Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Groupon, deals

As a housewife who should be out there finding the best deals to save money, it's embarrassing to say that I've actually never used Groupon before. Husband is using it, his collegues are, my family have been checking up on deals, but I never, and I don't know why.

So when Groupon contacted me, offering me a £30 voucher to try out their deals, I thought, why not. The moment I logged on their website and created an account, I realised why I never tried it out. My subconscious knew that I would be spending a lot on deals I love. And within 5 minutes of opening an account, I snapped up a deal where I only pay £9 for a Swarovski Element bracelet. It's cheap but really not necessary.

Anyway. After much browsing for deals in Lancashire and Manchester area, I was slightly disappointed. There really aren't that many deals out there near us apart from beauty treatments. The good thing was that we were going to the LolliBop festival in London, so I checked out London's deals, and there were way more than our area.

Groupon, deals

I was really intrigued by one of the Ethiopian restaurant's deal, where I pay £44 for 4 two-course meals, each included a drink. According to the coupon's fine print, I just have to provide the security code on booking. Obviously I didn't check Groupon's fine print that I was suppose to print out the coupon as well to show the restaurant when we arrive.

But so far so good. Groupon's website was easy to use. You buy a deal, wait for the coupon to validate after a specified date and time, then use the pdf coupon as per the suggestion.

On the day of our restaurant booking, I rang them to move the appointment an hour earlier. The waiter kindly remind me to bring the printed coupon with me. I was surprised. No wonder hubby asked me before whether I brought the coupon with me the day before. After a long discussion with the manager, he told me to text him the security code and he will let me dine with the Groupon deal.

Groupon, deals

Then my dear cousin pointed it out to me that Groupon has an App that should be ok to use instead of the voucher. I found it and certainly, it said you can "Save ink and traumatic paper cuts by never printing another voucher or coupon". I downloaded it, logged on my account and there it was, the coupon with a Q-code, with "Show this screen to the business owner" on the top. I was really happy it was so easy to sort out, but I texted the security code anyway just in case.

When we arrived, the waiter told me that the app was not acceptable. At that point I was getting very frustrated. We had a long day at the LolliBop festival, the restaurant wasn't as near the station as stated on the website, it was hot and there was no wind. I was snappy and told the waiter that the app said it was as good as a paper voucher. He refused to accept it. I told him I already spoke to the manager on the phone and he promised to let me dine if I texted him the security code.

They then realised that the couple who were already seated at the time when we came in wasn't me, so the manager came up (he was also the chef) and told the couple that the app wasn't acceptable. The same conversation started over again, and eventually, the manager accepted the app for both parties and we finally got to be served. The service from the restaurant was unimpressive, but that's another story.

According to Groupon, each merchant who works with them were given Terms and Conditions, which stated that customers are suppose to provide a printed voucher OR the Groupon App as proof. I'm not sure what happened between Groupon and the restaurant, but it kind of ruined the experience a bit. After all, if Groupon said that the app works, but the merchant doesn't, where does that leave us?

I have sent a feedback back to the PR, and he said that they will definitely improve the service Groupon provides, as well as the service provided by the merchants they work with. The only thing I can suggest is, if you are worried, do print out the coupon. But if you do use the app, know that it is as good as a printed voucher, and the merchant should contact Groupon if they have a problem with it.

On a side note, I would also recommend Groupon to make sure that the merchants they work with does not suddenly run out of the "service" (In this case, crab, duck, smoked salmon and anchovies) that enticed people to sign up with the deal in the first place. Just saying.

Disclosure: I was given a voucher to use to review Groupon's service; all opinions are honest and my own