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13 HELP Team investigates West Michiganders' claims Bounce with Banks LLC never showed up for event

Multiple families claim a local bounce house business has been taking money from customers but never showing up for events.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It all started with one message to the HELP Team email inbox. A local woman said she was denied a refund by Bounce with Banks LLC. That woman did not feel comfortable going on camera, so she connected us with a friend who was dealing with a similar situation. 

It wasn’t until after meeting with that friend, Erica Flores, that we realized multiple people claim to have had their money taken by the local bounce house business, but they never showed up for events.

All the while, the owner of the company, Lamont Banks, is behind bars.

“I actually reached out on a Monday and was able to speak to somebody via Facebook messenger,” Flores said, detailing her initial encounter with Banks. “I asked if they had availability for Saturday, that same Saturday, for a bounce house. They told me yes, and that the amount was $150.”

She said she went ahead and paid for the bounce house for her daughter’s seventh birthday party.

“The day of the party came. I was told they were going to arrive at noon,” Flores said. “It was like 11:42 when they reached out to say they were running a little behind to the appointment they had prior. They were just running behind, no big deal. They told me that they would be at my parent’s house around 2:30. I told them that at 3 p.m. was when her party was, so I wasn't panicking at the moment. He reached out again, and that time was at 2:40, letting me know that upon delivery they realized that they had overbooked essentially, and that they weren't coming.”

The bounce house she had already paid for was cancelled less than an hour before her daughter’s party. Screenshots of Flores’ correspondence with the company show she was offered a refund. Flores asked repeatedly for her $150 to be refunded, but she said Banks kept giving her the runaround.

“Eventually he was like ‘I can refund you. I have to wait three business days. It takes up to three business days for money to transfer from my personal account to my business account,’ all these different excuses essentially,” she said. “So I gave him till the fourth business day, and I told him that morning that if he did not refund me my funds by 5 p.m., that I was going to write an honest review on Facebook. He ignored me and eventually started blocking me on things. So at that point, I was pretty upset. So I went online, and I wrote a Facebook review, and it now has almost 500 shares."

Hundreds of comments started pouring in with many people saying they also had issues with the company. Meanwhile, the owner took to his personal Facebook page, assuring everyone his company is legit, then engaging with people in the comments, which included some strong language directed toward Flores.

“He has done since deleted everything, but I have screenshots of everything,” Flores said. “Eventually, he told me that I can get my money back in blood.”

At this point, Flores said she felt threatened by Banks.

“In this day and age, you just don't know what people are willing to do,” she said. “People do crazy things for the silliest things, so why not take that serious to a certain extent. You know, you just can never be too safe.”

The HELP Team also spoke with Jill Herweyer, the owner of HighPointe Farm, a horse riding school in Ada. Herweyer said she paid Bounce with Banks $1,300 for multiple bounce houses to be used by children at summer camps this past July.

“Every day, they get to ride and be with horses,” she said. “But then they also are outside all day. So we do lots of outdoor games, we do outdoor swimming, we do slip-n-slides, we do bounce houses.”

The deal, Herweyer said, was simple—three bounce houses each week for five weeks.

“He came the first two weeks, and everything was great. And then the third week came, and I sent him a confirmation text like I normally did. And then no reply. I thought maybe his phone died or whatever, and then Monday morning he didn't show up,” she said. “I don't expect to get the money back. I guess my hope is that he'll just kind of realize that there are consequences for not fulfilling things and not communicating about the issues that are going on. You just can't be a business and walk away from people.”

The Bounce with Banks Facebook page was recently deleted. Lamont Banks' personal page is also gone. Workers at Walker District Court 59 confirmed that Banks was arrested on July 16 and charged with false report of a felony. During his arraignment on August 29, Banks entered a plea of not guilty. A probable cause conference is scheduled for September 12 at 9am.

Jay and Charlie may be the faces of the HELP Team, but there are more members behind the scenes working to get the job done. HELP Team stories can be seen on weekdays at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and at www.13HelpTeam.com. People are encouraged to contact the HELP Team by calling 616-559-1313 and leaving a message or emailing help@13onyourside.com.

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