I live in a small town and our LQS closed several months ago. I worked at the shop for about 4 months when they first opened and I thought the owner and I were "friends." Working together showed me things about this person that were less than pleasant so I turned in my notice and stopped working for her. Over a year later the shop closed. Now... for the problem. I am very involved in our local quilting community. Quilters here know that I used to work in this shop. When the owner closed the shop, she did so quickly and without notice to anyone. As a result there are at least a couple of dozen people who had left quilt tops to be quilted and they were never returned to the owners.
I am being approached constantly by people trying to retrieve their quilt tops. I have told everyone that does this that I have had nothing to do with the shop or its owner for a very long time and I have no way to help them. I will say that I finally started handing out her telephone numbers but people are now telling me that she doesn't answer the phone. The phones are not disconnected, she just doesn't answer them. No one that I know of has seen her around town, so she must be avoiding everyone and everything. Trust me... in a town our size, it would take concentrated effort to not be seen around town.
Anyway, most of these people have now decided that I truly have no way to retrieve their property but they are constantly asking if I've seen this person or if I have any advice for them to retrieve their property. I'm at my wits end and have no ideas on how to handle this. This woman has two of my completed quilts that I had loaned her for display purposes and she never returned them either.
At this point I'm just looking for ideas. And maybe a place to vent. Has anyone ever had this experience or have any advice as to how any of us can proceed?
As much as I hate to recommend this I think the only recourse people have is to file legal charges to get their property back. Quilts and tops have alot invested in them. I hope something works out soon for everyone but since the "lady" doesn't seem to be willing to work with people the only option there may be is to get the law involved.
Georgia, has anyone contacted the Better Business Bureau in your area?
In regards to your completed quilts, have you tried reporting to police or small claims court. My hubby thought this might be considered theft and you may have some recourse through these channels.
I feel for you and hope that you can have some relief from the frustration of people asking you about this person. It is hard when you have to deal with something of this nature. It would also be nice to get your completed projects returned to you. When you have dedicated the time and energy into a project, it is a shame to have them lost.
Best wishes. Hope that you find a resolution.
From Western New York
What a shame Georgia. First, this is a great place to vent! Fellow quilting friends will all understand your dilemma. You do have legal recourse if she has your property and you can prove it. i.e...pictures of your quilt, description, colors, or perhaps a quilt label on the back with your name as the maker. The same goes for any of your quilting friends looking to retrieve their quilts. I would suggest you go to your local police department and tell them you want to file a police report for stolen items. The more of you that do it the quicker the police will motivate. Explain your situation to them and let the police know the times and dates you tried to contact the shop owner to pick up your quilts. Give them her phone and address if you have it. And make sure you let them know the value of each quilt. They should be able to persuade her rather quickly to give up the quilts.
If you want to try to avoid dealing with the police, call her and leave a message, (tell your quilt friends to do the same), telling her if you do not have your quilts back by a certain day, you will have no other recourse and will have to go to the police and file a report for stolen items.
It's such a shame that you would have to resort to this type of action to regain a quilt you loaned to a friend.
Sure brings a lesson home about documenting your quilts. I'd bet that if the quilt isn't completed, no has photos or other documentation to prove it is theirs. Good luck, calling the BBB is probably the last item on the shop owners list, if you want to get the quilts back you will need to act before the quilts are deemed shop property and siezed by other creditors. i'll bet she hasn't paid for her fabric in some time and if you can't prove the quilt top is yours you may be up the creek.
I'm hoping that anyone that brought a top to be quilted has some sort of receipt showing they brought a quilt in. Did they pay a deposit or anything like that?
I'll bet if people filed charges they would get a response. Sounds like a legal matter.
Well, you folks have all been very helpful. I did gather six ladies who have their receipts for their quilt tops and I have pictures of mine both at my home and at the quilt shop. Mine are also labeled though I'm not sure that will make a difference. We all gathered at our local police station and spoke to the deputy sheriff. He made copies of our documentation and was very understanding and helpful. We told him that we really don't want to cause the shop owner any further problems, we just want our quilts back. He agreed to take our documentation and pay her a visit. He thinks that if he tells her that she can return everyone's property and avoid theft charges and other legal action that she may choose to do so. All we can do now is wait and see. One of the ladies in the group suggested contacting others we know that have lost tops and get them involved as well. The sheriff is going to pay the lady a visit this evening. I'll keep you posted on the progress. Thanks for all the helpful advice!
I wish you all the luck.
Georgia, I wish all of you the best of luck in getting your stuff back. Hopefully the shop owner will cooperate and want to avoid theft charges and will give everyone thier quilts back.
Good for you Georgia! I just checked back on this post to tell you not to bother with the BBB because she is no longer a business. Please let us know how it goes. I think this is a lesson for all of us to learn.
Georgia, if she doesn't "have them" (perhaps she has sold them, or maybe they are on Ebay so you better look there, too) then you NEED to take legal action. She is holding your "chattel" and there are SPECIFIC tort laws that will back you in any court..... please don't let this slip by! And good luck - please keep us posted....
Georgia - best of luck to you and your fellow quilters in getting your quilts and tops back. Hopefully a visit from the friendly sheriff will do the trick.
Georgia, praying that you and the other ladies have a good resolution to all this.
Good luck to you and all of the ladies. I hope a safe return of your quilts and everyone else's to the rightful owners speedily. Let us know how it goes.