Groupon has yet again been busted by the Advertising Standards Authority for misleading customers with separate promotions on its website. This brings the grand total of complaints brought against the e-coupon outfit to 50 for the year, and 2011 isn't even over yet. MyCityDeal Ltd, which trades as Groupon, was told that claims …
Awsome! Hope they crash'n'burn...
...the fecking parasites.
I know a restaurant that took part in this, nearly made a loss, on over 600 coupons where everyone tried booking at the weekends when the restaurant was full anyway.
Bet when you phone up and say Groupon they tell you they are fully booked till March.
This is a fact.
Bet they don't like it up em...
About time someone produced a coupon for discounts on Groupons advertising/distribution fees? Let's say 90% off, valid for 12 months and unlimited supply.
All of these "daily deals" play fast and loose with advertising standards...
Here in NZ there are a clutch of such sites ... 1-day, First In, 3-deals, Grab-One, Treat Me etc etc.
All of them routinely make misleading claims in their advertising, mainly involving claiming RRP's of the products on offer that at best are not the typical retail price but simply the most expensive retail price, and often of only similar products. At worst they are entirely bogus.
An example would be offering refurbished computer equipment and advertising a saving compared to the RRP of a NEW model (and in many cases the price being offered is MORE expensive than the manufacturer's own price for a refurb model - this occurs often with Apple products in NZ. Furthermore, the daily deal offer typically includes a shorter warranty period compared to the manufacturer's own refurb store).
In another example (Sony MP3 player), not only was the price of a refurb product compared to the new model price of the product, but the product on offer had never, EVER been sold in New Zealand so there was no real "saving" that could be claimed, AND the price claimed for the RRP was actually for a newer, higher specification player (new E444 vs refurb E344 being offered).
The advertising standards bodies are toothless... all they can and ever do is warn the retailer not to do it again and ask them to "take down" or withdraw the offending advert. Which is of course pointless because the whole point of these sites is that that advert only stayed up for 24 hours in the first place. By the time the regulatory bodies have slapped their wrists, they have made their money and moved on to the next scam.
But still, I make a point of complaining whenever I see such things, in an effort to bring these sites to book. Why bother, if the consequences are so meaningless ?
Easy. Even tho the sanctions may be toothless, when receiving a valid complaint the retailer still has to cooperate with the regulatory body and engage in the complaint process, providing evidence to justify the claims made in their advertising and rebutt the complaint etc etc.
The time and legal expense of this will definitely hit their bottom line, and as much money as they may make on these deals, they are working on very tight margins. Anything that eats into those margins will make them less likely to make the same or similar bogus claims in the future, if they know that there are people out there who will cry FOUL when they try.
And it seems to be working.
Since I started my one man campaign I have noticed a distinct improvement in the robustness of the claims being made in their deals.
It seems that in the UK at least, Group On are starting to be brought to book by much the same process.
I've had several Groupon deals cancelled on me, not to mention miss selling. I was bought a Kite Surfing Lesson, thankfully I called a head and the person running it confirmed it was flying a kite on the beach and I would go nowhere near the water. He said if I was interested in Kite Surfing I should save my money and do the full lesson! I've spend hours complaining to and about Groupon but they seem to be protected and nothing major has happened even though their own social media links are full of complaints. If you want a laugh send them an email complaining and then post on their Facebook page your issue. They will reply via Facebook within 30mins offering a tailored service to fix the problem and all you have to do is drop them an email. After two weeks of playing the game I never actually got an email just the promise in an open social media environment that they would help! I wonder why!
Groupon is an amazing idea but when you speak to retailers they say the deals are never realistic and they are forced to offer massive discounts that they know are unsustainable. In their T&Cs if you offer a groupon deal they can't offer another deal to any other customer! Yeah right, like Groupon have that much control over the world! I've experience twice myself that they have over sold deals and broken T&Cs only to blame the other company, I'm happy to send round all my evidence to people.
Great idea, run by idiots and unfortunately it looks like they are slowly doing more harm than good with their antics. As with other comments its only until you mention trading standards that they sit up and listen, I've also found that if you tell them that a colleague agreed and you have email confirmation they never check and do what you want otherwise you get a "computer says no" answer!
Personally they have a good idea but are just thick, stupid and conmen! Why over sell the deals, why lie to customers and why don't they solve the issues rather than worrying about their image on social media sites!
PLEASE PLEASE can some real business people buy the site/idea and actually make it work!
GROUPON makes deals with merchants and then leaves them hanging after they have collected their monies from unsuspecting customers. They do a terrible job of explaining to unsuspecting customers the "actual deal" that they (GROUPON) made with the merchant. Most merchants only get 25% of the take and are left to provide extra customer support to answer the myriad of questions generated by the deal.... Most businesses can not survive with that small margin. GROUPON refuses to send reminder emails re-stating the terms of the deal and the proper procedure to receive your 50% (or plus) discount. Customers then retaliate against the business unaware of the "actual" deal that was made with the merchant. Expect a class action lawsuit against GROUPON in the near future!