Largo, Florida - 10 News discovered that not all discounted gift certificates websites perform background checks on companies before selling their product.
We decided to check into it after a woman told Pinellas Co. Sheriff's investigators that she became the victim of a crime after purchasing the services on a massage therapist on the website Groupon.
"It's just a situation where he posted his information as a business owner and somebody purchased that," said Cecilia Barreda, spokesperson for the Pinellas Co. Sheriff's Office.
Ronald Bruinius was arrested on Monday on sex battery charges and held on $50,000 bond.
The 53-year-old victim said that during one of five massage session, the 36-year-old massage therapist inappropriately touched her on two occasions.
"He actually voluntarily came out here to the sheriff's office to be interviewed," said Barreda.
10 News contacted Groupon to find out if it performs background checks on companies before offering their services to customers.
"We do not vet individual merchants for things other than customer satisfaction," said Groupon spokesperson Nicholas Halliwell. "We last worked with this merchant over a year ago, and the promotional value of the vouchers sold has since expired."
Other businesses that sell deal vouchers to customers say they do perform background checks before selling the vouchers to customers.
"We have an entire team dedicated to vetting merchants to ensure that they are of the highest quality and that the deal we agree upon is beneficial to everyone," said Jennifer Barlow with Living Social.
Deal Chicken, which is owned by WTSP parent company Gannett, said it performs similar checks as well.
"Before running a deal, my team vets the merchants. We check BBB reviews, Yelp, and other online reviews to make sure that we're offering our subscribers a good experience. If there are bad reviews, or a negative BBB rating, we won't run the deal," said Deal Chicken spokesperson Dale Ingram.
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