Los Gatos shop charges woman with Alzheimer's $7K+ for products she didn't want; I-Team steps in

The I-Team has found that the shop has an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Dan Noyes Image
Friday, April 5, 2024
Los Gatos salon charges woman with Alzheimer's $7K+ for products
Elements skincare shop in Los Gatos charged a women with Alzheimer's more than $7,000 for products she didn't want. I-Team steps in to help.

LOS GATOS, Calif. (KGO) -- The I-Team's Dan Noyes met Evgeni Goldin at his Los Gatos skincare shop this past Wednesday.

Dan Noyes: "How did this happen in the first place?"

Shop owner: "All the information you need is right here."

Noyes: "Can you tell me how this happened?

Shop owner: "Here you go."

Noyes: "Are you going to give their money back? That's it, huh?"

VIDEO: Oakland nursing home faces lawsuit alleging rape, neglect and fraud after 'hiding problems'

A nursing home facility in East Oakland is facing a lawsuit alleging rape, elder neglect and fraud. Victim is battling Alzheimer's and dementia.

The owner of a South Bay shop charged an Alzheimer's patient more than $7,000 for skincare supplies she never requested and didn't want. Dan Noyes began investigating after a tip from an Alzheimer's family support group. He quickly found out that this shop in Los Gatos has an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. This latest episode is causing a lot of stress for a couple already dealing with a very difficult diagnosis.

A woman we'll call Sophie doesn't want to use her real name or show her face, because she hasn't told all her friends that she has early-onset Alzheimer's disease. She turns 60 this week.

Sophie: "Also with Alzheimer's, I'm not always going to be prescient and complete."

Noyes: "Is that frustrating for you sometimes?"

Sophie: "Every day."

MORE: Nearly deaf CA woman loses $10,000 to scam typed on her CapTel phone

But, it was important for Sophie and her husband -- we'll call him Mark, to do this interview.

He told the I-Team, "Our objective here is to figure out how to not have people go through what we have."

The Alzheimer's progressed to the point that Sophie lost her driver's license, so she enjoyed walking her Los Gatos neighborhood. During a stroll up North Santa Cruz Avenue two-and-a-half weeks ago, a worker at Elements skincare invited her in. Sophie thought it was a hair salon.

"He was kind and he did, you know, a few little things for like, you know, one's eyes once you're over 25," Sophie recounted. "And he said, 'Do you like that?' And I go, I go, 'Yeah that was nice.' He goes, 'Okay, you can try a couple more things. And then, you know, see if you like 'em.'"

Sophie spent more than two hours there. She says they offered champagne, and asked her to try a full-body LED device - she didn't want to take off her clothes. Sophie tells us she didn't notice when the workers started bagging up skincare products.

Noyes: "What did you think you were buying?"

Sophie: "I didn't think I was buying anything. I just thought it was gonna be a hair salon. I mean, chalk it up to having Alzheimer's and not thinking through. If I could have a new brain, I'd have it."

MORE: CA woman tricked into putting $20K in box, handing it to complete stranger

But Sophie had a feeling something was wrong. She called her mother in the Midwest and put her on the phone with the Elements staff. Her mother tells me it was not a friendly conversation, and that she made it clear - Sophie did not want any of their products.

Sophie doesn't remember giving the staff her debit card, or signing for a $1,600 loan. The staff rang up facial cream, cleansing mousse, stem cell body butter, eye serum, overnight mask, hand-held skincare light, and more. The total? $7,391.49. They gave Sophie three bags as she left.

Sophie: "That was a pretty hard sell. I mean, it was like, 'this is yours, this is yours, yeah, this is yours.'"

Noyes: "You didn't know that you purchased those things?"

Sophie: "No, I did not."

After she left the shop, Sophie met a longtime friend who returned with her to Elements, explained her Alzheimer's diagnosis, and demanded a full refund. The staff refused. Then, Sophie called her husband who rushed there.

"My wife was in tears," Mark said. "She was shaking. Absolutely demoralized."

Mark did his best to explain the situation to the staff, and to Elements owner Evgeni Goldin when he arrived.

MORE: Romance scam: Widow swindled out of life savings, finds out she has no home or companion

Noyes: "What sorts of things were you saying to them?"

Mark: "I said, 'You don't understand. She has no memory, you have to take this product back.' You gave her a product she didn't want, she didn't even know she has. And now I'm here 15 minutes later, just asking you to refund the product."

The argument escalated, so Mark called the police. The officer decided it was a civil matter, but urged Evgeni Goldin to refund the couple's money. Mark tells me the shop owner stuck to the same answer.

Mark: "It was, 'It is what it is. We charged the card, the debit card, there's no refund. Now, get out of here.'"

Noyes: "It was that direct."

Mark: "Absolutely."

Sophie: "It was awful."

VIDEO: Lawsuit: Calistoga Solage spa client claims she was sexually assaulted during massage

A Bay Area resort and spa is facing a lawsuit after a client says she was sexually assaulted during a massage.

The I-Team called Evgeni Goldin who also goes by Zack or Zeev for an interview; he agreed to meet Wednesday morning.

Noyes: "Morning, how's it going? Are you Zack?"

Evgeni Goldin: "That's your statement."

Noyes: "Are you Zack or Zeev?"

Goldin: "Zack."

Noyes: "I need to talk to you for the story, would you talk to me? You can actually do the right thing right now and give their money back. Will you do that?"

Goldin: "This my official statement."

Noyes: "I'm happy to have the official statement, but will you give their money back?"

Goldin: "There you go."

Goldin's statement reads in part, "In alignment with our dedication to exceptional customer care, we have refunded the purchase price minus restocking fee." The statement did not answer the core issue.

MORE: Bay Area mom finds out scammer already claimed her tax refund. Here's what saved her

Noyes: "How could you do this? An Alzheimer's patient, you took advantage of her this way? For $7,000 worth?"

Goldin: "Just read this."

Goldin wouldn't answer our follow-up questions either about the restocking fee.

It turns out, Goldin did refund $5,456 for the skincare devices after the I-Team got involved, but is now telling the couple he won't allow them to return the creams and lotions - he's keeping more than $1,700.

We called the Better Business Bureau about Evgeni Goldin and his Elements shop. BBB President and CEO Steven McFarland told us, "They have an 'F' rating on their BBB profile. An 'F' rating is, of course, on a scale of A to F, not very good."

Steven McFarland said Elements gets that F based on the number of complaints compared to total customers they have, and the number of unanswered complaints. He says Evgeni Goldin should have taken action, at the very least, by the time Sophie's friend, her husband, and the police clearly disclosed the health challenges she faces. "If they knew, the company knew that there was a capacity issue, that's a problem and they should take all the merchandise back."

There are dozens more complaints about Elements Los Gatos on the BBB site, on Yelp and Yahoo. Meanwhile, Evgeni Goldin has been posting on social media for new salespeople. Goldin wrote, "We will teach you the system of selling our products. A bulletproof system that has proven itself over and over again."

Sophie hopes word gets out about her experience at Evgeni Goldin's shop.

"It's bad enough to have Alzheimer's," she said. "It's even worse when you have people who are predatory. I can't even - I can't even imagine harming people like that."

In his written statement, Evgeni Goldin says he's committed to exceptional service and "the well-being of our guests." We'll let you know if he changes his mind about refunding that last $1,700. We also talked to the Alzheimer's Association about what happened, and they provide some important context. Watch below and check their website for more tips.

Tips for families of people going through process of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's Association executive director Elizabeth Edgerly talks about our victim and gives tips for families dealing with a loved one going through the process of Alzheimer's.

Take a look at more stories by the ABC7 News I-Team.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live