A small business owner in the Shoals got the shock of her life when the Alabama Department of Labor said she owed them over $4,000.
Holland Jones owns Brow Revival and Microblading in Florence. She had to close her microblading and lash salon for about two months in 2020 because of the state's coronavirus mandate.
She filed for unemployment while she was forced to be closed, but she never imagined they'd ask for it all back and then some months later.
Jones said she got a letter in the mail threatening court action if she didn't pay the state money, because the letter claimed the state overpaid her on unemployment.
"When I saw that, I thought it might be a scam, so I went online and logged in and it said I owed like $4,200," said Jones.
But it wasn't a scam and Holland Jones was confused on how she possibly owed the Alabama Department of Labor that much money, because she didn't get that amount in unemployment.
"I was immediately stressed. I called my accountant to see what she would say about it. She was shocked and I wanted answers as soon as possible," said Jones.
So, Jones tried calling to get to the bottom of it.
"I emailed them twice with two different people that work there. I tried calling them multiple times. They wouldn't answer. It said their lines were busy and they would hang up. If you try and schedule an appointment, they say their appointments are full and I actually filed an appeal online, too, and they never got back to me," said Jones.
That's when WAAY 31 found out about Jones' issues and started emailing the Alabama Department of Labor to find out what was going on.
"She replied really quickly after you sent her that email. She replied to me within 5 minutes when I hadn't gotten a response in several days," said Jones.
The Department of Labor said this was a preliminary review that Jones owed money, but after a more extensive review, it turns out she didn't. Jones said she could have gone without the stress.
"It was just a stressful situation and turned out to be completely fine, but the fact that they sent that letter and then wouldn't respond to me stressed me out even more and then to finally get that answer after you messaged them was a relief," said Jones.
Jones said she heard from other people that this was happening, too. The Department of Labor said if someone truly does owe them money, they can start up a payment plan by clicking here. The state also said people can call 1-800-361-4524.