First Person: How a $10 Daily Deal Cost Me $100

Yahoo Contributor Network

Like many budget-conscious people, I love to find a good bargain. I like to visit the websites of my favorite stores or service providers to see if they are offering any special deals that are worth taking advantage of; and on occasion, I get lucky. Not long ago I came across a daily deal on a photography site, and decided to buy in. Unfortunately, what I thought was a good deal turned out to be quite expensive. Here is how $10 daily deal gift certificate cost me over $100.

What I bought.

The site advertised one 8" by 10" photograph taken by a skilled photographer for $10. The coupon detailed that I could set the time and date, and that I would receive a 30 minute photo session with up to three clothing changes allowed. It also outlined that I was allowed to have three additional adults in the photo as well as my children if I had any. It all seemed like a great deal, and I was sold because I needed a new photo of us as a couple.

What they didn't tell me.

The first problem came when I tried to schedule the session. The photographer claimed to be booked solid for the following two months, and would only pencil us in for a possible session at a later date. Then, when he called to confirm the date he informed me that we would need to pay a $35 sitting fee in advance. That took me by surprise, and I argued the point, but lost. I refused to pay the fee upfront, and told him I'd pay it at the time of service, which he agreed to.

He also informed me that there were photo "upgrade" options that we would discuss once the shoot was finished. As it turns out, the "upgrades" he was talking about were related to the photo paper. I knew the $10 certificate was for an 8" by 10" photo, but I didn't know it was to be printed on matte card stock paper, which isn't a photo quality paper at all. In the end, I had to pay $5 to upgrade to a photo quality paper.

What it actually cost me.

By the time the photo shoot date came around, I had spent nearly $50 on two new shirts, and a new hairstyle for myself. I also had to pay the $35 sitting fee and the $5 fee to upgrade the photo paper. The total cost of my $10 "bargain" photo was $50, and since I spent another $50 getting us ready for the photo, my total was $100.

I must admit that I'm partly to blame for this mess because I didn't ask enough questions before buying in. I've since vowed to avoid any daily deals on services. Instead, I'm sticking to product based deals.

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