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Problem Solvers: Many want money from absent consignment store owner

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When you take your clothing to a consignment shop you expect to be paid for that clothing once it's sold. But the woman we talked to got no money and when she called the store owner, she discovered the store was closed.

The shop was called Curvy Divas. It was a consignment store for plus size clothing on Noland Road in Independence. Customers say it suddenly closed one day in late October and the owner, Brenda Kaye Cole, took every piece of clothing with her.

Amy Thompson said she had brought four bags of clothing to the shop this past summer. She was supposed to call the store in October to find out if any items had been sold and, if so, how much she had made. But when she called she discovered the phone had been disconnected.

When she drove over she found an empty store and no way to contact the owner, who she said had never contacted her.

"They had my e-mail address. They had my phone number. They had my mailing address," Thompson said. "If they sold some of my clothes I would like to get my money back."

Curvy Divas even has a Facebook page, but there's no mention on the page that the shop has closed, only complaints from women who had clothes for sale there and can't find the owner.

It's a story that sounds all too familiar to Marge Wolf.

"I thought my gosh she's doing it again," Wolf said.

Wolf had contacted Problem Solvers two years ago to complain about Curvy Divas' owner Brenda Cole. At that time, Cole was the manger of a different plus-size consignment store that was in the same space.

Wolf had clothing at that store, but every time she asked Cole for the money, she was turned down.

"She'd say `I don't write out the checks,' " Wolf recalled. Then one day the old consignment store closed down and a month later Curvy Divas opened its doors. Brenda Cole was no longer the manger, but the owner.

When Wolfe again asked about the money she was owed, she said Cole told her she'd have to take it up with the owner of the old business and that Cuvy Divas was a new operation.

We tried to find Brenda Cole. We tracked her to an Independence trailer park, but she's no longer living here and her phone number doesn't work. The owner of the building where she was renting her store told us she owes him money and court records show she's also being pursued by the Missouri Department of Revenue for not paying her taxes.

Editor's note: After this report originally aired, FOX 4 finally reached Cole by phone. She told us she's sick and that's one of the reasons why she closed the store. She insists she contacted everyone by email notifying them her store was closing. But she acknowledges that many of those emails bounced back and she says she's not sure why.

She also promised to repay the people who are still owed money. She said she would have Amy Thompson's money by the end of the month. We'll check back and let you know whether that happens.

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12 comments

  • susanjackley@sbcglobal.net

    I too had clothes there and a balance on my account of $32.00. She had my phone number and email address and I know it was correct because I received her emails about her sales.

  • Joe Blow

    I “worked” for her. She paid us under the table. Only five bucks an hour. I knew there was something wrong when customers showed up to get money and she would give me excuse after excuse. I KNEW she was going to get in trouble. I just told the customers do what they feel necessary to get their money back. Because I would have been just as angry as them. I tried to help this “Christian” woman, and she showed me her true colors after not too long. I wasn’t there but a couple months or so before I realized what she was pulling. Sometimes she wouldn’t even pay me my full pay. And at five bucks an hr, shit, why was that such a hard thing to do?

  • CeCe

    We brought clothes there when my sister passed away and again when my mother passed away. Closets of clothing. We kept getting the run around about our checks. She did mail a couple but we’ve not heard from her for months. Drove by Saturday and the store is closed. Not sure what to do but extremely upset. No ethics at all. She never called us, sent a letter or an email. May try taking her to small claims court. Will be notifying the BBB about her and the police department. Just poor business practices. Should have given people time to pick up their clothing. Probably was told to be out by a certain date for not paying rent.

  • B

    Ms Cole lied to me when she took over the store from
    Robbie the previous owner of the store before she died. I too was told to contact the previous owner. I asked what happened to all of the inventory that Ms. Robbie left, her comment was that she did not know, we would have to contact Ms Robbie’s husband. When walking through the store it was obvious that some of the clothing was there when Robbie had the store. This is so sad, Ms Robbie died owing customers and this lady took over and still owes.

  • Robin Contello

    She Owes me money and clothing, i had taken in brand new bras with tags still on them, probably valued at over $800.00, she said some of them sold and the money she owed me was $38.00 and the rest of the bras she donated, that was over two years ago and every time i called or went in there it was the same excuse, she would have to get back to me, she never once called or emailed,