Groupon (My City Deal) is designed to be a resource for deals at vastly reduced prices. This Groupon Review lifts this lid on my experience with the site to determine if those deals are really worth it and just how much can be saved.
But first it's worth pointing out that the first time I used Groupon (or My City Deal as it was called then) I wasn't intending to review it. Like most who stumbled across the site I was referred by a friend of a friend who had seen and used the site before. If you refer another person and they buy something you get £6 in return so it's no wonder there are so many active users spreading the word of Groupon. The site also gets its offers listed on numerous deal websites and after huge success in the US is gaining ground quickly in the UK.
So on my first arrival on the site I had a public recommendation and had seen their deals pop up on other sites for weeks before giving my wife and I a pretty good starting impression. It wasn't long before we discovered the site had an offer for Photobox which allowed you to buy one of their photo books for £9 instead of £30. Everywhere I looked I was sure this must be scam. The best Photobox deals anywhere online were for 25% off and this deal represented over a 65% saving for a huge company. I was shocked, assumed it was a scam and walked away.
Five minutes later my wife had purchased a deal and we're official Groupon customers. There's something slightly odd that happens when you buy a deal. A bar in the right of every deal shows the number of customers who have purchased it and displays a yellow bar which I presume only gets full when the last of the preallocated bunch is sold.
There's issues with this because it makes you believe that either:
a) The offer will only be honored when the bar is full
b) You are tricked in to thinking there's only a small amount left
c) The bar doesn't seem to get more or less full from deal to deal
This psychological trickery is a good way to encourage an order (and you still get the deal even if it doesn't fill) but it is very misleading and I'd imagine puts as many people off as complete the order.
We received our voucher almost instantly and completed our purchase at Photobox which also arrived in quick time. The quality was excellent and we definitely received the same product as a full price customer. However my next few purchases didn't go so well:
I purchased driving lessons which I later found out were for 1st time drivers only (a fact that was lower down on the order page so I'll let them off) and my wife bought a pedicure which had a very short expiry date of 1 month, causing her to miss the date. Lastly we bought two massages only to find on arrival they were shorter than normal massages and were different than advertised. Worst of all My City Deal had not sent the vouchers to the store, so we couldn't use them and they couldn't help us or they simply wouldn't get paid.
A multitude of different issues then, which I hope this Groupon Review helps bring to light. Clearly two out of three of those problems were self inflicted and it just goes to show you should read the deal fully, including any terms and expiry dates. The last problem was just embarrassing, with us travelling to the center to find we couldn't be seen.
However Groupon on hearing our concern were very helpful. Not only did we get a refund, but we were also given the chance to both get our massages free of charge. Whilst there clearly was a problem they did take measures to correct it, which is a good bonus.
Since then I have returned to Groupon and at some of the prices on offer it's very hard to resist not buying more. The best trick I can recommend is to look outside your target area. Especially for travel you'll find good hotel deals tucked away on some of the location specific deal pages. Not so handy for the local residents but ideal if you want a short break away.
Hopefully this review has shown a few things to look out for. Groupon (My City Deal) is definitely worth a look, just be sure to read each deal from head to toe. You can visit Groupon here.
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