Troubleshooters: Consignors out of money after boutique announces closure

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Troubleshooters: Consignors out of money after boutique announces closure. Nydia Han reports during Action News at 4:30 p.m. on June 14, 2017. (WPVI)

A popular consignment chain is closing this week, which means customers need to act fast.

The consignment chain 2nd Time Around used to have more than 40 stores all across the country, but now all of them, including the Center City boutique, are closing their doors, leaving many, many consignors outraged and - possibly - out of luck.

Cortney Cohen tells Action News Troubleshooters that 2nd Time Around at 17th and Chestnut owes her $2,160 dollars!

Her online account reflects that.

"It's just really unfortunate," she said.

Cohen says back in April, the company told her it was experiencing technical difficulty.

"They alluded that everything was fine, just to be patient and bear with them," she recalled.

But now the chain has announced it's going out of business. Many of its stores, including 9 in Manhattan, have already closed. Some shut down before consignors could pick up their remaining items!

"It's like robbery. They took my item, they sold it, then completely disconnected from me when I called," said one consignor.

A company called Rust Omni, which administers bankruptcies for businesses, has taken over the chain's customer service.

The chain's website blames the closure on "a convergence of market forces hitting all brick and mortar stores - including increased competition from online retailers combined with skyrocketing rents."

"They did a really bad job and it's just completely unfair to everyone. Again, it's a huge trust relationship you have with the kind of business they've had for years," said Cohen.

And listen to this: The company's website also says while "all consignors whose items were sold from May 1 onward will be paid in full...the company cannot commit to paying consignors whose items were sold prior to May 1."

"I'm really angry," said Cohen.

Here's what consignors can do to minimize their impact. If you still have unsold items at 2nd Time Around - pick them up now.

Cohen got an email the Center City location is closing this Friday, June 16.

Troubleshooters contacted 2nd Time Around for comment but never received a response. Meantime, we have alerted the city of Philadelphia to this. The city now has a plan to try to help affected consumers.

Lance Haver, Philadelphia's Director of Civic Engagement, will effort forming a consumer creditor committee. That committee could petition for involuntary bankruptcy. It could also petition bankruptcy court to put consumers' claims ahead of others if the company filed for bankruptcy voluntarily.

Consumers affected by the closure of 2nd Time Around are asked to email Lance.Haver@phila.gov. They are also asked to file a report with the PA Attorney General's office by calling 1-800-441-2555 or sending an email to scam@attorneygeneral.gov.

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