CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- A man claims a Chula Vista consignment store took his deceased wife’s clothes, sold them and refused to pay him his portion of the sale.
Clyde Spracher and his wife of more than 30 years, Delight, loved clothes.
“She was a delight!” Spracher told Team 10. “She was one who was very fashion conscious and she just liked to dress up.”
Clothes actually brought the two together. He sold Delight a line of sportswear years ago when she owned a store in Bonita.
“We ended up having a date. One thing led to another. Pretty soon, we got married.”
They wove together a life that lasted 34 years. When Delight died in 2014, he decided to sell her closets full of clothes.
He first tried The Spare Room in Bonita. The store specializes in women’s clothing. It offers sellers 40 percent on what the item sells for. Spracher said he had no problem at this store.
“She told me which items sold and sent me checks,” Spracher said.
What didn’t sell went to charity. Spracher received a list for his tax deductions.
“I was very pleased with my experience. I was very happy with them.”
He then went to Instyle Boutique in Chula Vista.
“Very frustrating, very frustrating,” Spracher said.
Spracher said the owner of Instyle emailed him a list of the more than 280 items the store was trying to sell. The total price was nearly $2,000. Under the terms of his contract with Instyle, Spracher would receive 50 percent of the sale price.
Spracher told Team 10 he was not emailed the contract until after Instyle had received his clothing. Spracher said months went by without hearing from Instyle.
“I contacted them and they said ‘oh, you’re too far past the date of sale, so we can’t do anything for you.’ I said, ‘that’s not right,’” Spracher said.
Spracher showed Instyle the long list of clothes they took.
“They said, ‘No, according to our agreement, we don’t owe you anything,’” Spracher said.
The contract states: “Checks and/or unsold items will be available for pick up for 10 days after the expiration of the agreement ONLY!!”
After those 10 days, they belong to the store.
Spracher said the owners of Instyle would not tell him which clothes sold or which were donated.
Consumer protection attorney Brett Schreiber looked over Spracher’s contract with Instyle Boutique.
“They had taken his property and the money they derived from his property, and under one line in the contract, (it) says if you don’t come back quick enough, it’s ours. It’s a ‘gotcha game’ they created.”
Schreiber adds that just because something is in a contract does not necessarily mean it is legal.
Instyle Boutique is no longer at its location in Chula Vista. Team 10 emailed what appeared to be Instyle Boutique’s online store. The owner’s husband, Fernando Sanchez, returned Team 10’s email.
“The money was there for him (Spracher) to pick up when he did contact [us], but he never did. By the time he came back, it was way too late,” Sanchez said over the phone.
When asked what happened to the money, Fernando said, “we keep the money.”
Team 10 also questioned if Spracher will be able to get any of his money back.
“I’ll look into the whole thing about what you said about the contract not being legal, and yeah, if I’m in violation, of course,” Sanchez said.
“I suspect that they pull this crap on a lot of other people,” Spracher said.
Sanchez told Team 10 Instyle Boutique no longer operates in Chula Vista or online.
Consumer advocates say if you are thinking of consigning your items, get the contract before you hand over your clothes. If you have any questions, do not be afraid to ask.