A Colorado Springs tattoo shop is under fire, accused of mistreating some customers who purchased a tattoo coupon on the discount website Living Social.
Hellbent Tattoos, on the corner of Colorado and Wahsatch avenues, sold vouchers on Living Social for $300 worth of tattoos for $75 and $180 worth of tattoos for $35. They sold nearly 700 coupons even though the owner of Hellbent, James Ortiz, said he is the only artist in the shop.
TARGET 13 Investigates got complaints from multiple customers who said, after waiting weeks for an appointment, they were canceled on at the last minute.
"I get to the door and it's literally locked and they didn't answer," said David Deal. "There was no message on the door, just nobody answered."
"About two hours before the appointment, (the shop assistant) texted me saying the shop was closed and she would call me the next day to re-schedule," said Leanna Shull. "I never heard back."
Schull and two other women who talked to TARGET 13 said they were banned from the shop after they complained to Ortiz and his assistant.
"We were basically told to take our vouchers and shove them up our...horrible words," said Sharon Pierce.
"I let them know that this run around is ridiculous, and I had waited a long time for my appointment," said Corri Hose, who said she also had difficulty re-scheduling when her appointment was canceled. "They got upset, told me I was the rudest person they ever met and would no longer do my tattoo."
Ortiz told TARGET 13 he didn't feel he got in over his head when he sold the hundreds of vouchers.
"We have a few people who are upset," Ortiz said by phone. "We didn't guarantee perfect scheduling."
He said some customers are being rude and impatient, but did admit to canceling some appointments because he was tattooing celebrities.
An online commercial for the business features Ortiz tattooing rappers Bizzy Bone and Tech N9ne as well as Justin B. from Dog the Bounty Hunter and Chris "Kid" Reid formerly of the duo Kid 'n Play.
Ortiz went on to say that the shop is "doing everything we can to get (tattoos) done" for Living Social customers.
TARGET 13 called the shop and asked when we could schedule an appointment for a tattoo. We were told, with a Living Social voucher, the next appointment was available in December, but if we paid with cash, we could make an appointment for this week.
"We have appointments for Living Socials and we have appointments for cash walk-ins," said Ortiz's assistant, Dolly. "If we did Living Socials all day, every day, we'd be out of business."
Living Social did not return repeated requests for comment. The site has a seven day refund policy, but the people we spoke with who bought the Hellbent Tattoos deal said they were able to get refunds in the form of a credit for the website beyond that seven day period.
One woman who bought the deal directly from Hellbent said she has not been able to get a refund, because of the shop's no refund policy.