I’ve been following this story since one of my friends notified me of this incredible deal for The Butchers organic meats – $99 for $400 worth of organic meats. I thought that sounded interesting, but at the time I didn’t feel comfortable with those online group deals, so I didn’t partake. Over the next few days he kept sending me the same deal but from different websites. I questioned their validity, but he seemed unfazed.
Fast forward a few months, chaos ensues, no one is getting their meat from The Butchers (not to be confused with The Friendly Butcher, The Healthy Butcher – they’re legit) and everyone was and currently are still, trying to get their money back. Unfortunately there hasn’t been much success for the consumer.
According to Marlon Pather (the owner), it’s a big sob story for them – they were over zealous, naive and signed up for too many coupon deals and now were bound by poorly written contracts blah blah blah. The coupon companies are, obviously, not taking responsibility either. The solution? A mystery. The Butchers began to only take orders from coupon holders during restricted store hours claiming the demand for meat was overwhelming and some municipal governing body required them to do so in order to keep the meat “in regulation.” Soon after that The Butchers closed down for renovations to accommodate the demand. Approximately half a year goes by, The Butchers re-opens their door but as Marlon’s Meats.
Let’s play a the Assumption Game.
The owner, Marlon, had a reputation for providing quality meats (might not be true, but it’s the assumption game). He decides that he’ll be a bit greedy, increase his revenues by getting in on the the group buy/coupon phenomenon. So not only does he sign up for one, but signs up for many – Webpiggy, Dealgetters, DealFind, Dealtickers, TeamBuy and BuyTopia. Alright, Marlon claims being naive, but really? We can assume he knew exactly what he was doing. He uses the money he scams from the consumers to re-brand and renovate the old place in addition to opening a NEW STORE – Marlin’s Fish Shop (I believe this will be located close to the Meat store). Now he’s refusing to have any responsibility for the coupons and redeeming them. He had “extended” the coupons until Labour Day 2012, but when people can’t even get them – it’s just a lie.
I have researched and gone through MANY comments on other blogs, news sites and forums. There seems that a very very selected few have actually received refunds from the coupon companies and no one has actually gotten meats from the The Butchers/Marlon’s Meats. People are still talking about it and consumers are still trying to get their money back.
Here are all the “solutions” or “things you can do” to try to get your money back…or perhaps even some meat???
- Call your coupon company and harass them until they give you something.
Apparently some consumers have had some luck with refunds this way. Some have received CREDITS, which isn’t the same as money…but, better than nothing? Apparently PETER from BUYTOPIA does something…
- Bring up the Consumer Protection Act in your Correspondence.
We all have rights and we’re also protected…to a certain degree. (http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_02c30_e.htm#BK17).
- File a Complaint with the Consumer Protection Branch.
This seems to work for some (http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/Complaint_Steps_to_File.aspx)
- Going Through the Credit Card Company.
According to some people, they have been successful with going this route, but only with support from the Consumer Protection Branch. The latest success story I’ve read from someone doing this is from a post on RedFlagDeals forum on February 4, 2012.
- Legal Action – class-action lawsuit
There have been some/many who have expressed interest in filing a class-action lawsuit against The Butchers/Marlon’s Meats and all the coupon companies involved. I tried looking it up on the internet to see if it currently exists, but I couldn’t really find anything. I did see a person who is trying to round up those interested, you can email them (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Legal Action – small claims.
There are some individuals who have pursued by hiring their own lawyers to deal with the issue. It seems to work well.
Those are the most popular modes of action that I’ve encountered so far in my research. I’ve also heard of people garnering media backup and attention (Peter Silverman anyone? http://petersilvermanhelps.com/index.php/contact-us).
As for Marlon and his business(es), his website officially DOES NOT have an FAQ section outlining what coupon holders should do, it loads extremely slowly/doesn’t load sometimes, has no real information – only promises. Their twitter account once upon a time had ONE “test” tweet, since then, no tweets, no updates.
It seems this saga will not end anytime soon. It will be interesting as Labour Day 2012 approaches and what legal action(s) will be taken!
Good luck to all who are pursuing justice!