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Groupon under fire in Germany over bad deals

Groupon - the  deal-of-the-day website that features discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies - is in hot water in Germany.

Groupon recently launched in Austria from America but in Germany the company has been panned.

A German man and his family made the first complaint when he bought a Groupon voucher online for the "Great China" restaurant in Hamburg.

The man named as Marc W., 21, paid 147.60 Euro instead of 200 for the voucher but as it turned out the restaurant does not except any vouchers.

Since then Marc is trying to contact Groupon to get his money back but said he had had no reaction since then.

Groupon spokesperson Sophie Guggenberger in Germany said however that the customer service for the firm is contactable 24-hours a day - but recently has had some issues due overloading and the relocation of the companies headquarters.

Furthermore, Groupon has had problems with some other partners and many refunds have been necessary.

The owner of the "Great China" restaurant Ms. Wu originally planned on requesting a Groupon partnership for the future. However, just a couple of days after someone from Groupon came by  the restaurant there was an offer available for the restaurant online, although a contract was never signed by Ms. Wu according to German media.

Another woman Katrin Wege (44), the owner of the "Blaue Blume", lost about 10,000 due a Groupon deal. The offer for her restaurant in Hamburg was supposed to be online for 24 hours but actually was available for 48 hours, she said.

Some 700 vouchers were sold for 14,50 each with a an original value of 30 Euro. Groupon keeps about half of the price for themselves with the rest going to the firm.

Martin Harneit (33) who owns a window-cleaning service and was hoping for some advertising through Groupon also suffered, with a similar story to Katrin Wege.

Groupon also sold more vouchers than he agreed on, and still owes him 800 Euro. Now, the small business of his is under threat of being bankrupt if they do not get the money back.

Bürgel, the business information company, classifies the credit rating of Groupon in Germany as weak said local media.

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