This Christmas, I bought about half my presents on Groupon. At the time, I figured it was a great way to stay on budget, and it was easier to ship presents home than worry about packing them.
I forgot just one thing: Groupon's ridiculous return policy.
It hit me when my dad opened his gift on Christmas morning. It was a beautiful model train set he had specifically asked for, and after we spent 30 minutes putting it together, the on/off switch wouldn't work.
I checked Groupon's site and read the fine print: All shipments must be returned within 14 days of arrival.
It was worth a fight, I figured, so I emailed their customer support service on Dec. 28. I'm used to getting responses within 24 hours, but I instantly got an email alerting me to expect a 48-hour delay.
Eight days later, I finally got a response. No can do, the representative said, kindly including a link back to their return policy.
At 2:59 p.m. that day, I fired back with this reply:
This doesn't seem fair. It was a Christmas gift. I couldn't just open it before the holiday to test it and the switch is totally broken. I must be able to return it. A 14-day return policy is practically unheard of for non-computer products.
By 4:16 p.m., I had a return shipping label in my inbox, along with an apology note from the same rep.
After reading a few message boards with similar complaints online, I highly recommend standing your ground on this argument. Looks like Groupon's willing to fold with a little extra pressure, and that might be the case for other daily deals sites as well.
At any rate, unless they add an exception for holiday returns next year, chances are I won't be going to Groupon with my gift list –– and chances are I won't be alone.
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