x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Groupon Middle East under investigation by Dubai authorities

Dubai authorities have launched an investigation into Groupon Middle East after a slew of complaints over poor customer service.

Dubai authorities have launched an investigation into Groupon Middle East after a slew of complaints over poor customer service.

Hundreds of complaints have been lodged against the online deals service as customers faced major delays to orders.

Groupon Middle East is registered in Dubai Media City, one of the freezones operated by Tecom.

Authorities there have launched an investigation into the complaints against Groupon.

"We are investigating the matter," said Amina Al Rustamani, the chief executive of Tecom Business Parks.

"We will be in touch with Groupon to understand how we can sort out the issue … We need to understand what the issue is, and the type of complaint, before we take any action."

Tecom is part of Dubai Holding, the conglomerate owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Authorities from Tecom plan to meet with Groupon soon, Dr Rustamani said.

She added that it was too early to elaborate on the action that Groupon Middle East could face.

Dr Rustamani said that - despite the number of complaints lodged against Groupon - it was important to establish who is responsible for the issues.

"People blame Groupon, but you have to be very fair and clear as to what the issue is," she said.

"You have many stakeholders involved … It's very difficult to say where the problem is: Is it a problem with the retailer or Groupon?"

Groupon said it had not been informed of any investigation into its practices.

“We have not been informed of an investigation by TECOM or any other authorities in the UAE. However, should this be the case, we will cooperate fully with TECOM and work with the Authority to ensure any concerns raised are addressed,” said Simon Pugh, head of marketing and public relations at Groupon. “Ultimately, we want the Groupon experience to be the best possible for consumers and small businesses, combining excellent experiences and offers with good customer service.  We welcome feedback from our customers that will enable us to make changes and ensure that the Groupon experience is a positive one for customers and merchants alike.”

The site has been inundated with complaints on Facebook, with consumers bemoaning poor service.

The problems have coincided with management upheaval at the firm. Earlier this month, Groupon Middle East parted ways with Ainsley Duncombe, its second chief executive in less than six months.

bflanagan@thenational.ae

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