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Too Good To Be True? Groupon Users Crowdsource Suspect Offer

Too Good To Be True? Groupon Users Crowdsource Suspect Offer

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Published by: Crowdsourcing.org on May 25, 2011
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02/03/2013

 
16 hours ago by Sarah Kessler 
Groupon users in Denver found Tuesday‟s deal for a 61% price cut on home
delivery of local, organic fruit from a company called Specialty Organics to bemore than a little suspicious.
“I‟m into this sort of thing [organic produce], and one thing I know is that there is
very little fruit grown in Colorado, and to offer it all over the state for delivery just
didn‟t make sense — 
 
none of these companies or farms do that,” explains Maria
Fraietta, a teacher in Denver who was the first to question whether the companywas up to something fishy on
the deal‟s discussion board.“All of them explainhow they work, approximately what you‟ll get, and how it will be delivered. Thisone didn‟t.”
 
Fraietta‟s concerns, and those of others who left more than 100 comments on the
board for the Denver deal, raise a valid question. As the ever-growing hoard of 
daily deals sites expands to every corner on the map, might some of the sites‟
offers be too good to be true?
It‟s a question that Groupon has taken to heart — 
building up afactcheckingdepartment withguidelines that require checkers to verify reviews and reviewer identity. The site is currently searching for a Factchecking Manager.
 
 
User Skepticism
In the meantime, users are picking up the slack. Fraietta‟s investigations soon
inspired others to look into Specialty Organics and visit its skeletal website. 
 
“Kyle S.,” who s
poke for the company throughout the discussion on DenverGroupon, mentioned in his first message another company, The Delectable Plate,that he said Specialty Organics acquired in February.Groupon users immediately turned up the awful reviews that The Delectable Platehad accumulated on Yelp across several cities. Reviewers had complained of moldy deliveries,missing orders and undelivered refunds. 
“It surely does seem that Specialty Organics used to be The Delectable Plate as onereviewer states,” commented Stacy C. on the discussion board. “Most reviews
mention they got into this through vouchers bought off the internet, and most
mention a „Kyle‟ based out of Denver.”
 The Delectable Plate ran a $79 daily deal with at leastone deal site beforegoing out of business
,reportedly when a local organic partner farm didn‟t package goods
properly. In a statement explaining the closing, the site offered its deal customers$79 gift certificates at Speci
alty Organics, “a corporation with a similar concept tous, but on a much larger scale.”
 
What caught commenters‟ attention about the
Groupon deals that ran on Tuesdayin Denver, DC, and Boston were the lack of specifics
 — 
no farmers were named ineither the deal description or website, delivery was offered throughout the state of 
Colorado (“We do have multiple locations around the state to make this possible,”
Kyle S. said on the discussion board) and nobody named what the promised fruitboxes would contain. The voicemail of a customer service number (a Google voice
account for Kyle Pommer, the company‟s director of marketing) indicated that itwas “experiencing higher call volume than usual.”
 
 A Closer Look At Specialty Organics
Pommer told
 Mashable
that Specialty Organics is a 4-person company workingwith produce couriers in 15 markets. The company has no physical base, but ratherpartners with a company called The FruitGuys
,which acts as its “farmer liaison” in

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