Daily deal downsides leave buyers frustrated

Posted at 5:02 PM, Nov 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-25 18:02:02-05

One of the hottest comedians  is Rod Man, winner of "Last Comic Standing" on TV.

So Jeanine Martin was thrilled to find a Groupon for half price tickets to a club where he would be playing.

"When I found they would have Rod Man there, I decided to purchase the Groupon tickets," Martin said.

But after paying $50, she found nothing funny when she called to reserve seats.

"The comedy club told me they weren't going to honor the ticket.  That was it," she said. 

Why not? "Because it's a special performance. But there's nothing on the Groupon ticket to indicate there were exclusions for performances," she said.

Unable to Schedule Service

Other complaints about daily deals include services that are nearly impossible to schedule.

Sherri McConnell learned from a repairman that her dryer vent was dangerously clogged.

So she spent some of her hard earned money on a Groupon for a duct cleaning.

"We saw a great offer, and it was for the 'ultimate' air duct cleaning special, which we needed," she said.

But she says the cleaners never showed up, even when she sat home waiting for them.

"We made the appointment, and they don't show. I've stayed here twice all day, and nothing," she said.

We Get involved

So we decided to get involved, and try to make things right with these customers.

We went to the comedy club not for laughs, but for answers.

While no one would speak on camera, the manager did return our email, explaining that the Groupon should have been more detailed about exclusions for big national comedians (due to the high cost of landing them).

But he said he would find a way to get Martin into the show she wanted.

McConnell's duct cleaner, meantime, told us they got backed up due to all the Groupon requests,  but they would make sure she gets a visit or a refund.

Groupon would not discuss either complaint with us, but said "if you are disappointed with your experience, contact us within 14 days, and we will work with you to make it right."

3 Ways to Protect Yourself

So is it worth it? The Business Insider says don't give up on Groupon and similar sites.

But it offers 3 ways to protect yourself when buying from any daily deal site.

  • Check for expiration dates.
  • Read the fine print for any exclusions.
  • If it's for a service, call the company to make sure they can handle the flood of extra customers they may be hit with.  

Still unhappy? Groupon says call within 14 days and they'll fix it.

Finally, Forbes magazine says Groupon is making some big improvements in 2015. It says it is offering more and more discounts on  big name brands, like Starbucks, Toys R Us, Victoria's Secret and others.

So the bottom line: daily deal sites can be worthwhile. Just read the fine print so you don't waste your money.


Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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