The Massachusetts-based consignment chain 2nd Time Around is going out of business — and some people whose items were sold there recently might not get paid, according to the chain’s website.
The company is closing all of its stores “because of a convergence of market forces hitting all brick and mortar stores — including increased competition from online retailers combined with skyrocketing rents,” according to a statement on its website.
Although fans of the secondhand shop, which specializes in designer wares, may mourn its demise, those who consigned items there are just plain angry.
According to the website — and angry Yelp reviews — the chain has not paid some people whose items have been sold in recent weeks.
Now it appears those people might never get paid.
“At this time, the company cannot commit to paying consignors whose items were sold prior to May 1,” the company’s website says, noting that any items sold from May 1 onward will be paid out.
Consignment stores like 2nd Time Around generally accept used or like-new items, which they then sell at a discounted price. Once an item is sold, the person who previously owned the items receives a cut of the profits.
Many people have taken to business review site Yelp to excoriate the chain for its recent inability to cut checks, including one poster who wrote that they felt “like I was stolen from.”
Yelp user Mariejose D., who declined to give her last name to a Globe reporter, said in a phone interview that she thought the whole situation was bizarre and inexcusable.
“They’re basically stealing people’s items and selling them for a profit,” she said. “It doesn’t work that way.”
Mariejose said she dropped off a Louis Vuitton bag in early April at the 2nd Time Around on Charles Street in Beacon Hill. She received a confirmation that the item would hit the shelves; hours later, she received another message saying the bag had sold, and that she was owed $179.
However, when her check was still nowhere to be seen by the second week of May, she reached out to the store and was told the delay was because the corporate offices were moving.
When she still didn’t receive her check, Mariejose called the company again and left a voicemail, but got no response. Later, she said she received what appeared to be a mass e-mail stating that the store was going out of business. After walking into the Charles Street location in search of answers, Mariejose said the welcoming “vibe” had changed, with sales clerks not making eye contact and trying to dodge answering questions.
Finally, Mariejose said she was able to get in touch with a company representative by phone late this past week.
“They told me that unfortunately no one is getting paid and there’s nothing they can do,” she said. “I said that it was crazy. They sold my item and made a profit. How can you tell someone they’re not getting any money out of it when we signed a contract?”
Mariejose said she reported the incident to the Better Business Bureau, and has since received a response saying the agency is looking into the matter.
“I even asked them for store credit, and I was told no,” she said.
Apparently, Mariejose isn’t the only one trying to find out how to get paid for sold items. On the website’s FAQ page, a question blatantly states: “I’m owed money. When will I get paid?”
The answer, however, is a bit dodgy.
“We remain committed to paying consignors for all sales made on or after May 1, 2017. Further information relative to consignor sales prior to May 1 will be forthcoming, pending the conclusion of remaining sale,” the company wrote.
2nd Time Around said it can’t honor store credit, according to its website, because the company “is under serious financial pressure.”
“We are committed to paying all consignors whose items were sold after May 1, 2017 but at this time cannot promise that we can pay consignors whose items were sold earlier,” the website states. “If you have store credit from a sale that occurred after May 1, you will be paid by check as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, another local who recently had items sold by 2nd Time Around said not only did he never receive payment — he never received any messages notifying him of the chain’s closure.
Boston resident Ryan Ankner said after he successfully sold one block of items for $140, he dropped a second bag of stuff off in March.
“I typically donate all my clothes, but this time I had stuff with tags that were brand new or designer, so I thought, let’s try this,” Ankner said.
However, even though he was notified that several of his items sold, he never was reimbursed the $108 owed by the company.
“It’s not so much going to hunt it down, but it’s a frustrating thing,” he said, adding that he gave clothing and accessories by luxury brands like rag & bone and Diesel. “It was nice stuff, but I wasn’t wearing them and wanted to give them [2nd Time Around] a try. I just wished I gave them to the Salvation Army so I could’ve helped somebody instead of screwing myself.”
The company did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment.
The chain, which was founded in Newton in the 1970s, has several locations on Boston’s Newbury Street, as well as shops in Beacon Hill, Brookline, Cambridge, Needham, Newton, and Wellesley. In its heyday, there were more than 40 stores in 12 states, including locations as far flung as Florida and Illinois.
Some shops will continue business through the first part of June, according to the website, while some shops noted on Instagram that they will be closing by the end of the month.
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It is with heavy heart to announce we will be closing ALL our stores by the end of June. To all our consignors and customers- THANK YOU! You all have been the center of our universe. It's been one wild ride! We're happy to have experienced this adventure with you. Our final dates will be forthcoming please stay tuned. If you are a consignor and want your items returned please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. One last time ... #2tastyle