01/23/2012 12:32 EST | Updated 03/24/2012 05:12 EDT

Groupon, others refund Ottawa butcher customers

Three coupon companies are refunding all online coupons issued for an Ottawa butcher that has stopped accepting the vouchers.

Aubrey's Meats has said financial difficulties after its owner's sudden death forced it to stop accepting and selling the online coupons it had advertised.

The coupons were used to bring in new customers and new revenue, but the ByWard Market butcher continues to struggle, owing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Team Buy, Deal Find and Groupon are all refunding Aubrey's coupons. However, Ottawa-based Kahoot refuses to refund the online coupons.

The company has stuck to its policy of not refunding coupons more than seven days old.

"We have been made aware of these unfortunate circumstances regarding Aubrey's," reads a statement sent to customers.

"Unfortunately we are unable to refund vouchers outside of seven days after purchase. If interested in a refund, we suggest going directly to Aubrey's as they are now liable for their commitment to honour all vouchers sold."

Kahoot added that its coupons never expire. Aubrey's has said it will start accepting vouchers again as of May 1.

One Aubrey's employee told CBC News last week that 90 per cent of the company's customers are coupon holders.

To bring in new customers and new revenue, management signed up with online coupon retailers to bring business in fast.

Groupon and its many imitator sites work by offering deep discounts on goods and services from local merchants once enough customers have signed up for the deal. In theory, the business gets to reach a new group of customers who they hope become repeat customers.

Customers get greatly reduced prices and the online coupon seller gets a percentage of sales.