Daily deals not always living up to promises, says BBB

October 25, 2012

VANCOUVER, British Columbia July 18, 2012 – Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports that in the past year a spike in complaints with daily deal promotions (also known as group buying) have ended up with no orders delivered, services not rendered, and a lack of communication between the vendor and its customers.

“Group buying websites are popular ways for businesses to offer daily deals and special promotions,” says Better Business Bureau serving Mainland B.C. President and CEO, Danielle Primrose. “What we are seeing is companies not prepared to handle the volume of sales that comes with group buying, and a lack of due diligence on the part of group buying sites about who is selected as a vendor.”

Collective buying sites offer products or services at a reduced price on the condition that a minimum number of consumers buy the deal. Consumers who purchase the special offer are then given a voucher to take to the business to claim their discount or are given a promotional discount to purchase a product. But, that’s sometimes when the deal can fizzle out.

Each year Better Business Bureau receives hundreds of complaints from consumers whose “deal” only led to frustration. Cooldroids.com of West Vancouver had daily deal offers on websites like Teambuy.ca and Dealfind.com.

Consumers have reported products going undelivered, and in some cases have had very little to no communication with the vendors. While the daily deal websites that offer the deals are generally responsive to their customers, vendors like Cooldroids.com have had challenges fulfilling orders due in part to underestimating the popularity of the deal.

Earlier this spring, while Cooldroids.com has not responded to 45 complaints since last Christmas when it ran a consumer electronics promotion on Teambuy.ca.

If looking to purchase a deal through a daily deal website, BBB recommends consumers:

Check out the business. Thoroughly research the business offering the special. Utilize BBB Business Reviews to see the company’s BBB rating and any history of complaints. Call the local City Hall to see if the company is operating with a business license.

Read the fine print. Make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions that come with the offer. Not every business has the same policy and those changes may be reflected in the offer details.

Verify the refund policy. Before making a purchase, consumers should know the stipulations for receiving a refund. Make sure to understand both the business refund policy as well as the refund policy of the collective buying site.

Pay with a credit card. Credit cards offer additional protection in the case that you do not receive your products or coupon promotion. For non-delivery of goods, you can request a credit card chargeback.

To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit www.mbc.bbb.org.