The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00072

Submission Number:
00072
Commenter:
Rick Mueller
State:
Michigan
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I wanted to share with you an experience that I expect we?ll begin to find all too common in ?shared economy? initiatives. Recently I purchased a restaurant voucher from a promotions provider (called ?Local Flavors?, recently purchased by Gannett) just to discover that the restaurant owner would not honor the voucher. When I approached Local Flavor (whom I paid for the voucher), they denied any liability, claiming that the restaurant owner is responsible. The restaurant owner conversely claims that the promises that Local Flavors printed on the voucher (that it would still be redeemable for the original price paid for 5 years) was not agreed to or even discussed and thus they were no longer obligated to honor the voucher or refund the purchase price. I can?t go after the restaurant (since there was never a contract directly between us) and while I might get a judgment against Local Flavors in small claims, I can?t imagine how I might collect on it. I am basically out the $20 I paid for this voucher. So while the experience I?m sharing is not directly about Uber or AirBnB, it?s still instructive of what can and likely will happen in any case in which a 3rd party accepts payment for a service to be rendered by someone else ? and as much as I?m not in favor of regulating things more than they need to be, I can see this happening more and more as the number of 3-sided business models (which includes Uber and AirBnB) continue to grow. In my opinion, the responsibility should to whomever is collecting the money. Thanks for reading and taking this into consideration. Rick Mueller [REDACTED]