Groupon Fires Sales Rep Who Threatened Negative Yelp Reviews for Restaurant Owner
Groupon has fired the sales rep who threatened to have his friends write bad Yelp reviews about restaurants owned by a small business owner who hung up on him, a spokesperson told AllThingsD.
“We can confirm that the individual is no longer a Groupon employee,” Groupon said of Andrew “Andy” Johnston, in a statement. “As a company that has featured more than 500,000 merchants, we take our relationships with every business very seriously and do everything we can to ensure they have a great experience with Groupon. We have personally apologized to the merchant.”
Johnston did not immediately respond to a phone call and text message seeking comment.
The spokesperson said the company does not plan to make any changes to its sales training program as a result of the incident.
“All indications are that this was an isolated incident,” the spokesman, Nicholas Halliwell, told AllThingsD. “There’s already a great deal of training that takes place.”
The incident was first publicized in a Facebook post by one of the owners of Sauce, a San Francisco restaurant, which included what the owner said was an email exchange between him and Johnston. Below is the alleged text of the email from Johnston directed to the business owner, Trip Hosley.
I sincerely appreciate you hanging up on me. As a resident of San Francisco for over 25 years, I have a huge network of friends (ages 25-40) that all are extremely active on Yelp as well as other social media. I will gladly let them know how you treated me as well as my feelings about the people who run Sauce.
Since the Friday email exchange, a bunch of five-star reviews have appeared on one of the Sauce location Yelp pages — more than one referencing the Groupon rep — as well as at least two one star-reviews.
Johnston joined Groupon in April of 2012, the company said.