In the wake of the Red Cat scandal, another neighborhood consignment store owner is being accused of defrauding her clients.
Some clients say Lisa Massena of Heavenly Consignments on Garland Road accepted their consignments but never paid, even while admitting, in some cases, she sold the items.
“As far as I know, 90 percent of the people have been paid,” Massena says.
The only ones she hasn’t paid out are those who she cannot reach, she says.
But Heavenly Consignments, which opened in August 2009, has an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau because of two unanswered complaints. It has negative ratings on consumer websites like this one and this one. And several clients say she stiffed them.
Massena sent out a letter to clients two weeks ago stating that the business is closing because of her husband’s recent death, and clients should pick up their consignments. The letter states they will be paid within 45 days for anything that has sold.
In June, Ellen Quinn of East Dallas says she consigned “a ton” of costume jewelry that had belonged to her grandmother to heavenly consignments. Six of the pieces were sterling silver, one with a pearl and one with an emerald chip.
“Of course, those were the ones that came up missing,” Quinn says.
When Quinn went to retrieve the jewelry in July, Massena told Quinn she couldn’t find it. Massena came up with some of the jewelry on a second visit, but the most valuable items were missing, and Massena didn’t have sales receipts for them, Quinn says.
Quinn says she hasn’t been paid for the jewelry or for two pieces of furniture Heavenly Consignments sold for her.
Massena says Quinn has been paid in full.
“She’s clearly lied to me,” Quinn says of Massena. “I don’t think I’m going to get a penny out of it.”
Another client, neighborhood resident Julia Woodard says she brought antiques, including a shoe-shine stand, to Heavenly Consignments.
“They told me it sold about six weeks ago. I said, ‘So where’s my check?’ ” she says.
Woodard says she is still trying to retrieve other consigned items that are now missing.
Massena says it takes about 45 days from the time an item sells to the time the check is sent out. She admits that payments were slow after the the store first opened, “and I apologize for that,” she says.
She is closing the store because she says it is too much to handle. Her husband was near death for two months, and she could not focus on the business.
Massena resents the comparison to Red Cat, which closed without notice and is accused of selling clients’ consignments at estate sales and keeping the profits.
“I’m doing this the right way. I’m not closing in the middle of the night. I’m telling people to come get their stuff,” Massena says. “If you want to put a negative mark against me, I really don’t care because I lost my husband. I took care of him while he was sick with cancer for five years, and I had to take him off life support. We were married 30 years.”
Even though this is the second problem with a neighborhood consignment store this year, Consignment Association of Dallas secretary Rene Bankston says it’s only the third such problem she has heard of in the past 10 years or so.
Bankston, who owns Anonymously Yours and has been in the consignment business for 26 years, says people considering using a consignment store should make sure to read and sign a consignment contract. A contract should include an inventory sheet with prices (especially for big-ticket items) and detailed descriptions.
Check the association’s website to see whether a store is a member, and “the best bet is to go with someone who’s been around awhile,” Bankston says. “Some of these places are fly-by-night. Most of them aren’t. But some are.”