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Sharing Spree fails to share the wealth

Local companies and nonprofits are not getting paid


Local business owners are saying the Portland branch of the Groupon-esque Sharing Spree LLC, which is based out of West Linn, owes them thousands of dollars for failing to honor discount deals.by: SUBMITTED - Sharing Spree

The Florida-based company has the standard social buying website format with shoppers signing up for daily emails announcing discounts on products or services available for purchase. Sharing Spree then divides the profits for the coupon sales with the business that offered the discount — but area business owners say Portland Sharing Spree didn’t do that.

Sharing Spree’s website claims it donates a portion of proceeds to local charities and nonprofit groups, such as West Linn-Wilsonville School District nonprofit Music and Arts Partners and the Lake Oswego School District Foundation, transforming a shopping spree into a “sharing spree.”

Lake Oswego Foundation Executive Director Mary Puskas said her organization received several hundred dollars from Sharing Spree last school year but has gotten nothing in several months. Sharing Spree still lists the foundation as one of its partners on its website. The foundation’s website no longer names Sharing Spree as a partner.

“We simply just stopped working with them as soon as we got wind of the fact that they weren’t paying businesses,” Puskas said.

According to MAP Treasurer Patti Millage, the nonprofit coordinated with Sharing Spree starting in September of 2010.

Though MAP has not officially severed its relationship with Sharing Spree, it did remove its logo and affiliation with Sharing Spree off the MAP website.

Millage declined to say how much MAP earned from Sharing Spree in the past or when the last donation was received.

The state attorney general’s office has received three formal, written complaints against Sharing Spree from area businesses. One complaint states Sharing Spree Chief Executive Officer Ron Sapp indicated in an email that Sharing Spree had been purchased.

The region’s Better Business Bureau has documented five complaints against the company, four of which originated in the Portland area. The BBB gives Sharing Spree an “F” rating on its website for failing to respond to two of the complaints. Some businesses are seeking legal action.

“The majority of complaints of Sharing Spree are coming from the Portland area, so that’s an indication that something is going on in this particular market,” said Kyle Kavas, a BBB spokeswoman.

According to West Linn Bullseye Coffee Company owner Linda Neace, Sapp has a post office box in her shop, which also acts as a post office.

Neace said upset people have come to her store looking for Sharing Spree’s owners.

“(Sharing Spree) customers are leaving messages and getting very frustrated,” Neace said, adding that boxes have now stopped being delivered to that post office box.

Sapp did not answer the phone for a scheduled phone interview with the Pamplin Media Group April 1. Sapp did not respond to subsequent calls or emails.

A license is required to operate a business in Oregon, but there is no license registered on the secretary of state’s website under the name Sharing Spree.

A search on the website came up with one related business with an active license under Sapp’s name, and it is called Double S Holdings Inc. It lists a Wilsonville and a West Linn address. There is a license for the Florida-based parent company in that state.

The attorney general complaint from Tan Republic, which has Lake Oswego and West Linn locations, estimated that it lost $3,500 to Sharing Spree.

“We write to you today to register a formal complaint against Sharing Spree and their unethical, dishonest business practices, and to report the PONZI scheme they have foisted on unwitting clients such as ourselves,” states a complaint that Tan Republic-Portland Chief Financial Officer Joseph Alan signed in February.

Alan said in a recent interview that Tan Republic is pursuing legal action against Sharing Spree and a class action lawsuit “is the very least that should be done against them.”

Lake Oswego & Happy Valley Adventure Bootcamp posted a warning against Sharing Spree on its Facebook page: “This is VERY important, please read! We recently did a deal with Sharing Spree to promote our business and 2 months later they’ve officially violated our contract by not paying us the money owed. ... If you are a previous, current, potential merchant or a consumer, I highly suggest to avoid doing any business with Sharing Spree.”

An attorney general complaint from the Ultimate Tan & Med Spa, which has several area locations, lists Sapp’s address as being in West Linn and claims Sharing Spree owes the business $7,300 from a discount deal.

Sapp’s October 2012 email in response to a request for payment is: “It should have been sent. I will make sure we get the payment to you.”

It is the last email from Sapp that is included in the complaint.

The owner of M2P Marketing, doing business as www.Fox12DailyDeals.com, negotiated a deal during a promotion. M2P claims in an attorney general complaint that Sharing Spree owes $35,000 between the deal and the merchants’ share of the revenues.

— Lori Hall contributed to this story.




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