The problem with Groupon ...

By Sandra Temko on May 6, 2011 12:01:00 am

Groupon-logo I love online shopping, and I love deals. So when a friend introduced me to Groupon, I fell—HARD. It was great to have offers with seemingly big savings e-mailed to me every day. Just few quick clicks and I got myself a deal! But a couple of my recent purchases convinced me that Groupon may not always be that great.

First came my $10 for $20 worth of books at a certain retailer. There’s always stuff my family wants to buy at the bookstore, so buying the Groupon was a no-brainer, and I grabbed it!

But the Groupon had a quick expiration date. If I didn’t use it soon, I would lose it. So when the deadline came close, I rushed to the bookstore to buy a book I’d been eyeing. But I only wanted that one in paperback, and it cost less than my $20 Groupon. So I searched and found a couple of other items that I’d probably enjoy to put me over the $20 limit. All in all, did I save money? Nope—I probably spent money that I never would have, because of my buddy Groupon.

Next came the Groupon for a cut and blowout at a salon for $30. That sounded fantastic. I needed a haircut, and, combined with a blowout, what an inexpensive price to pay! This Groupon would give me the kick I needed to cut my shaggy locks AND help me save money to boot.

So I bought it and eagerly made my appointment. Problem is, when I got to the salon, they’d forgotten my appointment and couldn’t take me. If you can’t trust a salon to get your appointment right, how can you trust their stylists to give you a good haircut? So I asked for my money back for the Groupon, but the salon’s receptionist informed me she couldn’t refund any money because I’d bought the service through Groupon.

So now I had to take an extra step of contacting Groupon, which did refund my money. I ended up making a last-minute appointment with a more expensive hairdresser. So again, I spent way more money than I’d planned on, and I spent a lot of time on the hassle of getting a refund, which I hadn’t planned on either.

Groupon was in the news this past year over its Valentine’s Day deal with FTD. Customers claimed they were paying inflated prices, so Groupon offered refunds, although it admitted no wrongdoing. I do know of people who have enjoyed deals they’ve gotten through Groupon. But for now, I’m taking a break.

What’s your experience been?





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Sandra Temko

Sandra Temko

Posted at 12:01:00 AM in
Beauty | Consumer protection | Coupons | Fashion | Featured | Money | Sales | Saving money | Shopping

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09:27:30 AM on Fri May 6 2011

I started out with a tendency for buying any Groupon that sounded really cool, then forgetting I had it to close to the expire date, then having a mad rush to use it before it expired. So now I buy Groupons *only* for services/places i've been meaning to check out anyway. Other times I've mistaken the expire date for being *much* sooner than it actually was; say, if I bought it on May 1 and saw the date May 3, I'd be like, Holy crap! Only later would I realize that was May 3 next year. Whoops. Groupon's good about sending out reminders to use your Groupons some time before they really, overall I've had a good experience with them. I also find that compared to LivingSocial, Yelp Deals, and other imitators, they also tend to feature the most well-known and varied services/companies.


09:33:23 AM on Fri May 6 2011

Also I think it's the buyer's responsibility to do the math, as with any sale.


10:09:00 PM on Sun May 8 2011

Read the fine print. We bought a groupon for dry cleaning at our favorite place and realized at the register that it was for new customers only. Probably wouldn't have washed every suit and dress in order to cash in the coupon, but at least we are clean now, eh?


06:15:08 PM on Mon May 9 2011

I have always been pretty careful about the fine print, consequently for the most part I have been thrilled with Groupon. I've gotten many deals and enjoyed many perks because I used Groupon... did I save money in the long run?? Probably not because I probably would have not gone out for those lunches, dinners, or events if I didn't have a Groupon, but it did elevate my life experience. I was able to take my grandchildren places and have immense enjoyment that I wouldn't otherwise have had. So—yes, I spend more money because of Groupon, but I definitely feel an improvement in the quality of life at an affordable rate!!


08:06:00 PM on Sun May 15 2011

Even though Groupon may viewed as a referral of good services, you should still do due diligence and investigate the service provider. In Florida, an offer for a home service I saw sounded great. Then I researched the company providing the service and found out the owner had an arrest record from another state.

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