On any given day, I get about three to four e-mails on group couponing deals from the likes of Cudo and Jump On It flogging the latest deal on offer.Anything goes – from horse riding to kayaking and restaurant deals, some good offers can be had, right?
About eight months ago, when the whole sector first reared its head in the .au landscape I was all for it.
A massage for $49, sure why not? A haircut in a top Paddington salon for $79, yes please.
However, that was before the actual purchase took place.
On paper these deals look great. You buy the deal of the day, pay for it and get a voucher number via e-mail which you then redeem.
However, once you seek to book the service with the voucher you have paid for, it’s a different story.
Last year I purchased a massage in a top Bondi hotel for $40 for myself on Jump On It and told my friend to do likewise, which is the central premise of these group discounting- the more people sign on the better the deal.
When I rang up to book the service, well before the deal was to expire (it had a three month lifespan) I was told all weekends were booked out due to massive influx of Jump On It vouchers and could only come during the week.
Since work commitments in the city meant this was impossible – and the spa shut at half five – I couldn’t claim my voucher – making the $40 both my friend (who was in the same boat) and I each forked out for a complete waste of money.
Another Jump On It voucher holder SmartHouse spoke to told a similar story.
“Having purchased a restaurant deal for two persons, I sought to make a booking but once I said I was a Jump On It voucher holder, I was swiftly told the “quotas” for vouchers were all booked up for the night”.
Basically, it seems eDeals voucher holders are deemed second class customers by the businesses that offer the deals, probably because they feel they are not making as much money off the vouchers as they are off regular full price paying customers.
When contacted by Smarthouse a Jump On It spokesperson had this to say:
“Vouchers sell by the thousands and restaurants gets inundated with bookings, so its going to be booked out, so don’t expect to use it within the week.
“Its best to book weeks in advance – if you have to go out the next night don’t rely on a Jump On it voucher, it’s the name of the game.
That’s interesting. Maybe they should say that in the description.
Another popular group discounting website Spreets, whose Australian and NZ divisions were recently acquired by Yahoo7 has also irked customers with its flimsy service provision.
On purchase of a dermabrasion skin treatment session advertised as a 45 minute session, it turned out to be a 10 minute polish despite all the bells and whistles promised on the deal description.
“All in all a fraction of the normal service plus full on nonstop ‘on selling’ pressure,” the annoyed Spreets customer wrote on consumer sound board notgoodenough.org.
“I complained to Spreets but they conveniently go quiet or advise you to deal directly with the company,” they said.
The consumer also investigated another Spreets claim of saving over $1000 on a 6 hour fashion consultation session being flogged for $69 deal which seemed too good to be true. But when the consumer contacted the business they were told it would likely take just 1 hour, most likely in an informal chat in a local cafe.
Although not always bad deals of half hearted service, I must confess I have received some great opportunities via eDeals, it is certainly a case of look (very carefully) before you leap.