Problem Solvers: Many want money from absent consignment store owner

Problem Solvers
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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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