The Butchers scams Toronto?

Back in April, I, like apparently the rest of Toronto bought vouchers for a butcher shop on Yonge street aptly named “The Butchers”.  At first I was wary it was a scam, I normally have a good nose for this stuff, but after checking out their website I thought, “what the hell”. It was an incredible deal and since I had a year to redeem the voucher it shouldn’t be an issue.

I read the fine print on the voucher all of which seemed reasonable.

I emailed them to ask how exactly I go about getting my order since I don’t live anywhere near Yonge and Lawrence.

I am a first time buyer.  I purchased the buytopia voucher at a friends suggestion and I was wondering what the procedure is to order and have it delivered.  Do I simply select $400 worth of meat and pass along my voucher?

I received an email the next day, which I took as a good sign, but the “no deliveries for two weeks should have been a warning sign.

Hi Dave,
thanks for the email. Yes you just buy $400 worth of meat. If you are looking for a delivery the deliveries are as follows: Wednesday & Thursday GTA core/ Friday Markham and Scarborough/ Saturday Thornhill, Richmond Hill, North York/ Sunday Mississauga, Brampton, and Etobicoke. Please give us 5 days before your order date.
If you would like to place an order you would need to fill out the following in this format.
Date of preference of delivery or pick up:
Tel #:
Full Address:
Major intersection:
Voucher Company:
Voucher #:
As of right now we are booked for deliveries for 2 weeks.
I am thrilled to hear that your friends have suggested The Butchers. I hope you enjoy your meats and I thank you for your business.
Saruka Para

But being the adventurous sort I hiked off to The butchers in search of my $400 worth of meat.  When I arrived I was informed that vouchers would not be honoured during Easter.  Which is odd because the voucher states “Open Passover/Easter weekends for Buytopia customers.” Not voucher holders, not customers but specifically Buytopia voucher holders like me.

I left, a little pissed off about not being able to use my voucher but still willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.  The shop clearly wasn’t ready for the volume of people and I didn’t really need the meat then anyway.

After a couple of weeks I went in again, this time the shop-keeper informed me that vouchers would not be honoured on the weekends.  However, I didn’t want to come away empty handed again so I bought some ground beef.  The shop was so busy all it had left was chicken wings, livers, and some roasts which were way to big for me.  The ground beef was literally being sold as it was grinding.

After going home I realized that the only way to get my order filled was to send it in for delivery or pick-up which I did.  I ordered about $300 worth of meat.  After two weeks I hadn’t heard anything from them so I sent a follow up email to Saruka to see if they received my order.  I got an auto-reply:

Unfortunately email orders for delivery and pick up are booked until June 23rd; therefore we are no longer taking orders until after this date. Please feel free to come by The Butchers and select your desired items. This can be done during our voucher hours. We are open from Tuesday to Friday 10am-11:30am and 1am to 6pm. If you wish to place your online order, please resubmit your order to after June 23rd. An email response will be sent to your account withing 10 business days.

For any inquiry regarding our products and service please email

We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

So I wasn’t able to get my order by going in, and couldn’t get them to take my order online.  I started doing some searches online to see if this was truly a scam or not.

First up was Yelp which had loads of people complaining about the quality and the inability to redeem coupons.  That lead me to other sites.  One blogger, Kate Raynes-Goldie wrote

A rep at Webpiggy confirmed that by March, they had likely sold $1.5 million worth of coupons – a seemingly impossible amount of product for a small business to honour. The Webpiggy rep also told me that the owners of the Butchers are opening a fish store across the street, which suggests that all this group couponing is not an effort to get new customers (they’re doing a horrible job if that’s their goal), rather it is fundraising effort for their new business venture at the expense of customers who are not having their side of the bargain held up.

She also linked to an advert that Buytopia and the Butchers published in the Toronto metro. Another blogger noted that the actual amount sold is closer to $2.6 million dollars!  And they analysed the quality of the meat, which was suspect.  That’s when I went back to their website to see this:

Please note we have changed our store hours. These hours are effective beginningThursday June 2nd. Until this time we will NOT be honouring vouchers. Please read below to understand why we are unable to honour vouchers this week.

Due to the overwhelming success of our vouchers we have encountered numerous issues in our store with the behaviour of voucher customers. Our staff have been verbally and physically abused. We have met with police to ensure this behaviour does not continue. Because of this we will have police presence at the store beginning next Thursday June 2nd. We are also in the process of installing surveillance cameras for the security of our staff. We are delaying accepting vouchers until security at the store is in place.

Please note if abuse on our staff continues we will not honor vouchers. We are doing our best to satisfy everyone however we can’t guarantee stock and abusing our staff will not resolve the issue. We ask for your patience during this time.

Our store will be closed to voucher holders until Thursday June 2nd to address these issues.

New Hours Effective Thursday June 2nd
Tues-Sat: 6:30pm-9:30pm

Voucher Coupons will not be honored at any other time. NO EXCEPTIONS

Note the underlined part [my emphasis].  I can foretell what will happen; they will claim that their staff have been abused and then won’t honour any of the vouchers.  Now perhaps people have been abusive to their staff, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do the mathematics.  If you normally sell a thousand dollars worth of meat a day, and you sell vouchers with a 4:1 ratio you had better assume you will sell somewhere around $4000 worth of meat a day.  With 2.6 million worth of coupons on the market you will need 8 million dollars worth of meat!

Toronto life mentioned that Buytopia’s forum was shut down it got so many complaints about the deal.  I imagine they are pretty pissed too. I did see on their website:

As a buyer of a Voucher on, you are expected to follow the refund policy rules stipulated under the Deal’s refund information. As a Buyer, you are also entitled to a 30-day buyer remorse period, and have the right to cancel a Voucher and request a refund from for which you have paid over $50 CAD. We will act in accordance with the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 found here –

I emailed and phoned Buytopia to get a refund, but so far no reply.  Perhaps they’re in on the scam too.  I will give Buytopia a week to respond then I am going to submit complaints to BBB, and the City of Toronto (who does the licensing).

Fuck coupon sites and the like.  My spidey web senses were tingling and I ignored them. Thanks Butchers, lesson learned!

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  1. Mike

    I would also like to submit a complaint and file against them. I was a customer before the coupons promotion. They use to have good quality meat and I would get great service from Marlon himself. I even supported there venture into Thornhill that closed a few years ago.

    Now I feel like we are being cheated. I don’t even care how long it takes to get the meat or the ridiculous coupon redemption hours, but when they are trying to pass off mass produced, unhealthy meat as organic, they have now put my health and the health of my family at risk.

  2. Marcie

    I, too, purchased the $100 coupon and ran into similar problems. The Butchers may have been well intentioned at the beginning but clearly, their plan was not thought through….not my fault! The only rudeness or verbal abuse I witnessed when visiting the store was from the owner, directed towards his customers. The meat I purchased was over priced and of poor quality plus we were limited to $100 worth of meat only, so “we don’t run out”. Next thing I knew, there were even more restrictions. They were changing the rules constantly, at the last minute sometimes, so I decided enough was enough. If this isn’t fraud, it’s as close as it gets. I complained to the coupon vendors and got a full refund…..after the supposedly 30 day refund policy had expired. Don’t take this lying down.

  3. notjustme

    Well, I am sorry to say that I am glad it is not just me! I went to the store today and it was CLOSED. Their website says they have had to hire security to deal with voucher holders! Ummmm I can see why! I have been to the store 5 times and have left empty handed each time! They have also stated on their website that they will only honour vouchers Thursdays and Fridays 6:30-9:30…this is completely not convenient for me, the consumer!!! I have just e-mailed the coupon site to ask for a refund and I will definitely be contacting the BBB! This is ridiculous! I get coupons ALL THE TIME and have always had FABULOUS experiences! I hate the thought that this was the first coupon that the author bought and that they won’t be buying anymore! I just got two deals this week!

  4. Mike Hubbard

    Thanks for your research on this. Against my better judgement, I bought two separate deals for The Butchers. The Buytopia experience has been similar to yours, culminating this week in my email request for a refund from Anatoly at Buytopia. (Good luck? We shall see.)
    The earlier coupon ($175) with Dealfind has also been impossible to redeem. Since it was offered a month or so before Buytopia, it would seem to support the conclusion that The Butchers were operating a deliberate scam, with no intention of anteing up. To be fair, the Dealfind people seem to be showing some integrity – upfront, dealing with the issue and processing refunds.
    Of interest – I bought from Dealicious two coupons for $40 of meat each from Medium Rare on Dundas. Very smooth – no bitching when I redeemed the coupons, and the meat was superb; they even do their own smoking and aging on site. Too bad these “good guys” can’t get some recognition! Cheers! Mike Hubbard, Orangeville

  5. Mary

    Last Friday my daughter and I tried to redeem part of our voucher and were given the sob story about how The Butchers is the victim in this voucher debacle. While we were standing on the sidealk outside the store at least 15 people came by and were turned away because they too had vouchers. Everyone was disappointed but very polite and agreed to come back today Friday the 24th after 6:30 p.m. I noticed today when I checked their wesite that the store is now closing for renovations so that they will “be able to honour the vouchers”. I wonder what is going to happen tonight when all those good people come back at the appointed time?
    Shame on The Butchers for handling this so badly. I will never ever shop there. I am truly afraid that they will try to pass off inferior produce to voucher holders.

  6. K

    My family went there few times to redeem the coupon, but they were so rude, and they literally kicked us out. The lady told me that even though it should already be open they are not ready yet and she suggested that i come back later. When I came back later, they were saying that those who have coupons cannot redeem them, and will have to use them at their “summer time”
    This happened few times already. And I have requested to have my coupons refunded due to bad experiences. I’ve never seen this type of customer service… I guess I wasn’t the only one, if they were going to encounter problems, they should have never sold vouchers to the public. I have wasted my time, energy and money, even…. Would not recommend to the others!!!

  7. Mike Hubbard

    We went down a number of times from Orangeville and had experiences similar to others. I am now trying to get a refund, which I have requested from Buytopia on five occasions, both by phone message and email, over the last month. Anyone have any luck with this? Suggestions? The Dealfind company stepped up to the plate with refunds. Buytopia seems to be ignoring us.

  8. my story is the same as dave hamel’s except I went there several times in and throughout april, called and was treated rudely by the owner cursing and hanging up on me when i too mentioned it was a scam … I called buytopia and complained how rudely I been treated… they said they were goning drop them as a client. I too tried the delivery route and that wa s ridiculous as well… always coming up with bull excuses. excuses are like armpits we all gotem and they sometimes stink… People on the street were very impatient and disappointed at every trip i made they openly complained in the line arround the front of the street… well we were all taken and those butcher people, staff included ( nobody can belive those in authority, not even the pawns, when all the clients are upset constrantly)— who know not who their father’s are (bastards is the real term) and they keep on keeping on as though nothing happened… (Scammers, menances, public thieves, false advertisers,false business contracts, who take what is not theirs and offer what they can’t deliver.) if it sounds too good to be true it probably is huh? these kind of people do not care about better buiness… they’lljust change the name and move on…class action suit? inindate small claims court? police charges for fraud? whatever I’m in…

  9. Paula

    I purchased my voucher from dealfind in February 2011. I have been following all of the ‘developments’ regarding The Butchers and I have been patiently and naively waiting to redeem my voucher. Today I decided enough is enough and have contacted dealfind.

  10. A

    Hi there,
    I first bought a small amount of coupons when they first offered the deal, I forget the exact price. Two days later I went to the Butchers and redeemed my coupons. I actually think I was the first person to redeem the coupons. It wasn’t the most organized system but everything went perfectly well and my family was satisfied with the purchase. Keep in mind this was all before the coupon craziness hit. Seeing as it all went very well the first time around I decided to purchase a larger amount when they offered another deal through anther coupon website. This time I ordered a larger amount.
    Then I started hearing all about the problems. Nervous I just threw away a few hundred dollars, I contacted the store (this was during the summer). The owner and I chatted and explained to me there have been some issues and if I could be patient he promises me my coupons will be honoured. Last week (early Oct) I decided to see if the whole mess had cleared up (or perhaps my money was gone forever). I went to the company’s website and read that I was to contact buytopia and place my order through them . I contacted buytopia and they took my order, I asked them if I could just pick up the order instead and they told me to contact the store. I called the store (now under a new name but same management) and spoke to owner. He told me I could come by next week and redeem my coupons, he also gave me his personal cell phone number.
    A few days later I went in was greeted by the owner and had no issues using two-thirds of my coupons. I was very happy with the quality and the selection. Also, the store has recently been renovated – looks good.
    Much like others I was also quite suspicious but I honestly do feel this is a store going through some serious growing pains and the owner’s intent was not malicious. It is a smaller store so if you are planning on making a large order, I would contact them first other than that it was all good.

  11. Margaret

    WIth the introduction of all the restrictions and then the closure/reopening of the store (stating it will still not redeem vouchers until late November) the voucher I bought now bears no resemblance to what it currently is. As such I contacted DealFind for a refund which they very promptly did. DealFind has behaved very well. THe Butchers have behaved atrociously. Good luck to him on his reopening as I think he’s going to need it as I suspect many in the neighbourhood will be avoiding his business in the future….I certainly will.

  12. JM

    So, I will be attempting to get my meat for the 9th time this evening – my coupon expires next week and I have been trying to redeem it for almost a year! I bought it from Kijiji ($25 for $50 worth of meat) and even thoughI have contacted Kijiji many many many times – I ave received no response from them either! This whole experience has soured me on using any coupon sites at all – especially Kijiji…and *if* I get my voucher redeemed tonight, it will be the last time Marlon will see my face in any of his shops! I can’t believe what an ordeal this has been!

  13. Madeline

    I just came across your article at this late date. i too purchased many vouchers for myself and members of my family back in March. After the worst experiences for all of us, every time we went, (all of yours ring so true and resonate well with me) I got all of my money back from Dealfind. Marlon is a crook of the first degree. He even used the excuse of his father having cancer to be a reason for such horrible business practise. That’s sinking pretty low, even if his father is ill, it’s got nothing to do with his actions. I don’t understand why he got away with it and hasn’t been charged. He even lied about the source of his meat. He said he used Beretta meats, a high quality organic farm, and upon research, Beretta let it be known they stopped doing business with him long before the coupon campaign. And he just kept on lying; he started another with Webpiggy, then refused to honour them. But he didn’t stop there, he started yet another coupon campaign for the fish store, which I don’t think ever opened, and which only allowed a small percentage of the coupon to be used for fish, the rest had to be used across the street for meat and nervous breakdown.
    I hope he lost his shirt. He’s certainly lost his reputation., and hurt a lot of people. I pity his employees. He’s a lying, cheating asshole.
    I see him online as Marlon’s Meats now, with a 2 star rating. and that’s probably being kind.

  14. Jason

    I’ve bought several coupons and have been screwed out of a lot of money…. this person should go to jail as far as I’m concerned, and I’d like to see something happen. The police should be doing something about this.

  15. successful complaint

    I too received a refund through my credit card this week. It took months of threats including filing a complaint with the Consumer Protection Branch but I got the money back.

    Peter knows that the contract is between Buytopia and the customer and that’s why he will give you a refund in the end.

    The Consumer Protection Branch staff are very much aware of this issue. If you want to file a complaint they will become involved but you first need to send Buytopia a demand letter.

    Here is a link to the Consumer Protection Branch’s complaint process:

    Don’t give up.

  16. Barbara

    I called and spoke to Shalabh at Buytopia on Tuesday (Feb 7th) and tried to get Peter the “senior manager” on the phone, but convienently, he was “in a meeting”. I was assured he would phone me back- but I never heard back from him or anyone (surprise surprise). I have been trying to get a refund for SEVERAL months and even submitted an order through Buytopia back in November because I was told I had no hope of a refund, and that “the butchers IS honoring the vouchers” – but after reading all these blogs/comments, I see no one is going to get any meat from this place (not that I’d even want it or trust it at this point)
    Oh, and the Buytopia guy assured me that Peter has NOT given out ANY refunds…..
    So, I will keep calling and hounding Buytopia, trying to get a hold of this Peter guy, but I just wanted to say that if ppl are going to get together and file this lawsuit- COUNT ME IN!!!!

  17. Patricia Beattie

    I too had this experience with this company as well as Buytopia. I sent in a complaint to the BBB and Buytopia responded by saying they would not refund me for the full amount but only for the amount they were paid as a commission. I declined this offer as I followed their refund policy which extended past their 30 day policy because they did not respond in a timely manner. That was the last correspondence with them and the BBB explained that they cannot force a company to comply.

    So, I am still trying to find another means to get a refund. It is not about the money, it is now the principal that these companies are still allowed to be operational and have the balls to offer deals. I agree with the last post, if there is a lawsuit count me in as well and if anyone has any updates or advice it would be greatly appreciated!

  18. Still Having Problems

    I am still having problems trying to get my money back.. At this point I just want my $99 back, I don’t care about interest.. I just want what is fair.
    I’ve written to Buytopia many times, and it’s almost been a year.. It’s frustrating.

    I’m going to send Buytopia a demand letter.. as suggested by “Sussessful Complaint” and writing to the Consumer Protection Branch .. i just hope it’s not too late.

  19. christine jones

    I am with you on this. We have been calling and e-mailing, no one from Bytopia responds, we have told them we will get the cops involved as it is fraud. I agree lets get as may of us together and file a law suit. i am in

  20. Grant Mansell

    I too would like to take part in filing a complaint, I was one of the lucky ones that got something out of them but even that was a miricle. They still owe me just under $300 in meat. Class action lawsuit agenst The Butchers, I”M IN!!

  21. Kelly

    After MANY conversations with that criminal, Marlon, and many conversations with buytopia, I did finally get a refund from buytopia, so I don’t know if that prevents me from filing a compliant or not? I am OUTRAGED that Marlon seems to be getting away with this. About a month ago a had an argument in his store because once again his “policy” had changed and he wasn’t giving any refunds out. He said to me he didn’t care about the people who bought the coupons, because all of his old customers come back. This is what I don’t understand, how could his customer base continue to support a criminal. If he lied about the coupons, don’t ya think he could be lying about the quality of his meat? If I can help….would love to!

  22. I have a complaint about this company . I have purchased KitchenAid mixer since Nov 29th 2012. Paid by visa which I already got the billed and up to date never received the product. I have made several phone calls to 1-855-442-2220 and get only voice mail. There are other option when calling the above phone number. So I did, there I spoke to some one explaining my problem and they told me to call 1-800-242-0898, the shipping company name OFFICE DOT KING. Please I need someone to look into this company because its a FRAUD / SCAM still in business taking consumers money.

    This item was published on Nov 23rd 2012 in the Metro newspaper weekend eition Promo code BlackFR23) by

  23. Alana


    Did you ever hear back about this?
    I bought the same thing and was in the same situation (insert the verbal abuse I got from the owner when I went there).
    As I am sure you know, the owner took off and it is now open under a different name (all apart of the scam if you ask me).

    He is probably on some island drinking a pina colada with the over 2 million earned thru this scam.


    I heard last summer there was a class-action law suit being filed thru Global News, yet when I googled, nothing came up.


  24. Pingback: The Butcher is Back Baby! | This is

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