Saturday, February 12, 2011

An Issue with Groupon's FTD deal... and Just Because they Call it a Deal, Doesn't Mean it Is.

A friend of mine sent me a link to this story, about how users who purchased the FTD deal through Groupon found themselves presented with something different than they may have expected at checkout.  Evidently, prices presented on the FTD link Groupon customers were instructed to use were higher than those presented on the FTD site, itself.  If you read the comments, you'll see a couple of different comments from business owners who state that Groupon sales people basically told them to raise their prices to cover the cost of the Groupon.

A few thoughts on this....

I've said before to check out the the deals you purchase before you purchase them.  If it's not a service or business where you are familiar with the pricing then check out what their regular pricing actually is.  Don't take it at face value that just because Groupon says it's $X, it really is.  I've seen at least one local deal (I can't recall if it was on Groupon or one of the other Daily Deal sites) that I looked at and instantly knew it wasn't worth buying because there was no real DEAL being offered.

If it's a deal that you are taking into a local business or restaurant and it's a true half off deal (ie. $10 for $20 worth of food/goods) you should be ok.  The prices are posted in the store and should not vary just because you have a what should be considered a gift certificate.

The article also references how some business owners have refused to take the Groupon certificates after they've already been sold (because they were overwhelmed by the amount that they saw coming in).  This is again a failure on the part of the salespeople.  There is a certain % that a business should expect to have redeemed.  Groupon has the numbers on how many total and what % of that overall total they will see in the first day or the first week.  Whether these numbers are being misrepresented by Groupon or by the individual sales people in an attempt to increase their sales is the question.  It may take some time for Groupon to learn and to properly train their sales people that honesty will get them more returning customers than dishonesty.

If you do find yourself in a situation where a business owner refuses to take a Groupon (or similar deal) that you've already paid for. Don't hesitate to call Groupon (or whichever company you purchased the deal from).  They want to keep their customers (and their name) intact and will take care of you.  They can afford to lose a few here and there, but if an entire deal crashes and burns and they refuse to take care of it, that would leave major marks that they would not be able to recover from.

So this is your reminder... don't assume it's really a deal just because someone tells you it is.  Even if that someone is me.

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