Sep 14, 2012 / 11:50 am
The owner of GoSango says the company is sold.
Michael Minor says a Kelowna company, Smart Betty, has agreed to purchase the discount coupon company.
"In the end we had three offers (from others) to buy the company, and we've chosen the local one. We feel that's the best for the local business merchants and the local subscribers to our business."
A press release sent to Castanet states: "GoSango is pleased to announce that Smart Betty, a locally owned and operated company, has acquired the business assets. Smart Betty owners, Bruce and Deanna Maki come with a wealth of local business knowledge and have developed a business model that benefits the community. 100% of the purchase price will go to GoSango's merchant arrears which will be paid out in trust by our law firm over the coming weeks. We feel very comfortable handing over the relationship and care of our customers to Smart Betty."
Minor says the deal will ensure that their outstanding debt with merchants who had purchased the deals will be settled. He says the negative publicity has hurt his company and he accused some of his clients of taking advantage of the situation.
"The merchants who aren't honouring vouchers, many of them have been paid...we're creating a scenario where the merchants are taking advantage of the negative press."
Go Sango says they will supply Castanet with a list of vendors who have been paid.
There have been numerous complaints from customers and vendors. Many vendors are saying they have not been paid and over 20 people have reported that the coupons they purchased are not being honoured.
Since the story was first published, Castanet continues to receive emails complaining of a lack of satisfaction with the company.
Some of the comments include:
"Calavanti Luxury Salon & Spa sees no other way than to sue the on-line marketing firm DBA Twongo/GoSango for payment of so called 'Big Deal' vouchers sold up to six months ago. Various attempts to avoid this step did not lead to any success. In the meantime we had to close the salon and spa as we felt the heat of angry T/G customers (we had still 200 open vouchers, which we declared we would no longer honour)."
"Our company, Mobil 1 Lube Express, has promoted 2 deals on Twongo/ GoSango. The first deal was Feb. 25, 2011 where we sold 1001 oil changes on Twongo at a discounted rate. We had no issue receiving the check at the end of March 2011. However, we ran another deal where we sold 63 rad flushes on Nov 22, 2011. We had much more difficulty getting paid. Perhaps it was timing, perhaps I pressured the correct person, but we received our check for the second deal. We decided we would never run a promotion through this media again."
"I own Pack-N-Stack Moving Boxes and ran an offer with the former Twongo, and have still not been paid after 6 months, even after repeated attempts to collect. As a business owner I will stop honouring my vouchers that have not yet been redeemed."
Not all of the comments were negative however.
"We’ve had great experiences so far with Twongo and GoSango. We’ve discovered restaurants that were fabulous and that we will definitely try again. One of our best “finds” through Twongo was the Vibrant Vines winery. We’ve also used East Side Mario’s coupons four times, and every time it was great. Our whole family has used many restaurant coupons every time they were repeated, and had only good experiences. I wonder if it’s small start-up businesses that are having trouble since they probably can’t afford to wait for a pay out."
"We are from Quest Martial Arts and We recently ran two ads with GoSango. The work they put into our product was excellent. The advertisement we received has helped to bring awareness to our business and we are very appreciative for that exposure. Had we run the ads ourselves it would have cost us time, effort to create the ads and money to place and run them. It is the cost of doing business. Whether we get paid or not, we now have 25 extra people coming to our school that we might not have had otherwise. We look forward to honouring all of the coupons that customers have purchased and we welcome them all and many others to our school."
As for customers, many expressed their frustration at not being able to use the coupons they purchased.
"I stopped buying these quite some time ago for these reasons. Merchants that I visit often were not getting their money after numerous attempts by them to get it. I sent an email as a dissatisfied customer and all I received in return was a bunch of crap of excuses and blaming the vendors for various reasons."
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