Duval Street Cosmetic Shop Faces Code Violation, Issues Refund

orogold key west

After 103 days and in receipt of a notice of code violation, the Oro Gold 1 cosmetics shop of 518 Duval St. has finally refunded over $3,000 to a couple of senior visitors from Destin, Florida.

Cynthia Johnson 62, and Lee Stevens 75, claim the cosmetics shop made an unauthorized credit card charge on May 14, 2015 and then issued a bogus refund receipt when they complained.

The couple filed complaints with Key West Code Enforcement and the state attorney’s office.

Complainant Lee Stevens said “We feel great that we finally got our money back and this part of the ordeal we went through is over. We hope this business suffers any legal ramifications due.”

Code Enforcement has cited the store with a “Notice of Irreparable Code Violation” specifically charging that the company failed to provide the couple with a written pre-sale statement of cost prior to the sale as required by code.

An administrative hearing of the complaint has been set for Sept. 30, 2015 at Old City Hall. The proceedings are open to the public.

Tevis Wernicoff, a spokesperson for the Key West Rip Off Rapid Response Team said “Of course everyone can be pleased the couple finally got their money back. The problem is the way these shops rip off visitors over and over again. When they are caught red handed and give the money back they claim it’s all a misunderstanding. It’s as if someone steals your bicycle, the police recover it three months later, return it to you and the thief can’t understand what the problem is.”

Here is the couple’s complaint:

Date of incident 5/14/15

Responding KWPD officers; N. Galbo and Nat Hansell

Complaint to City of Key West Code Enforcement and State Attorney written by Cynthia Johnson on behalf of herself and Lee Stevens.

My partner Lee Stevens and I are frequent visitors to Key West.

On May 14, 2015, Lee and I purchased two products from Oro Gold 1, located at 518 Duval St. The cosmetics were offered to us as a package with three additional facial products, a small sample, and an on-site facial treatment by an employee named Amos. The total charge was $683.70.

While I was receiving treatment in the facial room, Lee paid for the $683.70 purchase by signing for this charge to his AMX card on an electronic signature pad,.and then went across the street to Willy T’s to eat.

In the facial room Amos “gave” me several additional free products and promised other free services he said I could schedule at a later date.

Amos asked for my credit card. I told him I didn’t have one and that we only had Lee’s card. Unbeknownst to me, while I was waiting in the facial room, Amos went across the street and told Lee I needed his card and that I was requesting it.

This was NOT true as I did not request the card or ask him to go get it from Lee.

After my facial was complete, Amos ask me to sign a receipt for the products and the facial. Not knowing Lee had already signed for the purchases, I signed for what I thought was for the $683.70, the amount I had agreed to pay.

As I was leaving the store with the free samples I was horrified to see Amos had run the card AGAIN and tricked me into signing! As I left the store I noticed Amos had given me a receipt for $3,010.00 that didn’t have my signature or Lee’s!

I hurried across the street and told Lee, “I think I just got scammed for $3,000!”

For some reason Amos didn’t give me a copy of the receipt I signed but a blank one with no signature on it at all. We have copies of both the receipt signed by Lee for $683.70 and the unsigned receipt for $3,010. Both were charged to Lee’s American Express account.

I was so upset, I could not walk back into that store but Lee went back across the street to complain to the manager whom we believe was named Mark. The manager and Lee came back over to Willy T’s and retrieved all the products except those from the original purchase.

When Lee and the manager went back to the store, salesperson Amos was gone and not seen again.

The manager agreed to a refund, made a number of calls sometimes speaking in Hebrew, which Lee cannot understand. He claimed to be calling the “owner” in Israel who authorized the refund.

Lee was gone for so long I got worried and called the Key West police.

Officers N. Galbo and Nat Hansell responded.

The manager finally issued a “refund receipt” that turned out to be bogus and not accepted by American Express. For reasons we can not explain the bogus refund receipt reads $3,225.00.

We have to date received no refund. We have received no products or services.

Neither Lee nor I saw, received, signed for, or were told about a pre-purchase sales estimate which we understand is required by Key West law.

Lee and I are asking for your help getting our $3,010.00 back and any charges that can be brought against Oro Gold 1 be filed and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the headlines of ”KONK LIFE” the very next day that read “Cosmetic store sale protections are beefed up.

This business cheated us and was very clever in doing so. It’s hard to imagine that we are the first visitors to Key West to be taken advantage of by this business. We hate to think about how many other good people this business has cheated and if not stopped, how many people they will cheat in the future.

This whole experience has been a nightmare for us. We have lost sleep and spent countless hours worrying about this, talking about this and being stressed out about this. Oro Gold 1 destroyed what would have been a wonderful Key West vacation.

Thank you for your consideration and any help you can give us.


Cynthia Johnson, Age 62

Lee Stevens, Age 75

One thought on “Duval Street Cosmetic Shop Faces Code Violation, Issues Refund

  1. hey key west!!! don’tcha think its time to run these people out of town on a rail…..it was long long overdue many many years ago when code inforcement under adlelman took a nap. we became a cruise ship destination and along came the t-shirt and cosmetic rip off gipsy contingent who need be sued out of existence and charged criminally with felony theft. oh no that might put the bag man out of business. my bad!!!
    lousy press and bad business and low life reputation for key west indeed.

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