Online promotion idea turns sour for cupcake shop owner


The problem involves one of those online daily deals where, at a deep discount, you buy gift certificates to local businesses. Stephanie Jones thought it would be a sweet deal for her, but instead it turned sour.

Jones recently opened her store, the Cupcake Stop Shop, in the Blake Street Shops in downtown Raleigh. To get her cupcakes out there, she ran a promotion through Twongo.  She says the online deal was successful as she sold more than $800 worth of cupcakes.

Through the Twongo deal, Stephanie was supposed to get 60 percent of the sales. When she didn't get her check, she reached out to her Twongo rep.

"I sent another email, 'I'm sorry I've been so busy, when is it that I get paid?' And she said 30 days after your deal ends," said Stephanie.

She waited another month but nothing happened. So she called the owner of Twongo, which is based in Cary.

"He calls me back two days later and said, 'We've had some accounting issues but we have your information. We'll send your check out in the next couple of days,'" recalled Stephanie.

Days turned into weeks and there was still no check.

"I'm honoring the deals because it's the right thing to do but it's money that I provide supplies for," said Stephanie. "It hurts me. I mean that's $500 worth of money that could be going towards an advertising budget or to increase in here."

Stephanie reached out to me and I got in touch with the owner on Twongo. The next day, Stephanie's check for $510 was hand delivered to her.

"It means I can move forward with the business, buy new things that we need to keep moving up and keep growing to drive in new customers," said Stephanie. "Thank you Diane. You can have cupcakes whenever you want forever. I really do appreciate everything you guys did."

Stephanie says the owner did apologize for the delay.  

He told me that Twongo has paid merchants in a timely manner over the past three-and-a-half years, and maintains a very high repeat run rate with our merchants to this day.

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