Groupon commentary (short rant)

I have used Groupon a few times now, and thus far my experiences are less than stellar.
It is the most recent handling of a purchase that has me riled up. It is not so much that I was unable to get a refund, but that my reasoning was totally ignored as evidenced by their response. I plainly stated that I purchased a groupon that looked like a great idea, only to find that even with the supposed $500 value, the price STILL exceeded standard pricing for equivalent businesses. So calling it a deal is clearly an accurate statement –if you are the vendor in this particular case. Of course, I have not tried to advertise or sell on Groupon so I do not know if they make a good margin, but I have to assume that it is this margin that they are trying to protect in this case, which does not bode well as a business practice and means that I have been “warned”.
This coincided with another issue regarding car detailing, where the detailer could not be found. Apparently, the detailing business had been sold and the new owner must have closed up shop…as the shop location no longer existed and the phone had been turned off. Luckily, and no thanks to Groupon, I had the email address of the original business owner and was able to get a refund. Now, I caught this sorta early, so perhaps Groupon is handling this properly for others that might find the same thing. As such, this is not a Groupon issue either as they cannot be expected to know in advance whether businesses intend on honoring their commitment or not, but only goes to show that the Amazon business model is far preferable to the Groupon model.
I am not sure if businesses will like this or not, but I am seriously considering contacting businesses using Groupon to see if perhaps I can deal directly with them on these deals. With the advantage being twofold, you get to sorta “pre-screen” a business before departing with your money, and the business get the opportunity to keep any fees they might have had to pay out in the first place.
Basically the rest of the message from them was that I could give my Groupon away as a gift…but if the cost including the discount is out of line with normal pricing, then you are simply passing on the burden to someone else (why would they still want to feel obligated to overpay?.

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