As a fan of good deals, I especially love the daily deal concept.
If a deal comes through my email for a restaurant or a store that I frequent regularly or I’ve been thinking of hitting, I’m sold. After all, I’m going to go anyway, so I might as well save $10 or $20 when I ultimately go.
If I’ve been putting off a chimney sweep or a dryer vent cleaning and a local company wants to give me 50-percent off, sign me up.
The one thing that really sticks in my craw though, is when I buy one of these deals only to have the expiration date slowly creep up and force me to go to dinner 20 miles away on a Wednesday night because I stalled too long.
Or have you ever had a restaurant or a salon give you the runaround when trying to reserve a time and you know it’s specifically because they know it’s a sunk cost via a daily deal where they’re not going to collect any money once you arrive?
Well, I have some good news for any of you that have ever had either of these scenarios happen to you too. In fact, you might want to sign in to your Groupon or Living Social account after reading this to see exactly which of these “great deals” ended up costing you money rather than saving you money.
In the immortal words of your favorite lawyer, “I read the terms so you don’t have to."
Did you know that each Groupon and Living Social certificate has two values - an “amount paid” and a “promotional value”? For instance, if you pay $20 for a $50 voucher, the $20 is the amount paid and the $30 is the promotional value.
If you let your deal expire, of course you’re out your “promotional value”. But did you know that you can still use your “amount paid” forever with a Groupon deal and for 5 years with a Living Social deal? Yep, if your deal expired yesterday without redeeming it, you’re out the $30 in promotional value, but you can still redeem that piece of paper for $20 on your next visit. The exception is for event based deals where an event has come and gone. You’re out of luck in this case.
In the example of the vendor that just doesn’t want to honor their deal, both companies will typically bend over backwards to refund your money rather than having mud in their face. Using a personal experience, I bought my mother a Groupon last Christmas for a beauty salon that simply would not book her appointment after several requests over several months. When she finally contacted Groupon about it, she received an immediate offer to refund her money followed by several immediate replies to make sure she was happy with the support she was given. I’ve heard several other similar stories in the past.
One last interesting note that I found while reading Living Social’s fine print: Living Social offers a buyer’s remorse refund. Change your mind about wanting the deal within five days and you get your money back. I didn’t find a similar clause in Groupon’s terms.
Maybe you knew all or some of this. If not, hopefully this was an eye opener.
Feel free to read the terms on your next sleepless night: Groupon, Living Social.
Tim aggregates DC-area deals on a per-city basis daily at www.TIMS.US, featuring daily deals, current promotions, regular promotions, introductory offers, daily specials, discounts, coupons, email club offers, Facebook offers, Twitter offers, Foursquare offers, and more.