Coupon books delivered to Tellico Village residents after 9-month delay

6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

TELLICO VILLAGE (WATE) - There is good news for people who ordered coupon books that provide discounts to local restaurants.

The Knoxville Lifestyle books are ready for distribution after about a nine month delay, but not before a group in Tellico Village banded together to get the long-awaited books distributed.

They were pretty upset when 6 On Your Side met them in January.

The Knoxville Lifestyle book has been offering discounts to popular area restaurants for more than a decade. Retirees buy the books in big numbers.

On their Village Blog site, a group of retirees in Tellico Village started complaining in December they had not yet received their coupon books they had ordered and paid for a year ago.

The social media blitz and a story 6 On Your Side did in January apparently had an impact.

Sylvia Liebbe and Rosie Ratcliffe said they were surprised when they were asked to go to the recreation center in Tellico Village last month. The Knoxville Lifestyle coupon books they paid for a year ago had finally arrived.

"We were in this room. We received an email stating if you want your book as soon as possible to show up here at the rec center between 5:00 and 7:00," Liebbe said.

The women said about a hundred people showed up to get their books from publisher Dennis Downs.

"He had a whole stack of books on the table right over there," said Ratcliffe. "He was very brave with all of us standing outside. We thought it would be lynch mob, but they were very well behaved."

Nine weeks ago, we met a group of disgruntled people who had pre-ordered their books in  spring 2013.

Each of the people we met in late January admitted the $35 they paid for the books wasn't going to break them, but as Steve Popovich explained, selling the books was a money maker for civic organizations.

Marianne Hartman showed us a receipt for $1,750 for books purchased in advance and sold for a church fundraiser. She says a group at St. Thomas the Apostle in Lenoir City anticipated money in return.

"He promised me that I would get the $500 back," Hartman said in January. "I have never gotten it."

Hartman says her church still has not received the money. Additionally, she says St. Thomas the Apostle decided not to sell the books for any future fundraisers.

The headquarters for Knoxville Lifestyle closed more than a year ago.

In January after trying for a week, we eventually reached Dennis Downs

On the phone, he apologized to his customers saying while "the latest publication is late," he's at the "mercy of decision makers."

Downs lamented in January, "every day the book isn't out is costing him additional money and time."

"We're thrilled that we finally have this book in our hands," said Liebbe.

Liebbe and Ratcliffe like the value they see in the new Lifestyle book and they're satisfied they've been delivered, at least in Tellico Village.

"I realize there were a lot of factors in the delay and he requested that we be patient, but a year is a long time to be patient. He cannot say that we weren't patient," said Liebbe.

Both women believed that bringing the issue to public attention speeded up delivery of the books.

It's estimated hundreds were sold throughout east Tennessee and their delivery delayed.

Downs was not happy when we asked for a second interview earlier this week, but he said every single day he is "mailing books to those who ordered them."

Downs also said those who pre-ordered are "getting a bonus value."

"Maybe we would have gotten the books eventually, but I think this helped move it along," said Liebbe.

Both Liebbe and Ratcliffe said they're definitely getting their money's worth out of this latest book.

Those who ordered their books last year, but didn't receive them until last month, have received an extra coupon card that basically gives them double their value.

So, it appears as if the publisher is trying to make up for the long delay in delivering the books.