A couple of months ago, I signed up to receive alerts from Groupon and thought it was the best deal ever. Where else could I get massages for 65% off, mani/pedi for the meager bargain of $20 or 50% off expensive all you can eat restaurants? I was really excited to start my new adventure being a savvy and smart shopper. And so the saga began.
The first deal I got my hands on was for a house cleaning deal. Wow, couldn't be better to have a maid coming in for 8 hours for just $40. There was no expiration date on the deal and I could use it anytime. I got that one, then one for a hair salon, then a couple of others for restaurants, and massages and a great spa deal with manicure and pedicure. Every week I was accumulating the coveted deals, purchasing them on the spur, convinced I was scoring the best possible deal.
After a couple of weeks accumulating my great deals, it was time to try them out. An interesting fact was that most of the places advertised were businesses I had never heard of, but sounded legitimate enough, especially because I would read the comments, questions and answers posted on the page about the business and the deal. I decided to try one of the mani/pedi deals I had bought. I called the place, which was not too far from where I live but had never heard of. Someone with a very heavy accent answered the phone with a plain "hello". I had to look back into the coupon to see the name of the establishment and ask if I had the right number for that shop. The person acknowledged and asked what I needed. I started to explain that I had the coupon from Groupon for a special mani/pedi session and would like to come in for it. Silence. After a few seconds (which sounded like several minutes), she said - we are booked for the next two months. Really??? I just could not believe it. That was a frustrating attempt. What should I try next? My place needs a good cleaning so let's go for the maid service. This one was a little more customer service oriented on the phone. She said she would send someone in the next 3 days for the cleaning services. I stayed home waiting for the maid. 2 hours later I called them to ask where the help I had booked was. "I'm sorry", said the receptionist, "she called in today and I don't have anyone else to send - it will have to be next week". So I accepted to postpone it for the following week. What else could I do? The service was already paid for… Again, I waited for nothing. The excuse this time? The girl forgot to pencil in my service... sorry, we will send someone again next week. I called Groupon to try and explain I wanted my money back but they said I had to deal with the provider directly. The next week I got the visit of a maid who was allergic to dust, and instead of 8 hours, she said she could stay for just 4. Take it or leave it.
Using the restaurant coupons was not that frustrating. Most of the restaurants were unknown and I probably will not be going to any of them again - not necessarily due to poor service or food, but due to location, and pricing. But it was worth trying something new for a change.
Then the salon deal I still had not used - I was curious and excited. And then, I had another frustrating one. Just like the mani/pedi salon, the phone was answered like I was calling a private house. No name - just a hello. So I asked, are you salon such and such? Yes. Can I schedule an appointment for next week? What do you want to have done? Color, cut and blow dry - I have a coupon from Groupon... The next available appointment is next year. Want to schedule it?
There I had it again. The deal was too good to be true. If the business doesn't want to offer such a great deal, then don't. But if they want to attract new clients and keep them, that's not the way to behave. I'm not impressed with Groupon and won't try any of those again. I still have not used the mani/pedi and the hair salon coupons. It says there is no expiration date but I'm afraid they are already out of business... who knows? Instead of saving money I just threw money away. The deals were so unbeatable and sounded so good. The idea is great though - I could really have saved a lot of money and had great deals and convenient places to shop and be serviced, but it seems the businesses are not honoring their part of the deal too well. At least, my experience was not worth the money.
Full of frustration, and with about 4 to 5 unused coupons, I have unsubscribed to Groupon. I will resort to clipping coupons from the newspaper - no more great bargains for unknown deals.
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