BBB Tip of the Week: Daily deal websites
Daily deal websites, such as Groupon, LivingSocial and others, are popular for the discounts on goods and services that can reach 50 to 60 percent of retail. The businesses offering deals through these websites are seeking a surge of new customers. Customers, however, may not get the bargain they thought they were.
Common complaints for daily deal vouchers include inflated savings claims when the “regular” price is raised to make the discount seem larger, misleading advertising when the deal is not as good as advertised (such as limited menus at restaurants), and difficulty redeeming vouchers due to long waits resulting from high demand or in some cases the company going out of business.
Before buying a daily deal voucher, the Better Business Bureau encourages you to consider the following:
• Research the business at www.bbb.org and online by searching for customer reviews and company news. You can also call the company directly if you have questions.
• Comparison shop. Check the regular prices of the goods and services with competitors. Some voucher deals may cost more than the regular price of a competitor.
• Read the fine print.
• Calculate the demand of the deal. If the deal is unrestricted in quantity, then you may find that the business overextended itself and you are unable to redeem the deal within the time frame.
• Only make online purchases on secure websites that begin with “https”.
• Purchase all daily deals with a credit card, in case you run into a problem that you need to dispute.
If you experience a problem with a deal, contact the daily deal website’s customer service department. Know the website’s policies before buying.
If you can’t find a resolution with the deal website or the business offering the deal, file a complaint with the BBB.
Federal and state laws offer some rights to consumers regarding gift certificates and gift cards. When you have questions about your expired deal voucher or the businesses offering deals, you can call the BBB at (509) 455-4200.
By Erin T. Dodge, BBB editor