Wine storage company sued after disposing of customer’s collection

A wine storage company in New York is being sued after it disposed of a customer’s 65-case wine collection after an alleged credit card mix-up.

Elisa Kwon de Alvarez filed a lawsuit against New York-based Chelsea Wine & Storage earlier this month after it dumped her wine collection.

According to court documents, Kwon de Alvarez began storing wine with the company in 1997, signing a contract to store 65 cases with the firm in 2004. She was charged monthly storage fees which were taken via automatic payments from her credit card account.

In 2010, Kwon de Alvarez moved to Spain but continued to store her wine at the facility. In 2011 she told the company that she had moved addresses and provided details of a new credit card in order to set up monthly payments.

Starting in around November 2016, Chelsea Wine & Storage attempted to take automatic payments for storage fees from a credit card that was not authorised by the plaintiff. Kwon de Alvarez, however, continued to be informed that her account was up-to-date with no outstanding charges.

However, Chelsea Wine & Storage claimed that she had accrued US$5,391.80 worth of debt on her account. Without notifying her, the company disposed of her wine collection in July 2018. It has subsequently refused to return the wine to her.

Kwon de Alvarez is seeking compensatory and statutory damages, as well as payment of her attorney’s fees and the expenses and costs of the litigation.

Chelsea Wine & Storage now has 20 days to respond to the complaint. Details of how the wine was disposed of, and which wines were in the collection, have not been disclosed.

Kwon de Alvarez is married to Pablo Álvarez, a member of the family that owns acclaimed Spanish winery Vega Sicilia in Ribera del Duero.

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