Fake Groupon causes problems for local salon

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Deborah Harrington has put her heart and soul into Riva Salon, and she carefully tracks every detail to keep her business running smoothly.

So when a new client called the North Providence salon and asked about a Groupon deal, Harrington was surprised.

“I said ‘what Groupon? We don’t have a Groupon active,'” Harrington recalled.

The new client sent Harrington a screen shot of the Groupon.

The screen shot shows the deal cost $20 for $40 worth of services at Riva Salon.

Harrington called it a fake.

Then she noticed, in small print, the Groupon said services were only available through one person, a person who was not working at the salon when the deal was offered.

“It causes a lot of problems with the business and with the guest,” Harrington said. “We’ve been honoring the Groupons, and that’s hurting our business.”

Harrington said almost a month passed and Groupon didn’t respond to her concerns.

“I would like to have some type of monitoring from Groupon for businesses,” she said. “I would want them to check into the Groupon itself, to the business to make sure this is legitimate.”

Nicholas Halliwell, a spokesperson for Groupon, acknowledged that independent contractors who rent space at salons can set up deals without notifying the salon owner.

Halliwell did not say whether the company has a policy regarding the use of business names.

He told Call 12 for Action the Riva Salon deal was purchased by six people. Four have been refunded by Groupon.

He said the company will refund Riva Salon for the two Groupons that were cashed in, with services rendered.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.