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Consignment shop closes without warning, angry customers search for belongings or payments

Posted at 5:00 AM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 20:32:05-04

They are great places to sell what you no longer need and make a little money.

Consignment shops usually offer a safer way to buy and sell used items than posting them on a site like Craigslist.

But some customers of Switch Consignment in Scottsdale say they had no protection.

"I'm really just disappointed in them, disappointed in how they handled it," Candace Thrush says.

Candace is a long-time Switch Consignor.

She's bought from them and most recently left items like a desk, handblown glass and a fireplace insert to be sold.

She expected to get around $200 for them after the shop took their cut.

Instead, she hasn't gotten a penny and her belongings are gone.

Candace says when she recently visited the Scottsdale shop, it was closed.

"Completely surprised they were gone, completely vacant, without any warning, no notification, no forwarding address," she says.

While you won't have problems at most consignment shops, whenever you hand over personal items, just like paying upfront before a project is complete, you take a risk.

Candace can't get any answers about where her belongings may be.

Nearby shops tell us many Switch customers are asking the same questions.

Management says when the business closed, they left none of the items inside.

So why would the shop just close and not take care of customers?

Documents show Tom Dixon owned Switch Consignment.

We found a Scottsdale home linked to him and made a visit with plenty of questions.

The man who answered said Dixon wasn't there, but he would pass on our request for information.

And the next day, Dixon sent us an email.

He says his business was "struggling" for the last year.

But Dixon says he was "forced" out saying "it wasn't a planned closing or anything intentional."

As for customers, he says, "I am trying very hard to work on staying on top of the consignors, but it is difficult as I have lost everything."

Candace says there is no excuse for just taking off and not taking care of customers.

"It's already a time that's difficult for everyone. People shouldn't just be stealing your stuff right out from under you," she says.

After we told Dixon about Candace, he did send her a check.

But while Candace says she was expecting at least $200 after commissions, the check was for $22.66.

Dixon stands by the amount saying some of Candace's items were donated because they didn't sell during a certain contracted time.

For other consignors, he says expect donation slips if he donated the item, or money if he was able to sell it through auction.

If you do consign anywhere, make sure to visit frequently to get a sense of any possible issues.

Also get everything in writing including a list of your items, their value, and what percentage you get if sold.

It can help with disagreements or closures later.

And if you know more about what happened with Switch, let me know!

Read part of Switch Consignment owner Tom Dixon's statement to ABC15:

" Unfortunately, we had to close when the landlord took back the space unexpectedly with little notice. I personally have been trying to deal with it, through depression, as it wasn't a planned closing or anything intentional at all. I was unable to secure a new location on short notice. Items that were out of their contract expiration period or close to were donated to local charities. Items that had some time left on them that we were unable to sell during our clearance sales, I was able to try and sell through auctions and have been waiting on checks from those sources to continue paying consignors for items sold. If they didn't sell they were donated and will be getting a donation receipt for those items.
I am trying very hard to work on staying on top of the consignors, but it is difficult as I have lost everything with the closing and have been trying to avoid filing bankruptcy, but that is probably my next step from the professional advice I am getting. Switch Consignment was in business for 11+ years and never had a problem until Covid hit us, which caused us a lot of problems, with lack of sales, no employees that would return to work, unable to find any new hires. We struggled for 1 year before we were hit with the forced closing."
Thomas Dixon - Switch Consignment"