SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — Faial Restaurant and Lounge closed for good in July, leaving more than 1,000 customers with unused gift certificates.
Call 12 For Action has learned Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is now taking the owners of the Smithfield restaurant to court.
According to Kilmartin, his office tried repeatedly to reach a resolution with the owners of Faial about the gift certificates without going to court, but it didn’t work.
“It quickly blossomed into one of the bigger consumer cases we’ve had on this issue of gift certificates,” Kilmartin told Call 12 For Action. “Whether it’s 25 or 100, that’s money that people spent in advance for products that they’re expecting they’re going to get.”
Last summer, the Smithfield restaurant closed suddenly – and then reopened. At the time, Eyewitness News spoke with one of the owners, Jose Faria, about the reopening of the restaurant.
“We’re back on,” he said. “We’re going to honor every certificate. Hopefully, we’re here for a long time.”
Within days, Faial closed again – this time for good.
Since its closure, the AG’s Office said it has received 1,100 consumer complaints from customers who have gift certificates to the restaurant. Call 12 For Action has learned those outstanding certificates are worth more than $152,000.
“We don’t know how that money was spent,” Kilmartin said. “We have not been provided an explanation.”
After several meetings without resolution, Kilmartin filed a complaint in Superior Court citing the restaurant and its owners, Jose and Emelia Faria, for violating the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Unfair Sales Practices Act.
Jose Faria told Call 12 For Action over the phone that he had no comment about the Superior Court complaint.
Thursday, we also reached out to Faria’s attorney by both phone and email. We have not yet heard back.