Barbara Chandler still hasn't received a promised refund from the online voucher site Wedeal.com.
And the story doesn't end there.
Chandler paid Wedeal.com $70 for a housecleaning service, but the service canceled her appointment. She was promised a refund, but the money never came.
The Problem Solver left four voice mail messages for Wedeal's owner, Brad Pielet, in early December but never received a return call.
In the days after the column ran, other readers reported problems similar to what Chandler encountered.
Business owner Ewelina Wojtowska said she signed up with Wedeal to run three "deals" for her this year. In each case, Wedeal offered services from Wojtowska's business for half to one-third the cost, she said. Wedeal and Wojtowska would then split the money the offer generated, she said.
Wojtowska — whose business, Poopie Palz, provides services such as dog-walking, pet-sitting and waste removal — said Wedeal paid her for the first deal. But to get that payment, it took her several months of hounding Pielet, Wojtowska said.
She's still owed $300 from the last two deals, she said.
"It's not a lot, it's only $300," Wojtowska said. "I will totally let it go. I can live (without) $300. … I think it's just the worst business handling you can imagine."
Wojtowska said that by some measures, her partnership with Wedeal was successful. It brought in new customers, many of whom continue to use her service.
"They did bring me the business," she said. "It's just the way they're handling their end. Pay up."
Reader Bonnie Friedman said she, too, is frustrated with Wedeal. She bought nine separate offers worth $190 but had trouble getting the company to send her all the vouchers. She finally received them last week, after much haranguing.
It took her several calls to get through to Pielet, she said.
"I had to threaten him with going public," Friedman said. "I told his secretary, I said I put a call into the Pioneer Press, I put a call into the Tribune."
Several readers wrote in to say they had bought Wedeal vouchers for Rossini Di Lucca restaurant in Palatine, which went out of business before the vouchers could be redeemed.
A website for the restaurant instructs customers who bought the vouchers to contact Wedeal directly.
Marsha Siegel, of Northbrook, said she called Wedeal seven times about getting a refund for her Rossini Di Lucca voucher but never received a return call from Pielet. The Wedeal receptionist then gave her Pielet's cell number, and she left a message on it as well, she said.
"I never heard back from him, and my charge account was never credited," Siegel said.
She said she paid only $15 for her voucher.
"It's just the principle of the situation," Siegel said. "I'm just trying to warn people."
The Problem Solver left yet another message for Pielet last week to ask him about the new complaints.
He did not return the call.
The Wedeal.com website remains fully operational. On Friday, it offered deals for restaurants, a carwash, a manicure business, a hairstylist, a personal trainer and others.
The Problem Solver will provide updates as warranted.