Nathan and Britni McDaniel are both always on the go.
They’re “foodies” who love a good meal, but their fast pace lunch and dinners usually need to be something simple.
They found and loved “Simply Fit Meals” which sold prepackaged meals.
"It is a lot easier to get these prepackaged meals that you know have a good quantity of food in there for you, like you said, at the office where you don’t necessarily have to take an hour lunch," said Nathan.
Nathan pre-paid $1,000 to the company. In exchange for putting that much money on a house account, Simply Fit Meals promised to add an additional $500.
He’s been using the service for the past three years with no problems until this summer.
Nathan and Britni both visited the store to pick up a meal and all the food was on clearance.
The workers told them Simply Fit Meals was going out of business. Britni said she immediately asked about their account.
"We in fact asked, 'Should we spend this?' and they said no," said Britni. "He was like I can’t answer any questions technically but you’re gonna be fine like it’s going to move over to the new company."
The couple was told several of the managers were going to reopen the business under a new name, REFUL.
Same concept, new location, and their house account balance would transfer over to the new company.
They even stapled a brochure about Reful to their receipt showing the couple still had more than $390 in the account. But when Reful opened, they were told the company was under no obligation to honor Simply Fit Meal’s account.
There was no contract, no sales agreement, nothing outlining what would happen if the business shut down or was closed.
Just a receipt showing the purchase was made. NBC 5 reached out to Reful and got an email saying “REFŪL is a new and completely separate company; we are not obligated to make any offers.”
Legally they’re right. Reful is it’s own entity.
"I have a sneaky feeling that the heads of both companies are the same people," said Nathan.
He might be on to something. The email we received from “Reful” came from a man named Christopher Sanchez.
Which is also the name of the owner of Simply Fit Meals.
We emailed back asking Sanchez, repeatedly, to speak on behalf of Simply Fit Meals, and explain to his customers how they should get their money back.
We never got a response. The McDaniels aren’t holding up much hope that they’ll get their money back either.
In that first email, Christopher Sanchez did offer the McDaniels fifty dollars on a house account at Reful, something the couple isn’t interested in.
The McDaniels took Simply Fit Meal at their word and handed them $1,000 for the promise that the money would be there to use in their store.
If you pre-pay anything, get a contract, a written agreement which spells out what you’re buying and what happens if there’s a dispute or if the company is sold, or goes under.
This applies to any and everything. In Texas it’s perfectly legal for a business to shut down and open up the very next day with the same workers.
You can file a lawsuit but it can be costly and often times not worth it.