Online coupon seller not paying up, say Kelowna merchants

Business operators in Kelowna say an online coupon company is not paying them for the services sold through its website.
The website sold coupons for local businesses online.

Business operators in Kelowna say an online coupon company is not paying them for the services sold through its website.

The operation sells daily deals in the form of coupons offering substantial discounts for various services or products.

The coupon website — which is similar to, but not affiliated with, the popular Groupon website — is supposed to help businesses attract new customers by creating a buzz or brand awareness online.

The website launched in Kelowna last year and then expanded throughout the Okanagan and into the Lower Mainland.

But merchants are now complaining they're not getting paid by GoSango.

Lane Martin says he signed up to attract new customers to his furnace business. The deal was popular, but he says he never saw the money collected from customers on his behalf.

"I have probably 115 emails, one excuse after another, and I haven't received a dime from them," he said.

CBC News spoke with two other merchants who also say they're owed money by GoSango.

Company offices empty

GoSango CEO Mike Minor told CBC News GoSango has had cash flow problems and is restructuring. But he said his priorty is to do everything possible to keep the website alive so that customers can access their coupons.  

Minor said the vast majority of GoSango clients and customers are satisfied with the service.

But when CBC News visited the company's Kelowna office on Tuesday, it was empty, with no phones or computers — just a single whiteboard in an abandoned lobby.

The website still appeared to be online but was not offering any coupons, and the company's Facebook page and Twitter account were no longer operating.

So for now, the only access point for thousands of customers who have already purchased coupons and the businesses that might be expected to honour them is the website