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Oregon Dentist Board Says Groupon-Like Coupons May Break Rules

(Bloomberg) — Oregon’s board of dentistry said daily-deal coupons, such as those sold by Groupon Inc., may violate rules barring the payment of commissions for referrals, and the state’s board of chiropractors has banned their use.

“The board has preliminarily determined that these may violate the unprofessional conduct rule,” the Oregon Board of Dentistry said on its website. The state’s board of chiropractic examiners has prohibited the use of “Groupon type fee-splitting arrangements,” according to a July 25 statement.

Groupon and other companies such as LivingSocial sell coupons that offer discounts on products and services from local businesses, making money by taking some of the revenue generated by the sale. Chiropractors in California, the most populous U.S. state, are likely to discuss the matter, said Robert Puleo, executive officer of the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

“That’s not something that my board has discussed — we haven’t received any complaints,” Puleo said in an interview. “But I am sure if it’s happening in Oregon, it’ll be coming to California, too.”

Julie Mossler, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based Groupon, said the company hasn’t been made aware of the Oregon boards’ concerns.

“We routinely work with regulators to address questions or concerns and are happy to do so here, too, if they care to reach out,” Mossler said.

The statements by the Oregon boards were previously reported by the Business Insider blog.

Kharif is a reporter for Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek in Portland, Ore.

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