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Business trying to renew trust

Frustrated customers reclaim belongings

It's been a difficult few months for a business called House of Renew and for some of its customers as well. Help Me Hank has learned the business finally has a new home and is trying to renew the trust of many clients.

The House of Renew is a company that repairs fine art objects. It's one of the few places in metro Detroit where people can take things like pottery, ceramic items, and vintage Christmas ornaments to be repaired. For many years, the House of Renew did business in downtown Birmingham. Last July, the owner made plans to move out of the Birmingham location and placed all her customers belongings into storage.

Unfortunately, the deal for a new location fell apart. That meant everything, including customer belongings, was trapped in storage. Several customers called Help Me Hank complaining they were having trouble reaching the owner and getting their precious items returned. Many of these items are family heirlooms, some brought to the United States from other countries.

Tired of Waiting: Why Can't I Get My Belongings?

Help Me Hank spoke with one customer, Dennis Zabel, who had been waiting months to get his pottery pedestal repaired and returned. By December of 2015, he was ready to give up.

"I don't want it repaired at this point," Zabel said. "I just want it back."

The problem for Zabel and other customers are the storage spaces where their belongings were being held were jam-packed with boxes, equipment, and bulky metal shelves. House of Renew owner Ruth Peppiatt said it was just about impossible to get inside the storage spaces to rescue individual items.

Zabel wished there had been some warning.

Local 4 Consumer Investigator Hank Winchester met with Peppiatt.

"It cost me $2,000 to move it in there and I don't have the wherewithal to move it every single time someone says 'I want this piece,'" Peppiatt said.

Getting Back To Business

In December, Peppiatt told Help Me Hank she had a lease for a new store in Berkley and she would be open by mid-January. Finally, in early February, she was able to open the new House of Renew.

"We apologize greatly for the inconvenience, and the extra time it's taken," said Peppiatt.

Help Me Hank cameras were rolling as Dennis Zabel came to reclaim his item. He was happy to receive the pottery pedestal in the same condition as when he dropped it off and he received a refund of his $17 deposit.

However, Zabel is not satisfied with the whole experience.

"Today is the actual 13 months that I brought it here and it never got repaired at my request," Zabel said. "I finally lost complete faith."

Other customers are choosing to leave their pieces to be repaired, some angered, some upset, but willing to wait a little longer to have their treasures repaired and returned to them.

"Most of them when you talk with them, they start to really calm down and they understand for the moment. But. people need to have their pieces with them, you know these are dear to them," Peppiatt said.

While our cameras were at the new location, we saw customers bringing in new pieces for repair, ready to trust the new House of Renew. However, for others, the trust remains broken.

If you have a personal treasure at the House of Renew, reach out to the owner to discuss what happens next. Her new location is in the strip mall at the corner of Woodward and 12 Mile, 28913 Woodward Avenue in Berkley.

If you have a consumer complaint you'd like Help Me Hank to investigate, email helpmehank@clickondetroit.com or call 313-298-WDIV and leave a message.