Group Buying Deals

on Feb 17, 2012 @ 10:59 am

I wanted to start a discussion about the numberous group purchasing sites that are out there. I've purchased from a few different ones and had mixed experiences. I've heard of nightmares of people taking their vouchers to the vender and they are told "We never had an arrangement with that site, we can not honour your voucher." 

The best vouchers I purchased were $20 for $40 worth of products at The Body Shop. I've also purchased a voucher for a locket from an online jewelery store. It was supposed to be a $98 locket, the voucher only cost $14 (I think) but the quality of the locket was NOT GOOD! Definitely would have been very upset if I had paid $98 for it! It is cute, but just don't look too closely at it!

Some of the other vouchers I've purchased include bowling, one night stay in Niagara Falls, pottery class, work out sessions, bakery items, etc... most have been ok (the hotel in Niagara wasn't as great as I was lead to believe, but we had fun anyway). 

I also bought a voucher for a salon including hair cut, highlights and facial. I felt that I was rushed from the minute I walked in the door and they realized I wasn't paying full price. They tried to upsell me on EVERYTHING! The hair stylist was working on me AND another client at the same time! The cut was AWFUL! She didn't listen to me at all! I went to another salon the next say to get it fixed as best they could! I was livid! If you are trying to gain more clients with the vouchers you should be treating them at least as well as a client who is paying full price!

I have heard other people with similar experiences, especially with salon vouchers.

What are your experiences? Good? Bad?

Any advice?

10 Replies

Salons on Feb 17, 2012 @ 11:37 am

One of my bestfriends had a similar experience with a Salon. She got a groupon deal for I think 3 treatments (cut, colour, gloss, etc). So far she's done a gloss - which she hates. It made absolutely no difference to her hair. Honestly a bit of frizzeze would have done a better job! She also got caramel peekaboos (colour) and I think they look pretty, she doesn't like them very much cuz she feels they are too few. I think she's holding off on the third treatment 'cuz of the two disappointing ones.

The same friend got a groupon deal for laser hair removal. She did her underarms, and she LOVED IT. She raves about it so much that now I wanna do it! Apparently it not only removed the hair and kept it from growing back, but it also really helped fix the darkness (due to hair?) under her arms. I was really skeptical about laser hair removal, but after listening to her now I really want to try it.

Isn't the whole point of giving "groupon" type deals is to attract clients? To wow them with your service so they came back again and again paying full price? Then what's up with the bad service? It's like, "come to our salon pay a little bit of money to see how awful we are at our jobs" ..really?

Bad Deals on Feb 17, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

I'm always super hesitant to buy deals because I'm worried about stuff like that (the salon experience & the locket!).

I haven't actually bought anything I would have to go and do in person. I did buy a coupon for an online store, but I was totally led to believe the products were way better than they actually ended up being. Everything I ordered was either damaged or really unimpressive. I saved $50 on the order, but I would have been pissed otherwise. Plus, when I called to talk to them about it, they were totally unimpressed. Apparently when you save $50 you should be okay with whatever quality arrives. No thanks!

I have a friend who has done everything possible on groupons - hair, nails, laser hair removal, dance class, paintballing, etc. - and she has NEVER had a bad experience. My mom did two groupons for a face treatment at separate spas - she said the price was right, and one place was excellent, but the other place rushed her in and out. Oh, and she did a massage once but they forgot to mention that it was a couples massage. So I guess they ushered my mom in her little towel into a room with ANOTHER NAKED PERSON IN IT. She cancelled immediately.

My friend who has had the good experiences usually drops by the place offering the groupon if it's convenient to chat with the people who work there - she did that for a threading session she bought and a cut/colour, just to get a feel for the place. If she can't drop by, she reads reviews posted online by other people and bases her decision on that.

That's the best advice I can give, since my luck has been mediocre at best but hers has been great.

hit and miss on Feb 17, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

I have had good and bad experiences with group deal sites, and have had good and bad experiences with the actual stores/providers.

I have learned to do my homework and purposely avoid buying any group coupon until I know something of the site and the store.

Group deal sites I recommend: groupon, living social, google offers
Group deal site I 100% do NOT recommend (was scammed along with many other users; there is litigation pending in several US states against them): savemore

I have bought from a few other sites but rarely so I don't really feel qualified to say one way or another about them.

As far as vendors, I only buy deals for stores I personally feel good about. I have only once bought a group coupon for a store I have never shopped at in the past, though I would be open doing so in the future. That particular e-store went bankrupt about a month after I cashed in my voucher, but I did receive my product quickly and was thrilled with it. As for the other places where I've cashed in my groupon (mainly restaurants and movie theaters), I have had the same great service with and without the groupon.

If you are buying for a salon or clinic or any other service that you know little about, do a quick check on the Better Business Bureau and look for online reviews. I almost bought something just the other day but remembered to look them up - I am so glad I did because the reviews were terrible and nearly unanimous!

Gym Deals on Feb 17, 2012 @ 03:46 pm

I actually just started buying Groupon deals at the insistence of my friend. I was nervous about doing it first because working in retail, I know there are always issues with Groupons but so far, I'm loving it!!!

I have only bought gym memberships so far, but I am loving them. I like that I can shop around and test out a few places to see what I like.

The only problem I have encountered so far is that one of the gym's I went to visit was really pressuring me to sign up for a membership- even before my first visit to the gym!!! They didn't seem to get that the purpose of Groupon is to try something, see if you like it and then decide if you want to continue.

I want to try out other things on Groupon but I'm a bit nervous too. Especially for salons. I do think that salons treat Groupon users differently than regular customers because they are paying less.

Salon- The look in Mississauga on Feb 17, 2012 @ 04:21 pm

I have bought a few things off deal sites and some have been a hit and others a miss. The body shop ($20 for $40 worth of products) was great and one gym voucher I got was okay.

But I purchased a salon voucher for The Look in Mississauga, Ontario and it was horrible! It was $29 for a full colour, hair cut, and styling. Price seemed too good to be true, and it was lol. The lady seemed nice when I walked in and had no problem that I had a coupon. The first issue was that she only had about 5 different colours of hair dye to choose from, def only basic colours- ie: one shade of red, one copper, one brown, one blonde, one black, not exactly the selection I was use to. I didn't have a problem with them rushing me out, it was the exact opposite. There was only one lady working and she was already doing 3 girl's hair, when she started to do mine and my friend's. Basically she was doing 5 clients at once, which meant you were sitting and waiting longer than you should be. One lady's hair dye was left in longer than it should have been because she was with someone else. After being washed, my hair air dried completely before she had a chance to cut it. The cut was so simple, she only made 5 cuts in my long hair (it literally took her under 2 minutes to do the cut in my hair). She didn't listen to what I wanted and cut off so much. Also, my colour was uneven. My hair was virgin hair so it should have been an even colour, but the roots (about 4" from the top) was so much brighter than the rest of my hair. The lady said it would even out after a few washes, but after a few weeks it was still the same. It looked horrible and I eventually had to have it redone (at a different salon). Do your research on the salon before hand, and def don't go to the Look if you're used to good service/results.

I hope to try out more, but I am always worried about some companies.


:) on Feb 18, 2012 @ 04:07 pm

Great idea to do as much research as possible. There are definitely great deals to be had! It's great hearing all the positive experiences! :)


much more careful now! on Feb 22, 2012 @ 08:50 pm

I've been buying vouchers/ deals for about 2 years now. Its totally hit and miss.

Some spectacular misses:
*highlights (turned out to be a tiny corner neighbourhood salon) and the woman's toy dog was jumping on me and the highlights were not even noticeable. Waste of good money and time)
*hair laser removal (Yorkville place upped, moved and changed its name when I'd done 1 of my 2 visits. Got partial refund after some work)
*gym membership (actually checked out the gym before we bought, but it went under 2 weeks later. Got our money back, no problem from WagJag)
*nail salon (called and called and wouldn't return my call to book an appointment. I go there and they are too busy to take me. I ended up letting the voucher lapse. Contacted the salon and they didn't care. Contacted the seller... they gave me credits that I still have not used.

Some hits:
* I've had great luck with restos! Have used about 12 of them. This is a great way for me to try out new places... and I totally go back if they are good. Irish Embassy, Windsor Arms, BerBer Lounge, and Insomnia all offered great service even though we had the 'cheapie' coupons ... service noted, tipped on full (pre discount) bill and have gone back to all but one already!
*salon - facial - great deal: cheap and effective. Wish I'd bought more vouchers!
* trying out a great boutique hotel in Niagara for a couple of nights for our anniversary. When I called to book my dates, I got fantastic service on the phone. Stay tuned on this one... its one of the most expensive things I've bought on 'deal'.

There certainly is a level of buyer-beware. However one or two sites now offer a really good policy for unredeemed vouchers or companies defaulting.


Following up... on Apr 23, 2012 @ 06:22 pm

So I used the voucher for the hotel escape for 2 nights and it was great! Better than expected. I guess you can really luck out.

If you are looking for group buying deals - this is what I use. I don't do it more than once a week to avoid deal-fatigue:


Groupon on May 01, 2012 @ 08:27 am

I've only used Groupon a couple of times for things like Yuk Yuks tickets. You can't go wrong with Groupons like that because it's not exactly a personal service.
I've been hesitant to purchase Salon or Photography for Groupons for the reason you stated. It's not a bargain if they rush you or only do the job half as well :/

deals on Sep 01, 2012 @ 07:52 am

I love wagjag, but all my purchases have been for small things. Some I have gotten free by using my telus customer $10 month credit. Personally I haven't used Groupon but know a few people that used it and had no troubles.

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