Quebec business owners say Groupon owes them cash

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Some small business owners in Quebec say Groupon Inc. has left them in the lurch amid signs the company is scaling back its operations in the province.

Éloïse Lafrenière, who owns the Davelo Beauty Institute in the Montreal suburb of Carignan, says the daily deals company owes her $11,500 after her salon launched a promotional campaign for facials and other treatments with Groupon in February.

She hasn’t received a cent since, with calls going unreturned and email replies coming late, she said.

“They would always delay us by a week, saying, ‘Oh, you’ll receive the payment next week,'” said Lafrenière. “We started to become worried.”

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She got in touch with a lawyer and is now considering a class action lawsuit. “We are not the only ones not to have been paid. There are multiple businesses in our situation,” she said.

Jean-Benoit Daigneault, who runs the Heli-Tremblant helicopter tour company, said Groupon owes him nearly $2,000. He said he’s been forced to reject passengers’ coupons as a result.

“It’s not a big amount. But it’s a question of customer relations, and that’s not good,” he said. “I’m not even able to contact them to say, ‘Stop selling it.'”

“I tried to contact my sales representative; the phone number was shut down. Their general inquiry number was shut down. And the only way you can contact them is send them an email, but there’s nobody who replies,” said Daigneault.

Groupon, which shuttered its Montreal sales office in March, said it issued payments Thursday following a story in La Presse, but the business owners say they have yet to receive a cheque.

The company said the delayed payments “were broadly merchant communication/education issues and were not in any way related to external factors — competitive or otherwise.”

“Groupon will of course pay all Quebec merchants for Groupons that they’ve successfully redeemed — and continue to redeem,” spokesman Nicholas Halliwell wrote in an email.

“While Groupon no longer staffs a discrete sales office in Montreal, customers in Quebec can continue to purchase local deals, products and travel.”

The rest of the 11-year-old company’s Canadian markets have “long been served” out of its U.S. headquarters, he added.

Some small business owners in Quebec say Groupon Inc. has left them in the lurch amid signs the company is scaling back its operations in the province.

Éloïse Lafrenière, who owns the Davelo Beauty Institute in the Montreal suburb of Carignan, says the daily deals company owes her $11,500 after her salon launched a promotional campaign for facials and other treatments with Groupon in February.

She hasn’t received a cent since, with calls going unreturned and email replies coming late, she said.

“They would always delay us by a week, saying, ‘Oh, you’ll receive the payment next week,'” said Lafrenière. “We started to become worried.”

She got in touch with a lawyer and is now considering a class action lawsuit. “We are not the only ones not to have been paid. There are multiple businesses in our situation,” she said.

Jean-Benoit Daigneault, who runs the Heli-Tremblant helicopter tour company, said Groupon owes him nearly $2,000. He said he’s been forced to reject passengers’ coupons as a result.

“It’s not a big amount. But it’s a question of customer relations, and that’s not good,” he said. “I’m not even able to contact them to say, ‘Stop selling it.'”

“I tried to contact my sales representative; the phone number was shut down. Their general inquiry number was shut down. And the only way you can contact them is send them an email, but there’s nobody who replies,” said Daigneault.

Groupon, which shuttered its Montreal sales office in March, said it issued payments Thursday following a story in La Presse, but the business owners say they have yet to receive a cheque.

The company said the delayed payments “were broadly merchant communication/education issues and were not in any way related to external factors — competitive or otherwise.”

“Groupon will of course pay all Quebec merchants for Groupons that they’ve successfully redeemed — and continue to redeem,” spokesman Nicholas Halliwell wrote in an email.

“While Groupon no longer staffs a discrete sales office in Montreal, customers in Quebec can continue to purchase local deals, products and travel.”

The rest of the 11-year-old company’s Canadian markets have “long been served” out of its U.S. headquarters, he added.