Local diners are upset as they were left holding Grill 454 gift certificates after the Commack steakhouse suddenly closed on New Year's Day.
Grill 454's owners announced Dec. 26, 2012 via Facebook that the upscale Commack restaurant would be closing after its New Year's Eve Party, but not everyone got the message in time.
"Great I have a gift cert[ificate] to there!! Now what am i supposed to do?? How dare they sell gift cert[ificate] to people knowing they're going out of business!! So annoyed," wrote Commack resident Tina Marie Cutrone Lindstrom on Commack Patch's Facebook page.
Grill 454's website remains up and active, giving no indication the business has locked its doors for good. However, multiple attempts to contact the restaurant's owner Lenny Passarelli via phone and email have not been answered.
"Grill 454 needs to make good on gift cards the sold the last few months knowing they were closing their doors," wrote Jeannie Miglorino-Cutrone to Patch.
Thomas D. Napoli, New York State's comptroller, has a website with a FAQ that offers tips and advice for residents to consider when buying and using gift certificates.
According to the state comptroller's office, when a store, or restaurant, declares bankruptcy or closes customers might be able to redeem gift cards on a "dollar by dollar" or customers may not be able to redeem them at all. The state comptroller's office advises to check with the store for their policy.
There is nothing written on Grill 454's website regarding the purchase of gift certificates or the restaurant's terms and condition. The owners have posted information that they opened a new Italian steakhouse, forty2 west, in Manhattan.
The state comptroller's office advises customers with complaints about gift cards and a business's policy to call:
- New York State Attorney General – Consumer Helpline: (800) 771-7755.
- New York State Consumer Protection Board –www.consumer.state.ny.us
- Federal Trade Commission – www.ftc.gov or (877)FTC-HELP
- Better Business Bureau – www.newyork.bbb.org.
Read More: See what Commack residents have suggested they'd like to see replace the former Grill 454 location.