Remember when you could remember everything?
. . . do you seriously think you have enough facts to determine whether he engaged in criminal behavior? I don't have a clue as to what the real facts are, but this could easily be chalked up to the kind of never-say-die optimism that many entrepreneurs have. He may have believed that he could turn the corner if he could just keep things going until they hit the peak of the flyfishing retailer's season. In other words, he may have arranged the Groupon deal with the honest belief he was going to satisfy all those folks who signed up for it. And why not? He takes a 50% haircut each lesson but has 682 potential new customers to upsell. Great marketing. You really think the guy is going to intentionally stiff 682 people for a measly $16,000? Very easy to explain this without there being any criminal fraud involved. Not trying to defend the guy, because I don't know him, but comparing him to Madoff is a joke. Both in legal terms and in the amount of dollars at stake there is a world of difference.going to get that loyalty (although I understand there are some customers that get some sort of masochistic pleasure out of being mistreated by certain flyshop proprietors).
However, it's pretty easy to see how Groupon and it's customers HAVE been harmed.
First, they should have a pretty good basis for a criminal complaint demonstrating fraud and theft. Secondly, Groupon probably has a basis for a civil complaint as well based on breach of contract and failure to perform. (Yes, with Kaufmann's in bankruptcy, any chance of collecting on a damage award is practically nil since secured creditors are first in line for any proceeds from the liquidation of assets.)
But since 682 of Groupon's customers feel they've been ripped off, it's in the company's best interests to proceed with legal action in order to promote trust and good faith to prospective customers who may be hesitant to patronize Groupon as a result of the Kaufmann's incident.
If Groupon sat idly by and didn't stand up for their customers who collectively lost $16K or more, how likely would any of those customers be to buy from them again? Therein is the basis for demonstrating harm.
If you or I were one of those folks, I'd be plenty pissed. After all, $47 could have bought a 1.5 liter bottle of Maker's Mark for Chrissakes!