Part of me feels bad writing this post and the other part of me thinks that actually I’d be doing you people a disservice by not telling you about my experience because I’ll feel bad if you have a similar experience to mine.
I know that people have had great experiences with Groupon – Hayley for one (her link will explain much more clearly exactly what Groupon is for those of you who don't know), but I will absolutely 100%, never use them again after my experiences with them. And believe me I’m not giving up on them easily – you know they say, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me?” Well what do you say when you’ve been fooled four times? Yes that’s right. I’m that much of a glutton for punishment.
Debacle Number 1.
Culture Friend and I book a deal a spa in Leeds, deciding to make a nice day of it. Get a massage and a facial, have a manicure and pedicure, be ladies who lunch. Lovely. Train tickets are booked. Appointment is cancelled at the last minute. Money on train tickets is lost. New train tickets are booked. We arrive at what is essentially a joke of a salon – run by 12 year olds who inform us that we won’t actually be getting what we paid for. We ended up refusing to have anything done.
Conclusion: We're not sure whether or not to blame this one on the salon although have to wonder about how much research Groupon does on the companies it does business with. Also Groupon have obviously failed to advertise the deal correctly.
Debacle Number 2.
Culture Friend and I (we really are morons) book another spa type deal with another salon in Leeds. Culture Friend drives this time. Despite the deal saying it was available 7 days a week, when we ring they inform us that they can't do Saturdays so we arrange to go on a Sunday instead.
People at the spa say that they have had a bit of a problem with the deal. Basically Groupon did not inform them that a limit could be set on the number of deals sold, meaning that basically too many deals were booked, meaning it was almost impossible to fit everybody in.
So not a huge debacle, but it set off warning sirens in our heads. The spa by the way was lovely and I would highly recommend it, wish it was closer to Hull.
Conclusion: Ok experience, great spa, but again, worries about Groupon on the way it does business. Also again it didn't advertise the deal properly.
Debacle Number 3
An offer appears for a restaurant in Hull, just down the road for me. It’s a 2 course meal for 2 and a glass of wine each for £15 or something like that. The restaurant is lovely and I think it’d be a nice thing to do when The Person next comes to Hull. I check the small print and it says that the offer is available 7 days a week. Good stuff.
I ring the restaurant to book a table to be told that they won’t accept that voucher on Fridays or Saturdays and that they had told Groupon that but they hadn’t put that on the website.
Then begins what can only be described as an ordeal to get my refund within the 7 days of purchase. E-mails go unanswered. At one point I was left on hold for 20 minutes trying to get through on the phone. When I eventually did get through to someone they were almost unbearably rude, before putting me on hold for a further 10 minutes before refunding my account.
Conclusion: Totally Groupon's fault. Didn't advertise the deal properly.
Debacle Number 4
I know. I can’t believe I got this far either.
There’s a voucher for a cut and colour at a salon down the road from me. My greys are taking over my head and I’ve a wedding coming up so I thought I’d book myself in before that. Deal is booked. Appointment is made. All is good. Until a friend on Facebook commented that the salon was now calling everyone to cancel the Groupon appointments.
I ring the salon and they confirm to say that they’re really sorry but they haven’t received payment from Groupon so can’t afford to honour the deals. Groupon apparently hadn’t told them they could put a limit on the number of deals sold (see Debacle Number 2).
My fury has now reached incredible proportions. I can’t get away from the fact that every single one of these is down to a huge failing on the part of Groupon either by not advertising the deal correctly or failing to communicate effectively with the businesses it is dealing with.
I have sent an e-mail requesting a refund on the latest deal and funnily enough, I’ve yet to hear anything.
I think 4 times is way way way more than enough times for me to say with all confidence that I shall not be using Groupon ever again. Even I’m not that stupid.
Obviously you are all big enough and clever enough to make up your own minds and I know that some of you will have had great experiences with Groupon, but for me personally, four debacles is four too many and I personally won't risk it again. If only to save my own pride. I just think that it's appropriate that everyone shares their experiences, rather than just the good.
Looks too good to be true?