LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) --Customers of a SoCal tattoo removal chain say they're out hundreds of dollars after the shops closed following an apparent ownership change.
Bonnie Colello, a Long Beach mom of two and a registered nurse, made a big decision last August to have the tattoo she got when she was 18 finally removed.
"Just to know that it's happening and you're moving on with your life. For me, it was going to be approximately two years to get my tattoo removed," Colello said.
After numerous recommendations, the 35-year-old went with Dr. Tattoff.
Dr. Tattoff's website claims of being "celebrity trusted" and having "10 years of experience."
"I bought a tattoo removal package, and it was well over $1,000," she said.
She says the prepaid package saved her about $1,000, but on her fourth visit this week, she was stunned to see the office was closed.
"The doors were shut. Everything was locked. There was a note on the door to call another office, which nobody ever answers," Colello said.
Neighbors said crews started moving equipment out of the office earlier in the week. The name also changed to Violet Medical.
Violet Medical posted online last December it had purchased Dr. Tattoff's assets and would be opening new clinics at Dr. Tattoff locations across Southern California to continue providing laser tattoo and hair removal services.
However, when Eyewitness News called the number provided, a recorded message played, stating the number was disconnected or was no longer in service.
"It's pretty clear that they're closed," Colello said.
Colello reached out to Eyewitness News and other Dr. Tattoff clients. She said there have been 13 she found so far who showed up to find the doors locked.
She said she feels fortunate she paid for only half the treatments.
"Some other people had spent like $6,000," she said.
Eyewitness News tried contacting other Dr. Tattoff locations, but so far our calls have not been returned.
Colello said she's consulting an attorney, but she fears her goal of having her past removed is now delayed.
"Now I'll just have to save up more money to put down on another medical facility that will remove it for me," she said.