Frisco-based 123Mountain retailer faces scam complaints, national scrutiny
March 17, 2016
"Haters gonna hate," 123Mountain, a local outdoor retailer, wrote for its first Facebook post on Feb. 22. Based on the numerous fraud allegations, civil lawsuits and public complaints against the company, it would seem the company has no shortage.
Just a week before the page was created, Outside Magazine wrote a detailed expose of the company's trail of debt and enraged customers.
One Denver resident noted the store refused to accept returns for a $449 pair of Blizzard Bonafide skis, despite them being returned in their original packaging less than a month later.
"When my husband tried to return them on Jan. 23, the owner first claimed we had them too long and that they were of no value to her now," Jaime Philp wrote in an email to the Summit Daily News. "When we told her we were within the 30 days (not to mention that we attempted to return them twice before but the store was closed), then she said they were on sale, and she refused to talk to us anymore. She walked away."
“Haters gonna hate.”123Mountain Facebook post on Feb. 22
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According to 123Mountain's terms and conditions, the site has an "unlimited return policy" as long as items are in unused condition: "If at any time — now, next month, in 30 years — you're not 100% satisfied, send your gear back for a refund. No questions asked," the policy reads. "No returns on sale / promotional / discounted items, though."
Between Jan. 6 and Jan. 19, 2016, the Better Business Bureau requested 123Mountain remove these return conditions from its site, as it requires advertisers be transparent regarding their terms and conditions. Although Philp did not buy the skis on sale, 123Mountain refused to allow a return.
After disputing the purchase with their credit card company, Philp received a letter from Summit Peak LLC, a corporation registered in Frisco under Anna Sofia Goumas. Her husband, Olivier Goumas, was listed as the founder of International Rocky Trade, Inc., of which 123Mountain is a subsidiary.
In broken English, the letter disputed the refund, saying "the client was told that the store will not make an exception, and the store will not let him return the skis he bought at sales prices of $449.97. Original price for Blizzard Bonafide skis is $699.99, over 35% discount!"
While Philp and her husband were successful in getting a charge back from their company, several less fortunate customers were not. The Better Business Bureau gave the 123Mountain an "F" rating, based on more than 100 complaints filed in the last three years — due to products not being delivered, issues with cancellations or refunds and an overwhelming lack of response.
Complaints include charging for canceled orders when items were never shipped, failing to pay manufacturers and skipping on rent, according to recent court cases. In addition, Outdoor Magazine reported the 123Mountain sent a bill to Team Summit for sponsorship by the company for failing to promote 123Mountain on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, as stipulated in a contract between the two parties. After the jackets for the 2014-15 season had already been distributed, Olivier Goumas neither paid his promised $10,000 in sponsorship money, nor his two daughters' enrollment fees. Team Summit did not comment to the Summit Daily on the contract.
"We had quite a few complaints on them over a three-year period. Somewhere around a dozen," Lakewood Police public information officer Steve Davis said.
The outdoor retailer originally opened in Lakewood, before opening a second store in Copper Mountain Village in 2012. In early 2015, the Copper eviction process began after 123Mountain failed to pay two months of rent, according to court documents. The store has since relocated to a Frisco storefront, where their landlord has also reported months of skipped rent.
"They came in June and paid a couple of months. I've had no rent since November," Larry Feldman, owner of the Frisco property said. "I guess the point is, there's a difference between starting a business and having it fail or cheating people."
Two civil cases were settled by default judgments in Summit County Court, with a lack of response on the part of the Goumases — a common trend across each complaint. A Korean customer, Duk Sang Yu, filed a complaint against the company in 2014 after he did not receive an order for 160 Valandre sleeping bags after making a wire transfer of just under $88,000.
A series of exchanges from an attorney to Olivier Goumas regarding the case showed a lack of response, with the attorney having made "well over a dozen attempts" to contact Goumas by phone and email, writing in April, 2015: "Sir, your alleged knee injury does not prevent you from having a phone call nor complying with rules, deadlines and other obligations in this litigation."
Duk Sang Yu ultimately won the default judgment in May, for $316,000.
A previous case in 2013 also ended in a default judgment after an outerwear manufacturer, Canada Goose, said 123Mountain had not paid their billings to the company. According to the complaint, International Rocky Trade, Inc. was indebted more than $97,000 to the outerwear company. In September, 2015, Canada Goose won $109,281.
While several complaints have been submitted to the Attorney General's office, a public information officer would not comment, other than to confirm they had been contacted about the company.
At this stage, Davis said all resolutions were reached in civil court.
"It makes it difficult for (Lakewood Police)," he explained, noting that because the company did not actively seek the alleged victims out, but rather they seek the company out, it would be difficult to pursue criminal charges.
"They agree to the terms of agreement, probably without reading it, then when the order isn't filled in a timely matter or at all, they try to find some kind of recourse," he said.
Still, he added that by his opinion, "the company is not operating on the up-and-up."
123Mountain's terms and conditions, a multi-paragraph labyrinth of shipping and payment information, notes that it can take up to two years to ship certain pre-orders, and that the site will not always note when items are in stock.
"Sometimes, but not often, we make a mistake concerning the price or availability of a product," the terms read. "If you choose to pre-order, payment must be made in full and paid only in US Dollars by Bitcoin, wire transfer or direct deposit only."
In addition, the terms note that 123Mountain may refuse or cancel orders, even if the customer's credit card has been charged, and that all orders over $2,000 "cannot be cancel (sic) and are final." The company also notes that in cases of disputed payment, a $100 fee may be applied to the account.
Attempts to contact 123Mountain's listed customer-service line resulted in an empty line, and attempts to chat with an online customer service representative were also unsuccessful. A Summit Daily reporter contacted the store in-person, but the representative at the desk refused to comment and noted they were busy at the time.
Currently, 123Mountain's Frisco store sits vacant, with large "sale" signs posted all over the front windows. The question is a matter of how long they will stay.
Feldman noted he had already started the eviction process, adding that "the record speaks for itself."
"These are bad people," he said. "They've mistreated many people. They owe the world hundreds of thousands of dollars."
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