April 17 2013 by Ellen Roseman
After a bad experience, I’ll never buy a prepaid coupon again. And many people are telling me the same thing.
I paid $100 for $400 worth of meat at a Toronto store called The Butchers. Owner Marlon Pather couldn’t fulfill the orders and closed his doors for redemptions as the deadline loomed last September.
No problem. The deal site, WebPiggy, gave me a credit with no expiry date to use for other items.
But a few months later, my $100 credit is gone. I get an email that says WebPiggy has an alliance with Buytopia to feature its deals.
“Any WebPiggy credits are non-transferable, which means that you may not use them towards purchases on Buytopia, nor are they eligible for cash refunds,” says Trishelle in customer service.
How ethical is that? First, WebPiggy didn’t stand behind a supplier who reneged. Then, it didn’t stand behind its own pledge to customers.
Owner Harold Moore, are you there? Do you have anything to say to all the people you let down? Some spent $500 on coupons they weren’t able to use.
Another coupon site, Dealfind, also caught up in The Butchers fiasco, was acquired by TeamBuy. Owner Ghassan Halazon did talk to CBC Marketplace when asked about its restrictive refund policy in an April 12 show.
Be patient, Halazon said. As we grow, we will give refunds beyond the first few weeks. We will do better.
Who wants to wait? Groupon went public at $20 in November 2011, but its its stock price has dropped to $6.30. Investors are souring on the business.
After being burned, I’m dealing only with companies I trust to give my money back if a deal disappoints. If all of us do that, we can force the marginal players out of business.