Update: A Groupon spokesperson has now told us, "We have paused the deal, fixed the name and also contacted Google in order to de-index the link from search results (which typically takes 1-2 business days to process)."
It's getting to be that time of the year. People want to buy gifts for the people they care about, and for some people, a massage is just the perfect thing.
When you think of shopping online for a massage, what's the first source you think of? I'll bet that it's Groupon. The deals provider is known (almost infamously) for frequently offering deals for massages and spas.
One particular massage therapist isn't very happy about seeing her name appear in a current deal. Especially considering that the deal is for a business that she's not even part of. Nor is she thrilled that Groupon continues to run the deal despite having been made aware of the error.
Carlos Scarpero at DaytonPulse , a Dayton small business publication, discusses the situation in an article. The massage therapist in question is his wife Kate. You can see the deal bearing her name in the image above.
The deal has been indexed by Google, so it's out there for people looking for massage deals. It has also been picked up by deal aggregation sites, of course.
Suffice it to say, Kate and Carlos are not happy about it, especially considering that they were not very high on Groupon in the first place. According to Carlos, Kate "hates" what Groupon has done to the massage therapy industry. He points to a 2012 USA Today article saying only 3% of retailers report getting repeat business from daily deals promotions.
"Kate may not like Groupon, but the new management at The Massage Room decided to run one. That’s fine. It’s a free country. Just don’t involve us in it," Carlos writes. "But what happened next was pretty shocking. Kate started getting inquiries from people wanting to redeem their Groupons."
He explains, "We find the listing and Groupon has the Massage Room listed as The Massage Room- Kate Scarpero, even though Kate left several months ago! Kate wasn’t even the owner of The Massage Room to begin with. She was a subcontractor there. Let me repeat….Kate NEVER has been an owner of The Massage Room."
So Kate called the Massage Room to see if they knew about it. They didn't. When they found out, according to the article, they complained to Groupon, but were told, "sorry, can't change it until the deal is over."
That's not sitting too well with the Scarperos.
We've reached out to Groupon for comment, and will update if and when we hear back.
Thanks to DaytonPulse for the tip.