fill out a complaint form.