I have an embarrassing problem.
No, it’s nothing medical; rather, it’s economical: Insomuch that I love a good deal, and who doesn’t, right? Getting 50% of your purchase can leave you with a high unmatched by anything I’ve ever experienced.
And it’s for that reason, that my inbox overfloweth with consumer deal and discount emails. So what’s so embarrassing about that? I don’t use a single one of them. Twelve dollars for a kayak excursion? I’ll pass. A four dollar dinner for two? Maybe next time. I’m not sure why I keep signing up for new services, but that’s a story for a different time.
I’ve discovered in the last few months that many consumers are just like me, but with one clear exception. They, too, are impulsively signing up for new daily deal sites, but unlike me, they are actually purchasing items from these companies.
Daily deal sites have cropped up in massive numbers online. Many of these sites provide low-prices and little hassle to consumers, but like most industries your BBB has noticed through recent complaints that many of these bargain sites are turning out to cost consumers a higher price than anticipated, as they may not receive what they paid for or find hidden fees and agendas in their so-called “deals.”
Just since January, your BBB has received nearly 10,000 inquiries into coupon service companies, with 550 of those inquiries being from four local San Diego companies. Your BBB has also received 370 consumer complaints, nationwide – a marked spike from 2011.
One of the worst offenders is Phoenix-based website Liberty Discount Club. With over 600 complaints filed against them in the last three years, consumers report that most often they have issues with the product or service provided to them by the F-rated company.
Locally, edailyquest.com has racked up four complaints just between 2011 and when they ceased operations in the spring of 2012. The complaint they received were in regard to refund and exchange policies. Consumers reported buying a coupon for a business, only to find out that said-company had gone out of business. Edailyquest.com was not responsive to the BBB, resolving only one of their four consumer complaints.
The bottom line? If you regularly use daily deal websites to get local discounts, your BBB suggests you do the following:
· Always go to your BBB first. We are a resource for all consumers for all pre-purchase questions and research. By checking our website first, you will be better educated and prepared to confidently choose an ethical company that believes in treating customers with respect and integrity.
· Read the fine print. Many daily deal sites offer money-back guarantees or they explicitly do not. They must review their policies with their customers, and if they don’t, it should be a red flag.
· Don’t be satisfied with the substandard. If you are not happy with the merchandise or service you receive, then seek to get your money back from the website or merchant. If you can’t reach either entity, file a complaint with your BBB.
For more information about daily deal websites or to learn more about the BBB’s Accredited Business Deals & Discounts program, visit sandiego.bbb.org or call 858.496.2131.