BBB | Greater MD has received numerous complaints against Un-Sun Tanning Salon, located at 6400 Baltimore National Pike, Catonsville. The business recently closed without prior notice to consumers. BBB has been unable to reach the owner of the salon, Maria Buehler-Wiebler, regarding purchased products stored at the salon and unused tanning packages.
According to BBB reports, tanning packages worth up to $40 were still being sold as recently as two weeks prior to the store’s closing. Also, products purchased from the salon including lotion and eye goggles were presumed to be locked behind the doors of the defunct business. One customer alleged that the business was closed as early as June 14, 2008.
“Ideally, a business owner should leave instructions or information for their customers, if they must close their business down,” says Angie Barnett, president & CEO, BBB | Greater MD. “But consumers need to exercise due diligence when paying upfront for products and services. Read the fine print, ask questions, and look for policies regarding refunds, cancellations and store closings before you buy.”
When a BBB investigator called the business in response to an inquiry, the voice mail recording simply stated “Un-Sun Tanning is no longer in business.” BBB also contacted Un-Sun locations in Reisterstown and Columbia as part of its investigation. Salon officials explained that there was no affiliation with the Catonsville location and that, therefore; they would not honor product or tanning session purchases made at that location.
BBB urges consumers to file a complaint with the Maryland Attorney General by visiting www.oag.state.md.us or calling 410-528-8662. BBB offers the following advice to help you select a tanning salon, gym or similar facility that best meets your needs:
- Check with BBB First. Not only can you visit www.bbb.org to find a list of businesses in your area that are accredited by BBB, but you can also find out what kind of a track record the company has for keeping customers satisfied.
- Consider your budget. Some facilities charge an up-front membership fee to join and a monthly fee thereafter.
- Check out the facilities. Visit several different locations on days and at times that you do plan to use them to see how crowded they are. Do the facilities offer the equipment, amenities and hours of operation you require? Note the cleanliness and condition of the equipment, as well as staff member availability.
- Don’t give in to pressure. Many facilities will offer season specials. Walk away from salons that force you to sign a contract on the spot. BBB advices taking a sample contract home to read through it thoroughly.
- Know the membership details. How long is the membership term and is there an automatic renewal? Can you go month-to-month? Some facilities give customers several days to reconsider after signing a contract; if so, get it in writing. What are your cancellation rights if you move, the business closes, or is taken over by new management? Will the unused portion of your membership be refunded, and if so, how and when? These details should all be in the contract.